This morning I went to visit a Soldier in the hospital. Apparently he had just finished a PT test and was doing his cool down stretching when all he saw was gravel spinning and then he was out! I suspect that this incident might have occurred a couple of days earlier because he was scheduled to have some surgery in the next couple of days.
It’s always an honor – humbling – for me to be allowed into the lives of people who I don’t know so that I might share a moment in their lives and a prayer of reassurance and hope. One of the interesting things that happened today was the conversation that I had with the Soldier’s wife.
I can’t remember why the subject was breached in the first place other than we were speaking about this particular Soldier’s doctor who had apparently deployed to Iraq during the same time frame as this Soldier’s unit – the 278th Armored Cavalry Regiment. She spoke about a conversation she had recently with another female concerning deployment. She was trying to relate to this civilian – this person who would never know what it “felt like” – to be separated from your spouse because of a deployment.
This is as close as I can tell you to what she said:
“Imagine being in an ICU with your husband hooked up to all the IVs, lines, and monitors. And all you can do is just sit there and wait for him to “come back.” You hope that the last thing you said to him isn’t going to be the last thing you ever say but there’s absolutely nothing you can do to change the situation except wait. You’re life – the one you share with your husband – is put on hold but you’re expected to function normally through it.”
My question is: what’s normal at that point? I saw my Mom had lost a lot of weight when I came home from deployment. I don’t know what was going on in her head and heart. My wife dreads me heading out for deployments (although we have yet to experience that as a family) and schools and long drill weekends. Coming back home is always a little rough, particularly after a long period of being away. Separation affects the entire family. To say you haven’t changed after something like a deployment or a traumatic event is to say that you aren’t human. We all change. We’re all affected.
I shared this Scripture with this family today:
“In my desperation I prayed, and the Lord listened; he saved me from all my troubles. Taste and see that the Lord is good. Oh, the joys of those who take refuge in him!” – Psalm 34:6, 8
For all those who are crying out right now because of loss, the reality of what might be lost, or simply having to adjust to separation, I pray the peace of Christ to overwhelm your life. Lean on the everlasting arms of the one who has come to redeem you. Don’t be afraid to call on the name above all names!