“Gr! I hate when they say that, Elizabeth! ‘Come home soon!’ Like the guys have any control over that! You know what I mean?” Before I could even glance down to my 20 month old, she responded emphatically,
Best. Battle buddy. Ever.
We want it to end. We do our utmost best to make the uncomfortable, the painful, the drudgery end. And it’s awful when we realize that we have no control. Instead, we are left with a clear choice: whine and be miserable, or keep walking forward with each painful step. It can only be compared to walking in the desert–we bemoan our fate, or we move closer to that unseen but undeniable end.
Recently, I have walked through two deserts of my own. Silent but miserable, I trudged forward, doing what I could to ease the suffering but knowing that ultimately I could not avoid it. I had to finish the journey through the wasteland. No one knew the intimate darkness that surrounded me. I realized very quickly that there was no answer to quickly end it. I had to give all to Him and just move forward on faith.
I finally found some semblance of peace and relief to my little Crosses.
But, it made me realize I am powerless. While these little splinters were resulting from the deployment, and fairly short-lived, I could do nothing to make them end. The same goes with this year separated from my Soldier.
I can whine, be miserable, complain. Much like our biblical ancestors, I can question what in the world God was thinking when He gave me this suffering, took my husband from me to a dangerous place. I can complain there is no relief, no water, no end in sight. And, sadly, I have had a few days like this.
Or, I can trudge forward. Through the light days, when joy and peace abound, and through the days when it’s tough to get out of bed. I can find grace in the suffering, joy despite the dark, happiness in knowing it’s temporary. I may not know exactly when he’ll be home, but I move forward all the same. Because he will be home. God will get us through. And we’ll be out of the desert and in our little promised land.
So, now I focus on cultivating and maintaining an attitude of fortitude and patience. Maintaining now not only a joyful countenance, but also a joyful heart. After all, a smile means nothing if there is no true happiness behind it. Despite the dark days, there will be happy days. Despite the lengthy time we still have, the days are moving forward towards Homecoming. And even though this life gets weary and hard, I still have this life. With my daughter, my husband, and our unborn child.
Lord, help me to continue building a positive attitude that, ultimately sees You at the end. Because without You, we have nothing.