Tuesday, October 2, 2012

This Crazy-Necessary-Dangerous-Heart~Breaking Thing We Do

Dear Military Wife,

Hello, Sister.  I am so glad to call you friend, you who understands this wandering life of service.  

Are you new to those rows of hanging ABU's and steel-toed boots standing at attention in your closet?  Have you just said goodbye to Oklahoma, holding your Airman's hand tight as you wave goodbye to mama for the first time towards forever?

Or are your hands dry from packing paper and household cleaners, you who scrub down the walls of your heart every few years and struggle to find the perfect grouping of framed  memories to keep those you love fully present wherever home is today?

Today we name it, this crazy-necessary-dangerous-heart~breaking thing we do.  We say it out-loud and destroy the power silence has to convince us we are alone.  

Ken and I are not home-owners.  We never have been.  We've been moving since 1989, and truthfully we've never known where we might want to settle when these Air Force days are over.  Always, during the unpacking and setting up of home, my thoughts turn to how I would do all of "this" - moving furniture, hanging pictures, setting up electronics - without Ken.  Then when the final picture is hung, I wonder how I would fill all of those holes without him?  And fear lurks just over my shoulder, familiar in his new-home welcome visit.  With Ken gone there are holes that will never be filled.

I have learned through the years of moving to recognize fear and give him his proper place.  He is only a motivator for making a new plan, then I show him the door and invite him to leave.  I have moved enough times now that I usually don't open the door to his knocking.  I can make a plan without him.

You know your thoughts wander here too.  Whether it's during PCS season, or while he's deployed.  When your teaching certificate is tucked in a drawer and you sell lotion at the store, or your teenager said goodbye to the girl he loves two moves ago.  Where do I begin to live if I have to live without him?

It's crazy ~  we aren't wives with homes and communities, time in one place spreading the roots deep and wide.  I know they have other things that cause fear to knock on their doors, but I wonder how often settled wives imagine the knock from men in blue and where, just where they will move when the 180 days of BHA is spent?

It's necessary ~ I want to plan what is best for our family with the man who has dreamed and worked it with me.  He, who has devoted his life to our protection, welfare, and security, is the one whose strength I want to lean on if I can no longer lean into his arms.

It's dangerous ~ fear wants a room of his own.  Planning details of where to settle are as important as making a will, but plans fueled by fear will turn into walking nightmares.  No matter how many times these conversations are had, the day will be weary and sad and your thoughts will slip away to "what if's".  Don't let fear lay a heavy lead blanket around your shoulders, Favored Military Wife.  Everything beyond the plan is just vain imaginings.  God is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine Eph. 3:20  Might I suggest you kick fear out now?

It's heart-breaking ~ I stood by my husband last week as he buried a co-worker.  I have been his helper through many funerals and memorials, but never have I stood grave-side, heat radiating through his service dress as I braced my back against the wall of his chest, and watched the honor guard fold the flag above the casket of one of USA's men of honor.  Never before have I braced against the crack of a 21-gun salute, my ears screaming at the insult those shots perpetrated against the reverent silence that moment demanded.

But it was the general's bent knees to the ground, placing the three-sided symbol of One Nation Under God in her lap and whispering, oh such a long time of whispering gratitude and comfort to the Dear Military Wife that undid me. 

Dear Military Wife.  Hello, Sister.  There now.  It's out in the open.  You are not alone.  It is so good to make a plan.  God and your husband know you are a creature who desires security.  Have your talks and remember to laugh while you do, because your man is right there making them with you.  Lock them up in your fire box, in the file directly behind the wills.  And now push fear out the door, turn on the music, and dance with that man, combat boots and all.

Dear Favored One, if this is not your world I know it is for someone you love.  Remind her she's not alone.  She's really good at going deep pretty fast - we don't have time to wade into friendship.  It's usually a big jump off the high-dive.  You will be surprised at what seeing her will mean to your friendship.  And she'll be pretty good at listening to your named fears as well.  None of us are alone.  We need to remind each other of that.  And then help each other kick fear to the curb.


Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you.  I do not give to you as the world gives.  
Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.
John 14:27

Linking at these pages of Grace:
 
Time Warp WifeFinding HeavenA Pause On the Path

15 comments:

  1. Beautiful Tobi. I loved having this view into your heart and your world. Love you!

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    1. Thank you Mandy, for seeing me. Love you and see you soon!

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  2. Thanks for this reminder. I grew up in a military town, and if I'm honest, we tended to shy away from the air force folks because we knew they'd be gone soon. Very selfish mentality.

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    1. Oh I don't know, Mary Beth. I know many people who just didn't want the pain of saying goodbye again. It's okay. But we never know what we miss out on when we count by linear methods. I've had just weeks with a person be long enough to seed a friendship that will grow for our lifetime. Guess I'm just saying be gentle on yourself. And the next time you have a chance, I guarantee that military wife is looking for a friend. It can be pretty lonely, and I'll definitely confess envy regarding those women I meet you have had many years of life together. So glad you're my friend!

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    3. Mary Beth...I had a civilian friend tell me this same thing last summer...that she felt she wasted so many good friend-chances by NOT befriending them for the 3 years they were in her town. That knowing me, before my husband was active duty, and knowing we'd had to leave, made her realize that it is good to have friends even if they do leave.

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  3. Tobi, Fear does tend to find us whoever we may be, doesn't it? Thank you for the reminder to kick fear to the curb so we can take up the freedom that comes in Christ. He helps us change our perspective and embrace this moment as a gift. Thank you for sharing your sweet heart, friend. :)

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    1. Yep, fear only paralyzes or destroys. I'm so glad we shared some Utah days and can't wait to see you again at Allume! But mostly I'm glad to call you friend. What a blessing that is!

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  4. This captured my heart, not because I am a military wife, but because I love the reaching out -- the call to encourage and minister to those in the same spaces we are in...and beyond.

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    1. Thank you Jen for those words and behind them ... a seeing of my heart. This post was special and my desire to encourage and minister is almost consuming these days. I'm excited about what God is calling me to in this season and determined to not be afraid. I hope this day finds you filled with His peace. Thank you for sharing space with me here. Blessings, Friend.

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  5. Hi Tobi,

    Beautifully written piece. I'm not a military wife, but we are expats living in a less than secure place with our family, so I identified with much of what you wrote, especially the continual battle with fear and how you can never let down that guard or forget that it is a battle. And now my oldest is considering military service...

    thank you for this glimpse into your world.

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    1. Dear Richelle, though I've lived and traveled in many foreign places I have always had the secure feeling of big Air Force for protection. I can only imagine the surrender it takes to depend on the Lord as you live and love in the area of the world you are in. Your family is definitely "strong and courageous." Please know I would love to walk with you in any way if your son enters military service. I now know how to live as a military wife and am learning how to live as a military mom. Blessings to you, Friend.

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  6. Tobi, this is beautiful. It is a glimpse into the lives of friends that I don't know on a personal level and hadn't fully considered. Thank you so much for these words!

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    1. And thank you for your friendship!

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  7. This was beautiful, Tobi. I am a military wife and I have been friend-full, and lonely. I've been home alone, and with the man I love. I didn't marry the uniform--that was a decision that came many years later. But I cannot imagine my life without this "crazy necessary dangerous" aspect.

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