“Oh, Meg, you don’t know?” she look at me confused. This was not my post anymore, not my current Army home but one I still held close to my heart. The confusion on my face answered her question.
I was going down the list of past friends, mentors, inspirational wives with a dear, dear friend of mine. When I asked how one of the kindest, quietly supportive senior wives we had worked with was doing her face changed.
What happened doesn’t matter. Her life was changed in a way that none of us ever want and I nearly slammed the brakes in heartache for her. She is kind, she is generous, she is the classiest of Army women and I am very proud to have learned from her.
She said one thing to my good friend after the path of her long army life changed course that has stayed with both of us:
“Do not lose who you are.”
This life can be overwhelming, this life can be consuming, but it is not all that exists for us.
I am fully and completely submerged in the Army Life – I love it, it strengthens me, it is truly a BIG part of who I am. But it is not the only part of who I am. It is very easy to make our entire life about our soldiers, about their jobs, about this lifestyle. And I say repeatedly to be involved in it, to be active in it, to thrive in it. And I think that in saying those things it may lead women to believe that this must be their every moment, their every breath, every thought. That this part of life is the only part of life.
I will be the first to say that I struggle with this because I love this life. I believe that we all have a path that has been set before us – that we try to tweak and force to go another way at times – but that is our path. I have said before that I never expected this life for myself; I never had half-a-thought that my life would be what it is now. In truth, I had a very different picture in mind. My point is that I believe that the women who choose to take on this life, who choose to truly, completely, and passionately put their hearts into loving a soldier, are meant to do so. And so to not lose yourself in it is difficult – because this is my life. I am married to a soldier.
I have battled, within myself, trying to find the balance. I thought that by taking on this life I had to lose the life I “thought” was meant for me. I was resistant. I was closed-off. I decided that I would not accept this life anywhere beyond my husband. And in Erasing the Line I talk about when I realized that that was not something I, personally, could continue to do.
“Do not lose who you are.”
Was I losing myself? The thought would not leave me. Because, if anything, from the time I had that lightbulb moment years ago when I suddenly found my “purpose” in this life I have never felt more like “me”. I have never felt more defined, more complete, more understood than from that day forward.
Before that “ah-ha” instant I had been mourning who I had “wanted” to be. I thought that my hard work always focused on a single plan (a well-thought-out, eye-on-the-prize, I-know-who-I’m-gonna-be plan) had hit a dead-end. When I received that punch-to-the-gut some time ago I finally understood that who I am fits. Who I am has a part in this community – who I am is not solely this community but is a part of it. Who I am does not hide behind who he is.
Who he is is a part of who I am just as much as who I am is a part of him. I am dedicated to this life because I believe that I was brought here for a purpose. I serve in this life because it was in that single moment of recognition that “who I am” came back to me.
I haven’t lost myself in this life. I had been lost – wallowing in what “was supposed to be”.
But still, the thought that kept trying to overpower the certainty that I feel in my choice was questioning the “what-if”. What if this life is not my life after a decade or two of commitment? In losing this life will I lose me again?
I cannot live today fearful of what might be tomorrow. What good can come from that? I will never be productive, never find a purpose in anything if I live in fear of what may come. So, “Do not worry about tomorrow.” Live today.
I am a mother, a daughter, a sister, a friend, and I am an (Army) wife. No matter what tomorrow brings, I will always find me in it.
“So do not worry about tomorrow; for tomorrow will care for itself.” – Matthew 6:34