As I lay here in my bed with all my comfy pillows and my heating blanket cranking on this three degree Midwest day, I can’t help but think about my deployed husband, his fellow shipmates, and every other deployed armed forces member. So often I think spouses get caught in a woe is me mentality of thinking about how hard it is for them while their spouse is away, how lonely they are to come home to an empty house, or how frustrating it can be to parent the children on their own. What about our service members though? You have to go through all of that, but what about them?
This is our second deployment as a couple and my husband’s third in the U.S. Navy. We have endured a lot of separation in our 2 and a half years of marriage as he has been on a ship for a little over 4 years and they go out for underways and training year round in order to be prepared for deployments. Our first deployment was very difficult for me because we had only been married a short time, and I hadn’t really connected with many military friends or our Family Readiness Group (FRG) yet. My friends and family were amazing, but there were days that they just didn’t understand. My husband and I didn’t have any children yet so I felt totally alone sometimes. I often would wallow in self-pity wondering when the pain would end and hoping the days would fly by. One day I was in the middle of a full swing bad day in tears at the drop of a hat and just wondering how I was supposed to survive the deployment and be away from my Sailor 5 more months.
I began to pray like I had never prayed before. I asked God for His peace, guidance, and strength. After I prayed I fell asleep and I woke up wondering why I kept making it all about me. There I was, much like today, in my comfortable bed with lots of pillows, a full functioning bathroom of my own only 2 steps away, and a fully stocked fridge that I could indulge in as I pleased. I was safe, clean, and blessed. What did I have to mope about? From that day forward, I made a pledge that I could have bad days but I could no longer make it about me. I was allowed to miss my husband, and to be sad we were apart, but I could not wallow in self-pity with my woe is me attitude anymore!
I thought first thought about my husband and his shipmates; their living arrangements, where they slept, the hours that they worked, the food they ate, the lack of communication they experienced and the schedule they were on. Then my mind went further to the service members deployed to the Middle East and the hardships they faced day in and day out.
How can we as the ones left behind be s selfish to think that we have it the worst? Is it hard at home without sometimes? Absolutely! I would not deny that it is so hard when our significant others are gone, but what about them? They are not only away from us and their children but from everyone that they love. They miss out of the smallest thing from rocking their children to sleep, to walking them to the bus stop, to being able to shower in a hot clean shower without having to wear shoes, to even just being able to walk to a fridge and pull out something to eat or drink. They are working long, hard hours in order to make it so that we as their family and every other person in America can do all of those things.
After that day, things turned around. Not a day went by that I didn’t miss my husband, but I learned how to cope better. I got involved in the FRG and went to activities with other spouses, I volunteered as a Sunday School teacher and had my students make cards to send to my husband’s ship, and I made sure that I did whatever I could for my husband while he was away. When my husband leaves I always promise him to take care of everything on the home front so that he can take care of his job stress free, and I would like to think I do a good job of it.
Now, we are into our second deployment and I feel at peace about what is happening. It’s a totally different experience from our last deployment as we have a 9 month old daughter, but the military is all about flexibility and learning to cope and deal with the things around us. I am so thankful for my life and the blessings in it, the military included. I have my bad days, we all do, and that’s okay. When the day ends and I am counting my blessings I thank God for everything I get to enjoy because of those who serve and because of His grace. The deployments, hard times, good times, everything really is a part of what brings glory to God.
So the next time you’re having a bad day stop and ask yourself, what about them? And truly sit and think about what our service members might be doing right this very second. After you’ve thought about it I hope that you are able to move on with your day thankful for all that you have, and thankful for the United States Military for going in our place and taking care of things so that we can live our lives comfortably, and worship our God who is so good.
If you are preparing for a deployment or currently involved in one I challenge you to think about them every time you are having a hard day. Think about what hardships they are going through, the luxuries they are missing out on that we would consider an everyday thing like having a toilet seat even, and re-evaluate how your day is going. I also recommend getting involved in whatever way possible whether it’s with the FRG, your local church, volunteering somewhere or joining a play group or even a gym. Find something to help you get through the sad times, cherish the good things, and always be thankful.
New to the HUN this week, Amanda Allen has been a Navy wife for almost 3 years. She is a San Diego native and is just now learning that home is truly where ever her Sailor is. As well as being a Navy wife, she is the mommy to a princess who will turn 1 in May 2011, and a full time student with Liberty Online University. She recently became a member of the blogging community and is truly enjoying linking up with other Military spouses! She is incredibly active in her church community, and credit’s all her blessings to God’s work in her life. She recently started a journey of getting healthy after baby. In the little bit of free time she has left, she loves anything crafty, hands-on, or family oriented. We welcome Amanda as the HUN’s newest writer.