Monday, August 27, 2007

The Notebook

I received a little green notebook a month ago with great welcome. Inside this little treasure, my husband wrote a special dedication, indicating that we'd be exchanging this journal between us over the course of the deployment. There's something so intriguing and mysterious about the possibility of blank pages.

With pen to paper, our life-together-but-apart, will be etched into history. I'm never one at a loss for words and yet I've mostly just carried this little book inside my purse, reading and re-reading what he wrote and wondering what I can say that's interesting or important enough to be inked into history. The blank pages in this notebook represent the most important of all things right now- hope.

Inside this little book are our hopes and dreams and the kind of deep thoughts that are shared only between a man and his wife. Inside is a story of waiting, a long love letter, secrets, a chapter to a life story. What words will life will bring us in the next year to fill the pages?

An Open Love Letter

Sweet dear husband, can you feel my absolute love calling out to you in the universe tonight? Can you feel the pounding ache in my heart for you? Not aching for my own longing, but aching from the thought that you may be aching today and not feel me next to you? Can you feel my hand wrapped into an unbreakable tangle with yours?

Can you feel this "something's missing" feeling? The one that tells you that life goes on and yet at the same time it does not because there is an extra place setting at every meal? My heart breaks in the ironic agony that you eat alone at the same time I wish I was bringing you a plate and something to drink.

Don't you ever for one minute think that anyone or anything can ever replace what you are and bring to me. I love being with you, laughing with you, playing with you. I don't forget that feeling and I don't forget you. The longing does not cease. The practicality of my mind and the faith in my heart and the strength in my spine together cannot supplant a single smile from your lips.

The taste of your kisses is burned into my tongue and your touches etched in stone on to my skin. Your welcome love exploded my heart and bathes my world, making it far more lovely than before. Your words, your sounds, your heartbeats, your deepest gaze, your highest passions, I hold so carefully in my trembling, excited hands as I pray that you will know how much I love you tonight.

I miss you and love you, husband.

Friday, August 17, 2007

Love Under Ground

I'm having a tough day today. My night is his day and his day is my night. We live in two seperate worlds and his life, quite literally, happens a day ahead of mine. Owing to the 7, 738 miles between us, life doesn't even occur on the same day for us.

I think one of the hardest evolutions taking place in my heart is the acceptance that life goes on. It's tempting to wait by the phone or computer for a spark of a connection. Somehow, life goes on - bills get paid, trips get taken, you miss his call, you say the wrong thing, you miss days of writing letters, work has to be done, wars have to get fought.

It's so difficult not to worry about the cumulative, long-term effect of the gaps in connection but somewhere inside I guess I know that my understanding of what defines "connection" between a man and his wife is going to be stretched. What I'm really trying to absorb right now is the knowledge that love and life always make a way even when you can't see or feel it.

There are flower bulbs that lie dormant in the dark, sunless ground for seasons at a time. From the outside, it would appear that nothing is growing there at all. Yet when the right time comes, out of that dark, wet soil emerges life. In the secret and hidden world not seen by man, something beautiful was being forged all along, just the way that God designed it. Unseen to our eyes, He sustains and grows, He fortifies those fragile things until they are in season. I take faith in this today and hope that I will remember it.

Perhaps this is what he does with military marriages during wars. He puts a special love under ground so that while there are limited flowers, their roots will course deeply into the earth. Roots entwine in place of hands that can't, anchored there by something nobody sees. They will be sheltered as they grow into their next season, where what beauty they behold will once again be apparent to the rest of the world.

Root with me underground, my Love and entwine your roots with mine. Let's grow another year deeper where nobody can see us.

Wednesday, August 1, 2007

Radio Silence

It's probably not the best time to blog after reading the news, but I can't help it today - something is bothering me. A group of Army wives I know from an online discussion board recently discussed communication frequency with their deployed spouses. I can't help but wonder if when the average person expresses appreciation for the troops, if they stop to think about some of the small details like this.

Obviously, a war doesn't bode well for courtship and romancing your wife and I don't complain about this or expect it-it's just the way it is. I don't get to talk to my husband everyday and I don't get super long emails and love letters everyday to sustain me. However, there are women I think of today who hear from their husbands once a month. Their husbands are living in conditions and places that do not permit regular phone calls/email.

Can you take a second and imagine hearing the deafening sound of that empty crackle on the other side of a radio, moment after moment for 30 days? Writing letter after letter with infrequent response, sending packages, waiting by the edge of your seat in trepidation only for this to crecendo in that grand moment when the phone rings and you talk, and the process begins anew and the worry starts all over?

Think about it. What would you talk about after 30 days of silence between you and your spouse? How do you cram in all the updates, needs, and chit chat that would have occurred? How do you affirm your love for one another and encourage?

Does anybody out there besides me feel grieved by the repeated stretching this does to both parties in a marriage? I think today of an Army wife who responded to the survey. She's in Alaska entertaining herself for 30 days in a row, gets a call, and then repeats the cycle for one more of the 15 times in a row she will do that and not say anything about it ever. I've never heard her complain about her world of one-sided seeming love. Another is pregnant with her first child. I hurt inside today for her as I imagine the unspoken moments of her lonely experience. She never says anything about it to the rest of us, but I have a son and I can only imagine the weight of her heart inside her chest.

The silver lining I find today is not so much in the realization that I am extremely lucky to have more frequent communication with my spouse. My message today is that I feel grateful a grateful witness to a secret sisterhood so strong - women who are a living examples to me of how selfless love, devotion, and faith are present in a marriage's most precarious time.

I really can't know if all the people who have a "support the troops" car magnet ever consider the communication patterns of military families during wartime deployments, but what I do know is that as much as we are being tested, we are made of a special kind of steel, formulated to quietly bear the weight that less than 1% of the population in this country will ever have to bear on their shoulders.