My husband and I have not been active duty military very long (3 years,) and even so, I know how fortunate I am to have had him as long as I have. I have often struggled with the thought of him leaving on his first deployment. How do you let go of your husband gracefully? How do you keep your composure in front of a crowd? How do you stay strong for your children and your husband when your heart is literally breaking?
As I was questioning these things a few weeks ago I stumbled across a story in a book my husband had given to me. It gave me a new perspective on the whole situation, and it’s one I’d like to share with all of you.
(Taken from The Army Wife Handbook-Second Edition by Ann Crossley and Carol. A Keller)
“The Good Lord was creating a model for military wives and was into his sixth day of overtime when an angel appeared. She said, "Lord, you seem to be having a lot of trouble with this one. What’s wrong with the standard model?"
The Lord replied, "Have you seen the specs on this order? She has to be completely independent, possess the qualities of both father and mother, be a perfect hostess to 4 or 40 with an hour’s notice, run on black coffee, handle every emergency imaginable without a manual, be able to carry on cheerfully, even if she is pregnant and has the flu, and she must be willing to move to a new location 10 times in 17 years. And oh yes, she must have six pairs of hands." The angel shook her head, "Six pair of hands? No way!"
The Lord continued, "Don’t worry, we will make other military wives to help her. And we will give her an unusually strong heart so it can swell with pride in her husband’s achievements, sustain the pain of separations, beat soundly when it is overworked and tired, and be large enough to say "I understand" when she doesn’t and say, ‘I love you’ regardless".
"Lord," said the angel, touching his arm gently "Go to bed and get some rest. You can finish this tomorrow". "I can’t stop now", said the Lord "I am so close to creating something unique. Already this model heals herself when she is sick, can put up six unexpected guests for the weekend, wave goodbye to her husband from a depot, pier or runway and understand why it’s important that he leave."
The angel circled the model of the military wife, looked at it closely and sighed, "It looks fine, but it’s too soft". "She might look soft", replied the Lord, "but she has the strength of a lion. You would not believe what she can endure."
Finally, the angel bent over and ran her finger across the cheek of the Lord’s creation. "There’s a leak", she announced. "Something is wrong with the construction. You are trying to put too much into this model."
The Lord appeared offended at the angel’s lack of confidence. "What you see is not a leak", he said, "It’s a tear." "A tear? What is it there for?", asked the angel. The Lord replied, "It’s for joy, sadness, pain, disappointment, loneliness, pride and a dedication to all the values that she and her husband hold dear." "You are a genius!" exclaimed the angel.
The Lord looked puzzled and replied, "I didn’t put it there".”
When I said good-bye to my husband as he left to deploy, I was in tears. Not the pretty, quiet happy tears that you cry when you are watching the sweet part of a sappy movie. I wish! No, I was crying the big, fat, red splotchy-faced, snot running out of your nose, having a hard time trying to breathe kind. And even though they may not have appeared all that graceful, I think they were still beautiful, because I know exactly why they were there.
Of course, I was crying because I was sad. It is hard to watch your best friend, your love, and the better part of your very being walk away from you to go to war. It is painful to think that he is going to be in harm’s way a half a world away. It is disappointing to think that there will be so many memories my children and I will share that my husband won’t. Holidays and special events will feel really lonely without him.
And though I know that freedom is indeed not free, I have to admit that there have been several instances where I secretly wished that my husband was not one of the ones paying for it…but not this time.
In spite of all the sadness I felt, I was totally overwhelmed by an enormous sense of pride. I love my husband more than anything in the world. And he loves his country. I feel so grateful that he answered the call of duty that has led him to this career path. I am so appreciative of the sacrifices that he makes to protect others. I am proud of his undying service to his countrymen. To me, he is the epitome of strength and valor. There are signs everywhere that talk about the strength of Army Wives, but I know I would be nothing if not for him. He embodies everything I think an Army officer should be. I am proud of the way he is able to lead others with his knowledge, his character, and his passion. I am confident in his abilities, supportive of his mission, and SO honored to fight for our family here at home while he is away fighting for us.
Even now, I am crying. I hate that he is gone, but I know why he had to go. I love that man so much and I am so proud of everything he and his buddies are doing for me—for all of us. HOOAH!
God, bless all our troops! (And especially watch over my soldier!)
A proud, leaky creation