As a theoretical construct deployment isn’t so bad. When I’m more than a month or two out and the reality isn’t crushing down on one side or the other it looks almost easy. In my head I remember that it isn’t fun, but mostly it’s just normal life minus my husband. There are still good days and it’s what we do. So really, it’s not that bad, right?
Except that it’s not a theoretical construct. It’s a reality.
There are a lot more feelings involved in reality.
Feelings like ‘missing’ and ‘lonely’ and ‘sad’ and ‘tired’ and ‘vaguely angry at no one in particular.’
There are a lot of gaps in a relationship when your husband is present to you only in the words on a screen in an email once a day… Sometimes more… Sometimes less. (Skype eats up too much bandwidth on the boat and phone calls are only possible in port unless there is an emergency and I’m really hoping NOT to go there this time around. For once). So when Karen from NIH calls and confirms that NIH, at least, does indeed consider paraganglioma cancer from the beginning, I don’t have him to process my backwards feelings of relief with. When I’ve had it up to here with the silly version of obstinance that puts me at the end of my resources each and every time with the girls, I don’t have him to sympathize. He’s not here to equalize my drama or to make me laugh when I let the angry and the grumpy take over too much.
So I come face to face with the fact that deployment is not a theoretical construct. It is a reality. And at times I’m not digging it so much.
We’ve pushed past that disorganized stage where I am ok with the house being in a mess and I let us eat chocolate all day long.
Well… let’s be honest… I’m still eating chocolate all day long… And the house, has probably looked better… Still we aren’t in a no man’s land of no holds barred lack of discipline. In small ways at least, we’re striving for some structure.
In my memory this is the time where things settled down and weren’t really ‘that bad.’
Except that… what I don’t remember is that they aren’t really all that easy either. There are still feelings to feel and gremlins to face down and the dense foggy oppression of missing that clings to my heart.
It’s not a thing that looks dramatic from the outside really. Life still goes on and I use perky voices for the kids and I still *am* cheerful and happy and so grateful for many things much of the time.
It’s just that the reality of this is still there. And I can’t get around it.
Our sermon series at church right now is about the first 18 verses of John (In the beginning was the word and the word was with God and the word was God. He was with God in the beginning…) and the amazing fact that Christmas is about incarnation. It’s God with us. God WITH us in flesh. God taking on humanity and redeeming that flesh.
We have been challenged to become more fully human… To become more like the true selves that we were created to be.
I’m struck by the fact that being human means that you bleed and you cry and you produce mess of all kinds. It means that you love. And if you fully and humanly engage in love, you hurt.
And so I’m trying not to shrink back from the humanity of these moments or from the reality of them. I am trying to stay engaged and present… to my husband–though he is so far away and so physically unreachable. I’m trying to stay engaged and present to God and what He may or may not be doing in this messy humanity… in this reality of missing and longing and hurting and getting grumpy that is so much more than a theoretical construct. I’m trying to stay in it and be human. I’m trying to feel the feelings without letting them overtake me. I’m trying.
But sometimes…. I wish I could just go back to the theoretical construct.