We are very near the six month mark in-theatre. My moods lately can only be described with "doldrums." I feel a stuck, un-moving, blah, blah, same old stuff daily type vibe lately. Fear not, my morale is high, as contact with loved ones and faith in God help me to keep my head up, but I feel just like Bill Murray in Groundhog Day. Wake up, the SAME thing happens, every day. Sometimes the variation in my day is whether I sweep and police call the common area or I clean the latrines.
Missions have gotten a bit monotonous. I am NOT complaining. Well, OK, maybe I am, just a little bit. The conspicuious absence of IEDs and, well, anything pointy, fast, and airborne headed my direction is not a lamented occurence. I hesitate to wish for action, because an adrenaline high at the cost of a lost brother is not a fair trade. But part of me wants SOMETHING to happen. Complacency gnaws at soldiers, and we do our best to slap the beast back from our mental edge, through training and perserverance. Everyone here understands that as quiet and un-eventful as things have been lately, this is a 360' battlefield, and the enemy is resourceful and dedicated. I am very proud of my platoon and their diligence.
I have noticed a few things. These are personal observations on my person.
My faith. I am a Born-Again Christian. My relationship with the Lord has grown a LOT since I deployed. Without my faith, I am sure I would not be doing as well here as I think I am. The ability to be faced with a problem, and to take that problem to the Lord in prayer, asking that His will be done and that resolvation (is that a word??) of the issue would occur, whether from divine intervention or right-minded thinking. Prayers for personal strength, courage, the ability to lead my men well, and protection are transmitted on my personal Heaven-wave radio too numerously to count.
My marriage. As hard as it is to believe, I think that this deployment has strengthened my marriage. I will not even go into the shallow end of the pool describing any marriage, but I believe that comparatively, my wife and I have grown together, even while separated by a hemisphere. I miss her very much, and am SO PROUD of her strength. She has the harder job, I tell you. She is the one with the void left to fill in her daily life. Here, I miss her like crazy, but I have never been in a situation like this before, and so having a frame of reference of being with her in this instance is not here. She is the one who must wake up to the empty bed, the one who has to go about her "normal" life without the love of her life there. This is an abnormal situation for me. Am I making sense? I Love You, Woman.
I have gained a huge appreciation for growning up the way I did, and the way I live now. The opportunities I have taken for granted, like a free education, indoor plumbing, non-opressive government, safe food supply, and approximate freedom from terror, are starkly visible to me. (On a lighter note, I am appreciative of straight roads. Whoever thought up the roads here needs a slap on the head. Roundabouts everywhere, or medians so you have to turn right and then turn around to be able to be headed left from your original direction of travel. Ridiculousness abounds in urban navigation.) I am proud to know that I have played a part in giving these people, especially the children, a chance at the same opportunities I was given. Hopefully they do not squander their newfound openings to success, as I did before in my life. (Apologies to Ms. Pittman, my 7th Grade Gifted Program teacher... I shoulda aced your class. Ditto to Ms. Ashimine, sophomore Biology teacher... sorry for all the goofing off. And to all my teachers who told me I had potential, and I just went to the beach.)
I have learned that just a phone call can do wonders for a person. It can lift spirits, brighten your day, and improve your outlook on everything.
I have always known how important having a good friend is to have, but appreciate it more now. I have the privilege to have my one of my best friends here in my platoon, and he helps keep me sane. I have many buddies, but this guy is my FRIEND. Someone I can talk to, who understands me on a personal level. Plus, there is nobody I would like to have next to me in a firefight more than Chuck.
BAD BOYS, BAD BOYS, WHATTCHYA GONNA DO...
I have also learned of the compassion and thoughtfulness of the American populace. The world sees Americans as greedy, self-promoting, thoughtless, self-centered people, and while there are folks like that, there are people who have little, yet are willing to help those who have nothing. Those who have sent donations to Omar have touched his family in ways inconceivable to them before now. I again thank you for your generosity, and Omar thanks you with every fiber of his being. Diana, Janie, Frosty, Jen n' Jeff, Peter from TX, Patty, all of you have been so kind. Awe, gratitude and appreciation are a few of the words that don't even start to express how Omar feels for your compassion. Thank You.
Thanks for reading. More to come soon.