“…and it’s a long December and there’s reason to believe maybe this year will be better than the last.” – Counting Crows
During this time, Pam has had to deal with moving for the 5th time in as many years and 2 more moves to look forward to over the next year. She has had to deal with her own personal version of “
During this same time, aside from the normal trials and tribulations of military duty, I have traveled through 14 countries on 3 continents, trained in the snow, endured the stifling desert heat, experienced thunderstorms of biblical proportions, and witnessed brutal and indiscriminate devastation wrought by both man and nature.
And yet, there have been moments of spontaneous joy along with heartfelt outpourings of love and kindness, the nature of which can only be born out of tribulation. Coinciding with the heart-rending tragedy that continues to permeate this region of the world where so much of my past year has been spent, were extraordinary moments of compassion and kindness; spontaneous and heartfelt demonstrations of caring and generosity and overwhelming occasions of camaraderie and sharing.
How then do we weigh these blessings against the magnitude of heartache, loneliness, and sorrow of being separated from family, or can we? I think now, that even though they all must be taken as pieces that create the whole, one cannot be weighed against the other. They are of different genres and should not even be competing on the same field for my emotions. While we have to accept all the challenges that life brings us, they are only things to be endured, things which add contrast and texture to the moments we cherish in life.
As the end of this year approaches, I find myself separated from my wife and family by half a world. While all the reasons that I find myself desert purgatory are just as valid as they ever were, there are days when I just don’t care, days when I just miss my wife and when I yearn for home. During these times, Pam and I will commiserate with each other through our hardships. We will put aside all the noble and honorable reasons for our tribulations and allow ourselves a short time of self-pity because duty and honor aside, being apart from your loved ones through this time of giving and sharing just plain sucks.
Tomorrow though, the world will seem just a little brighter as we wake up one day closer to being together again. Our contributions and sacrifices will mean just a little bit more as this fledgling bastion of freedom progresses that much further through its infancy and we will see if we can find just a little more strength and perseverance from some untapped reserve to help push us through the final stretch. So while it has been both a long year and a long December, with the end of our mission right around the corner, there is reason to believe that maybe this year will be better than the last.