I waved good-bye to Sparky to send him off to defend our freedoms on the steel city. The sky was dark but my lipstick was bright red and holding up just fine. My victory rolls gently tousling in the wind. My white-gloved hand blowing him kisses. I clutched my pearls and said to myself as if it were a pep talk, “It’ll be just crackerjack, you can do this kid”. All while fighting off the hot tears brimming in my eyes. I went home and started writing my first letter to him before I went and riveted something.
My Dearest Sparky, I sit here just moments from leaving your warmth but I already feel cold as you drift further away from me. Oh my Darling how ever will I make it through these days without you? I'll be here waiting and I won't sit under the apple tree with anyone else but you! Waiting pier side with love and affection, Your Beloved
That’s actually not how it went down. But for some reason when I mention to people about sending off my sailor, that’s how they envision it! It’s romantic, everyone sounds like they are typing at a news office ya’ see and it’s 1942 ya’ see!
What really happened is, we were in front of the house of the guy he was carpooling with so he didn’t have to leave his car down by the pier for so long. I had no make-up on or bra for that matter. (I realize that is an over-share…my apologies). It was 4:00 am and I was wearing a thick sweatshirt if that helps my case! I actually did okay. I only cried on the way home. Their car turned one way and mine the other and then Lifehouse starting singing on the radio, “I’m falling apart, barely breathing. With a broken heart that’s still beating.” Tears then steadily streamed down my face. Stupid Lifehouse and their melodic majesty. I wasn’t crying because he will be gone for this work-up. It’s not very long, just a month! In military life that’s a piece of cake! The tears came because there are so many of these work-ups. Not all small ones either. Some are more than a month long. This is on top of the big six to seven month deployment. So much precious time away (part of the deal, I know). But it’s still tough, especially on our kids. It’s still sad to miss birthdays, holidays, baby’s firsts, to graduations and even just the every days. I get told often, mostly by those who aren’t military and have never gone through a deployment, “It’ll go fast and it will be over before I know it!” and “My husband loves me too much to leave me” or “I love my family too much, I could never leave them” are, legit, my least favorite things to hear from others! Jesus uses these as my teachable moments. That I should give the grace He gives me and extend it to others. Because thou shalt not throat punch. Let us pray.
Now don’t get me wrong we love our military life even with all its ups and downs. My husband felt called to serve and did so. He does it with character and integrity and I could not be prouder. Nearly 22 years into it, one thing I know for sure is that deployments require a lot of strength! To be honest, I don’t always (rarely) have enough on my own. So I am so grateful God is my rock star deployment buddy!
When I am feeling lonely, which is often at night when it’s quiet and the thoughts race and my heart aches, God reminds me He is right by my side. When I am tired from taking care of kids, homeschooling, running errands, the house, life, all with no reprieve, He renews me. When my kids cry because they miss their Dad, He gives me the capacity to not only carry my ache but theirs. When I let worry and wonder creep in, God fills my heart with peace and calmness. It’s still hard and I am not going to lie and say that I don’t have bad days! I have been known to fall to the floor in a puddle of tears when it all seems like too much. People may think if you have God that it’s all a breeze. Not at all! With God it is POSSIBLE. He will strengthen me to not just survive these deployments, but to thrive! I can hear Him now, “It’ll be just crackerjack, you can do this kid!”
A Beautiful Mess,
JerriLynn not Jerri