Well, it certainly has been a long time. I could come up with excuses, but that’s just what they are, excuses. Over the past few weeks I have been sick with a stomach flu and I have only worked 1 day in the past 14. During this time, I was able to really decompress and decide that I really want to get better. And I mean all-around better. I recently joined a group with my wife that is focusing on our weight, diet, and self-care. So far, I have quite enjoyed it and I am seeing some slight changes in my daily routine. Today, I prayed. That may seem trivial, but for whatever reason I have really walked away from communicating with God. I honestly don’t know if I am angry with Him, or if I am ashamed of me, or just hurt and numb over how my last deployment went, but I made the decision that it is time to be done with that period in my life. I read my Bible with my youngest son the other day, a section out of Ezra, which talked about rebuilding the Temple. Now, I could go into how neat it is that in scripture the word temple is interchangeable with the physical building in Israel and the individual person, but you get the idea. The people in Ezra had to work hard to rebuild the temple. It was no easy task. They not only had to raise funds, they had to get the building items, actually build and repair, and also go about their daily lives. And all this happened before the scripture even says that they were opposed. I guess the guidance here is that it takes hard work to rebuild ourselves, and that while we are doing it we also have to live our lives. And there will be opposition. To expect smooth sailing and great times is not only unlikely, its foolish. I know this, but I also know that I have a secret weapon.
When I was assigned to 3BDE/25ID as a Transition Team RST in 2009, there was a team that we needed to meet with in the town of Tikrit, Iraq. My boss and I had to travel from COB Speicher to an Iraqi outpost in central Tikrit by way of a Combat-Logistic Patrol (CLiP). We were basically baggage on this trip, but like everyone in the convoy, I attended the route briefing. Specifically on that day, there were credible threats to American convoys moving in and around Tikrit and in fact, while we were enroute, the CLiP 5 minutes in front of us took fire. During that time, the local insurgency was hitting convoys with RPG’s that could shred through our armor like butter. I saw the remains of vehicle that was hit a few days earlier. Now, we are heading into the same area and I can tell you that my adrenaline and fear peaked, especially since I had no way of controlling the situation at all – I was strapped in the back just waiting. This time, nothing happened – the guys who fired at the first convoy had likely bugged out seconds after firing, that’s their M/O. I knew that during the trip, I couldn’t just sit there stewing in my fear and trepidation, but I also knew that I had no actual way of changing anything. So, I let my secret weapon take over. I prayed a simple prayer that asked God to take my fear, keep the convoy safe, and that in any event that my only request was that God allow me to meet Him on my feet with honor if He should require my life that day.
See, there is something powerful about surrendering to your circumstances in the right way. I’m not going to sit here tonight and inflate my service, but there have been many times that I have been in situations where my life could be required of me and I can tell you that in those moments is not the time you want to get ready. You don’t want to have your final seconds be when you begin to build or rebuild your life. That ships sails quickly. I always had the same prayer and request when I was going into missions: Lord, let me meet you with honor. I had to make peace with who I was at that time, that what I had or hadn’t accomplished was going to be me. And that I would stand by that as the best that I could do.
So, I sit yet again at another decision point and I have decided that I want to get well. That I want to rebuild my life and move forward on the path that God has for me. I am not naive, I know that it will take hard work and that opposition is inbound. But, I also know that I have a secret weapon who is always on duty and that truly wants me to succeed.