I haven’t written as much recently. Lots going on here at home. Lots to process. Among those things is this: one year ago, my son became (officially) a Combat Medic with the United States Army. His training completed, his path firmly set. That initial phase, basic training, advanced training, it was over — one year ago. I have been processing that. This last year, so much has changed in his life. In fact, his whole life has changed. But, I have changed, too. They don’t always tell you that. The recruiters. They don’t mention the massive changing, growing, stretching that a military parent endures. This will change you, my friends. In ways you cannot imagine. I have realized that I don’t verbalize all that as much, lately. Not anymore. In the beginning, I did. People asked how he was. They asked how I was. I answered with the full truth, heart wide open, but.. loving, sweet, kind family and friends.. they didn’t get it. I don’t blame them. You can’t “get it” until you live it. There is always a running timer in my head. Countdowns. Days until. Days since. And the only time those aren’t playing are on the days when worry is louder than the counting. When a soldier dies. Or a helicopter crashes. When a boat is damaged. A mission goes silent. Those days, dear goodness, the worry.
Worry is loud. Did you know that? You all probably do. It is like a huge, loud, mind filling noise. Even if worry has no specific words it’s just, freaking, LOUD. I can’t always hear over it. But, to go back to my point, I don’t verbalize any of that, not anymore. (I write it here instead. Aren’t you all fortunate? You get to read all my rambling, outpourings of fear and courage-fails! Haha!) I say, in reply, to the questions from family and friends.. “He is good. Safe. Healthy.” It’s true.
We could probably discuss, for days, all of the insensitive, callous responses we got when we tried to share this journey with someone who hasn’t walked it. I will tell you the one that I hate most of all “All you can do is pray..”
Military parents, hear me: if someone tells you that prayer is ALL you can do, if they make prayer seem like it is a piddly little nothing, something akin to tossing a coin in a wishing well? Do me a favor? Laugh. Just laugh. And then walk away. They have no clue how powerful prayer is. It is NOT a last resort. Prayer is not what you do when all else fails. Praying for our military is not ALL you can do, it is your MISSION. They can join you, or they can get out of your way – – because you have the power of prayer and a battle to fight.