This post is dedicated to all the girls and women and men who say goodbye to their beloveds as they head off to basic training, overseas assignments and war zone deployments. This is for the fearful souls who face the unknown wondering if they can survive this goodbye that feels overwhelming and maybe just impossible to survive.
My husband's deployment notice could not have come at a worse time for us and yet, I realize now that it was also the perfect time and everything has worked together to improve situations that we were suffering through and set us up for a very happy life upon his return.
Despite the fact that I had done my homework, read all the literature, attended the deployment readiness weekend training and had seen many go through deployment before me, I still stood in the weeks leading up to his departure, teary-eyed for a couple of minutes nearly every day. Some days it was big huge sobs getting mascara all over the shoulder of his shirts. The fears of what could happen to him and what could happen in our lives while he was away were incomprehensible and terrifying. I am usually a pretty calm and rational person, but thinking of losing a year of our lives together was probably the biggest challenge I have yet faced in life.
One night we were in a movie theater for one of our last date nights before he left. As we sat with the annoying pre-movie entertainment playing I heard a voice inside me say, "You can do this. You are ready. You can do this." I knew, deep in my soul that this voice was right. I was ready, I had done all I could do to prepare physically, emotionally and spiritually for this long separation and the months of worry and adjustment to him being gone. I WAS ready. I quickly wrote the words down on a piece of paper and later pinned them up above my desk to remind me.
Did I maintain that moment of calm for the rest of pre-deployment and the past 11 months of deployment? No, not all the time. But I could always go back to that moment and remember that I am indeed able and ready for this challenge. Remembering that moment calmed me and reminded me that I could do this hard thing. Everything in my life up to that point had prepared me.
If you're standing in the nervous spot where I stood last year at this time, let me recommend that you do your homework, read the literature, talk to other and older girlfriends and spouses who have been through where you're headed. Pray, talk to God and ask for his support. Journal, write all your feelings down and write words of encouragement to yourself. Then give yourself the quiet time to just listen. When you least expect it, I suspect you too will hear that little voice or feel a hand reach out to you and show you that "You can do this. You are ready. You can do this."
If something like this has happened to you, I'd love to hear about it. We all receive these gifts in unique and beautiful ways. Share in the comments below if you like.