I was raised in a military family. Fortunately it was during a time of peace. There were no deployments during which every day was affected by worry for my father's safety. I had the benefit of travel, of living overseas, and of believing that the world was a wonderful place filled with adventure. It was a blessing I was fortunate to experience in my formative years.
I had a pretty good idea of what to expect when I became involved with a soldier many years later. He was an Army pilot transitioning to the AH64D which at the time involved training both at Ft Rucker and Ft Hood. After 9/11 the training year at Ft Hood was shortened and the soldiers sent back to Ft Campbell to prepare for eventual deployment. It was just over a year later when the 101st boarded the planes bound for Iraq. Bound for war.
I said goodbye and I watched other families say goodbye~ each one, every one feigning a strength and joviality that none truly felt. I drove around the base aimlessly for a while, delaying the silence that awaited me at home. I realized something that night. I had been living in fear every single day for 15 months. Fear of the day I would have to do what I'd just done. Fear of the uncertainty ahead.
When the first bombs were dropped I finally allowed myself to cry. Those first few weeks were spent in a fog. CNN and FOX news became my instant best friends. It was miserable. I felt powerless. I hated the telephone.
I found myself praying more than I ever had, but in a new way. I didn't realize it then, but I had begun a spiritual journey that would redefine my relationship with God and bring me to the place He had always intended for me. That year brought loss. And triumph. And a faith that finally allowed me to let go and Let God. The fear dissolved. In my case, terrorism ultimately failed.
It was during this time that I was finally still, that I discovered peace, and that I listened openly enough to hear my calling. I've never looked back.
And I haven't forgotten.
Enjoy your freedom. And please.... love the ones safeguarding it.