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Love is…

Looking at love realistically, we understand that those who have it are often dissatisfied with the ways in which in manifest.  Love is messy.  Love is loud fights.  Love is late night arguments.

Love is as terrifying as it is terrific.  Love is scandalous.  Love is savory and sweet.  Love is often why we can’t have nice things.  Love is verb. Love is an action word.  Most of all, sometimes, love will fail.  It doesn’t mean that it wasn’t really love, it just means that (in the words of the Tina Turner song) love had very little to do with what happening at the time.

Love is boastful; have you seen the number of wedding/ engagement posts on social media? Love is, at times a little envious; ask anyone who sees other relationships progressing to marriage while their’s stands still. Love keeps no record of wrongdoings, EXCEPT in situations where you’re trying to prove a point.

I am certain that whomever wrote that part of 1Corinthians 13: 4-8 wasn’t referring to the love that exists between people.  Not only does love keep records, love gets really angry when the other person’s account of what happens doesn’t match yours.  Love gets down and dirty because ultimately, it is love that we all seek.
Love is not always patient. We want what we want when we want it.  Love isn’t always kind.  Sometimes, unkind things are said out of fear of losing the love we have.  Love can be selfish as evidenced in the initial stages of any relationship. The more time we spend together – the more time we spend together.  Love is a game changer.  Love is like Bruce Lee’s one inch punch:
  So the next time you’re feeling frustrated, a little down and out, and angry, know that most likely, you are loved.

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Unsupported Support…

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We are the unsupported support. We  provide support services to those deployed in far away places.  We are the keepers of their secrets; at times, they are the keepers of ours as well.  We become part of the “far away family” that only those familiar with long term deployments can relate to.  We celebrate their successes, share in their sadness, and stand side by side with them in places others would dare not go.  We create sacred and safe places within which they disclose the deepest secrets and fears.  We maintain the integrity of the moment and when they introduce to us their demons, we welcome them with open arms.  We provide normalcy in places where abnormal becomes the norm.  We normalize the experience of disbelief and despair.  We walk with them through the battlefields that remain active within them.  We mourn their losses.  We deactivate the demons that fuel rages, OCD like behaviors, and drinking binges that only a select few understand. We are the unsupported support.  We reap the reward of beneficial part of their breakthroughs.  When we can, we see them safely thru to other side of the images that, before us, they could not escape.  We provide the peace of mind that acceptance provides.  With us they are not judged.  With us they nothing more than individuals who did what what they had to do in less than optimum conditions. We support them in their darkest hours and become the light by which they find their way home.

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Turkish Taxi…

The taxi driver insisted that I sit in the front seat. As we exited the airport area I immediately noticed the run down buildings on either side of us. A combination of different stages of renovation; some were bare concrete, some had been partially knocked down, and others were painted bright pastel like colors. I assumed that the buildings still standing had stronger, more solid foundations. Perhaps the others were simply outdated and/or too old to remain useful. Oddly enough each one, in its own way, added to the uniqueness of the area.

I noticed a man, wearing a rumpled white button down dress shirt that was more out than tucked in. His blue jeans were loose but even as he walked under the light, the slight bow of his legs was very noticeable. The bright reddish orange glow from the cigarette he held in his hand seemed to set the pace for his walk. Occasionally, he would look up, take a drag, look down again, and then continue walking. The backpack and small suitcase on wheels that he pulled along slightly behind him, made me wonder if perhaps he lived nearby. He didn’t seem to be in any sort of rush. Maybe he was going to surprise someone? Maybe he was going home to an empty apartment? Maybe someone had simply forgotten to pick him up from the airport? Who knows? I watched this man, in the side mirror until I couldn’t see him any more. As I meandered through the many metaphors in my mind, I exhaled a little bit. I was almost relaxed when the taxi driver said something. I was lost in my own thoughts and (since I don’t speak the language) I didn’t try to figure it out.

Suddenly, all of the buildings seemed to become one big blur. We went from a cruising along slowly to warp speed in all of what felt like a few seconds. This man who, obviously thought we had to have been there yesterday, loved driving with lightening speed. He was laughing (probably at the terrified look on my face ) and saying something (again) that I didn’t understand. I think I almost saw a very large Mosque but cannot be sure because it went by in a flash. When he finally slowed down to “too fast” I was beyond relieved. When we stopped in front of the hotel, I remained seated. Not because I wanted to spend any more time in the taxi, I just needed to wait until my legs stopped shaking. I used the weight of my backpack to steady myself as I paid the taxi driver. Ironically, the very thing that I  complained about earlier ( the weight of my backpack as I lugged it around the airport terminal), was now the only thing that kept me grounded.

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A Different Kind of Deployment…

“You feel like a shadow on the front porch of what used to be your life; looking in, very present, but only on the periphery.”

Traversing the world is wonderful, but missing out on time with your family, is not.  So, when the opportunity to take an assignment in my home state arose, I couldn’t have been happier.  If only I had known….

As difficult as being deployed is for the loved ones of those serving in the various branches in the military, it is that much harder on the service member. This is a “different kind of deployment” because although the service member hasn’t gone, their training schedules can keep them away for weeks at time and, in many ways, being just far away enough not to go home every day is much more difficult that not being able to go home at all.

You’re doing what you have to do to support them.  They are doing what they have to do as well – but it takes its toll on all involved.  There is distance – where before there was none.  You feel like a shadow on the front porch of what used to be your life; looking in, very present, but only on the periphery.

The back and forth takes its toll. Now you see them, now you don’t.  You look forward to being with them when you can, but even more than that, you dread having to “readjust” when you return to your life without them. You wonder if they really understand and/or appreciate the sacrifices that you are making on their behalf.  You don’t tell them how hard it really is and they don’t tell you.  Your conversations consist of things you will do and how great it will be.  It’s easier that way…but not really.  Things will never really be the same again. You dare not tell them…but it’s okay… because they probably already know.

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Journey of 1000 miles…

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When you find yourself in a difficult situation, ask yourself the following questions;

How can I become better as a result of this experience?

What is it about this experience that troubles me?

How do I feel when I think about that?

When have I felt that way before?

Asking and answering these questions is the first step in your change process, and since “the journey of 1000 miles begins with the first step” you are well on your way!