Monday, October 22, 2012

I don't pretend to understand it all.  In some ways, I don't try.  It's too much for my small, flawed mind and soul to understand.  The hurt, hate, pain, suffering, death in our world.

Everyone will do it.  Everyone will die.

The world is one large sphere of organized chaos.  People working, loving, living, hurting, dying.  Innocent, evil.  Young, old.  Rich, poor.  I see a young woman, strong and with a big heart, battling cancer.  She fights on, always smiling.  I hear of a man, working through college, who ends his life.  Mothers who bury their children.  Babies who's lives are forcibly ended before they even full enter our world.

I don't understand.  The terrible suffering.

It's in front of me--an element in the chaos none of us can escape.

But, I have to believe that, above that painful chaos--above the suffering masses--there is Him.  I have to believe it.  Because there has to be something Good, something True and Loving beyond this.  There has to be a reason for it--a Good that will come out of it.  Because I have seen great good arise from terrible moments.

In those moments of soul-shaking fear, physical or spiritual torment, or bodily pain; in those moments when we realize so coherently the end is imminent--for our loved ones or for us--He's there.  Above it all.

Above the chaotically painful parallel, there is a constant, truly good Perpendicular.

And I believe that He hears me.

Because as long as I keep my eyes perpendicular, my heart and soul faced upward, the Perpendicular will always be in view, always be in my path.  I must move forward through the parallel, trudge amongst the chaos, endure the pain and suffering.  Because at some point, even for me, the Perpendicular will call.

I will have to walk my final steps through the fire of death.

But, my path will, God willing, still be up.  Up.  To Him.

The Curer, the Lover, the Constant Good.

The Perpendicular.

Army Wife and the Pioneer Life

I have always admired the Pioneer life.  Envied the Pioneer woman.  

They literally built their lives.  Their muscles and bones, heart and soul went into producing every facet of their existence.  In this world today, with the instant gratification of smart phones, internet, mass chain stores and restaurants on every corner, people can get what they need in a matter of moments.  Furniture, rugs, plates, spoons, food.  Pick it up, swipe your card.  Done. 

The pioneers made those items; often times, they produced the materials that went into making those goods.  Everything was precious and dear.  Their food, rugs, furniture, clothes.  They made them with their hands.  Their bodies labored to produce the simplest of things.  I have found myself wishing at times to return to that simpler time.  When people valued things and persons more.  Worked harder for their happiness and livelihood.  

I see that Pioneer spirit in the Army family.  In the Army wife.  Army children.  The Soldier offers his life, his body, heart and soul for work that few volunteer to do.  The Army family ventures into new territory frequently, building a home and a life in a place completely foreign to them.  We throw our bodies into packing and unpacking our lives, building a happy home.  Our ingenuity and steadfastness mirrors that of the pioneer family.  Because it’s back-breaking work.  There’s so much risk.  Yet we continue.  Because this is the life we somehow love.  The work, the toil.  The heartache and risk.  That’s not the overriding aspect of this life. It’s the search for the right house—the one we’ll lovingly and carefully make into a home, even for a few months.  It’s watching the movers unload furniture yet again, noting damage to our precious pieces of “home”—and smiling anyway.   It’s setting up the furniture, knowing that slowly we are making a life for our family—gathering the familiar.   Unpacking, setting up, replacing the old, falling in love with the new.  Making, working.  Muscles, bones.  Heart and soul. 

I am a Pioneer.  I make our life.  I make it over and over.  I find a house, make a home.  I produce an environment of familiar with my hands, working and toiling.  I maintain the home, when my Soldier is home and away.  I endure terrible hardships and great joy, all with a smile.  I teach my children how to handle adversity, overcome the odds.  Even when it seems impossible.  I make our lives, produce a positive existence.  I turn to the other pioneer women I know.  My mother.  My Army girlfriends.  I seek advice, receive consolation.  Laugh.  Live.  Love.  Survive. 
Because despite the hardships—the irreparable damage of furniture that held my babies, the destruction of precious items we worked hard to obtain--, despite the heartache of leaving friends and family, locking our old homes for the last time, this life is so worth it.  Because we make our livelihood, our homes, our lives.  Over and over again.  Beyond the friends and family, the numerous homes, the frequent moves, the constant separation, there is a beauty that is indescribable and a victory that is unmatchable.  

Maybe it’s not envy I feel for the Pioneer life, for the Pioneer woman.  Perhaps it’s a camaraderie, a solidarity with her spirit.  A spirit that has continued through the generations, rooting itself in a love of the earth, a loyalty to our country, fidelity to our family.  A determination to forge ahead.  The way ahead may be unfamiliar, but we move forward anyway.  Because this is all we know.  Because this is our lives. 

This is our spirit. 

Thursday, October 04, 2012

I need a vacation.

No really.  I need a vacation.

I had a doctor's appointment this morning at the Air Fore Base (apparently the Army medical center doesn't see anyone over the age of 18 anymore.  Gee.  Thanks.) , and I had to navigate around the city for the first without the help of my husband.  He's a natural born navigator.  Hence the (former) pilot part.  Me?  Not so much.  It's not that I get lost a lot; I'm just really paranoid about getting lost.  So much so, that I was gripping the wheel the entire thirty minute drive through San Antonio, counting exits like my the future of my soul depended on it.

And by the way, people will tell you that everything in San Antonio is only fifteen minutes from you.  It's not.  And I hope I never find myself saying this.  Because everyone says it.

I digress.  So, I'm literally a mile from the Base and I pull out my wallet to get my ID card.  Now, you can't do anything on post without your ID.  It's basically your lifeline.  Buy groceries?  Nope.  Purchase clothes?  Negative.  Receive medical care?  Forget it.  I reach into my wallet to my ID card slot...and felt the emptiness.  I rustled around inside my purse.  Nothing.  I started to panic.  Pockets on my purse?  Not there.  By this time I had pulled inside a hotel parking lot and could see the gate from where I was parked.  I tried to think back when I had last had it.  The zoo!  I had put it back in my wallet; I had made it a point because of my doctor's appointment.  I jumped out of the car, looked in the stroller.  By this time, I was frantic.

And so I called her.  The woman who has walked this path before me.  Who knows it.  And understands it.  And has another appreciative aspect--my mother.  "They won't see me if I don't have it!"  I cried to her.  "Nope, they won't.  Did you check your purse?"  She went with me through the whole van, stroller and purse.  "What about any random pockets on your wallet?"  My mind stopped.  Yes.  I reached into my coin pocket and felt the plastic lamination in my finger tips.

"Mom!  Thank you!"  Seriously, if she hadn't said that, I would have turned around and driven home.  But, she saved me.  Again.  When I handed my ID card over to the young Soldier at the desk, I was still shaking.

That's the first time since having an ID card at ten years old, that I have lost it.  And that wasn't even that major of a loss.  That little piece of paper and plastic connects to my healthcare, my sustenance, my life.

After all of that, and then navigating around this huge city, I am going to reward myself.  With a giant hunk of dark chocolate brownie.