Autumn Sunday


Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Decking the Halls with... waiting?


Deployment news is always a looming threat to every military family. If anyone thinks they will escape under the impending knife of family separation, they are almost sorely mistaken. I realize that part of the waiting game is a fabulously difficult, and yet enriching practice that I am becoming annoyingly comfortable with.

There is not other way to describe the ever present reality of family separation without saying that it feels as if there is always an ever present itch on your body. The more you come to ignore it, the more the itch pretends to go away. And then one day your spouse comes home with the news that he will be leaving all winter. You knew that it was coming, so why are you upset?

And yet I lay in bed at night with a knot the size of a golf ball welling up inside of my throat. This is the life we signed up for; therefore, this should all just really feel normal, expected even.

But I still cannot seem to shake the fact that I really don't feel like a family should have to expect this. That being in the military has chained them to a life of great sacrifice so others can enjoy freedom. And yet that is the truth of the sacrifice, and it comes with a cost. And no matter the rationale, the slow and steady swell of grief wells up within me as I put my little boys down to bed, preparing myself already for the cries and the sadness they will feel in a month's time when Dad won't be around to help. And it stinks.

And yet God is teaching me to be grateful for the present. I am grateful for the time this holiday brings me to appreciate the wonderful husband God has given me. I am grateful that he has allowed me to join him on his life's journey, and that I have married a man who my boys can look up to, even thought they will not presently understand the separation or the sacrifice.

As I lay in bed at night, I begin to take note of all the little things as gifts. The security I feel with my husband in my home. The comfort of someone to share all the little joys of life with. The ability to share the funny stories or not so funny stories that I have experienced with my two boys, 1 and 3, during the day. And knowing that I have the love and comfort of someone who knows my heart and, at all times, seeks to say just the right thing to reassure me.

These are the things that life can steal without people ever knowing to be thankful for them. The military has given me a glimpse of what life is like without my man. And now I will always have what a lot of women never do... gratefulness.

So as we wait for him to leave next month, we are all basking in the little details of every day that we don't want to forget: the enjoyment of lighting a Christmas tree, the comfort of a warm body to share a cold night with, and the beauty of a simple conversation at the end of a long day.

Waiting, it seems, is choosing thankfulness in the in betweens. A gift, really, for those who choose to see it as such.