These Are My People {and when you don’t want to let them go}

 

Take-comfort-by-Holley-Gerth-e1399003276493

http://holleygerth.com/free-words

We did life together for almost three years. We walked each other through three deployments, and babysat and fed each other’s children when we got sick.

She loved me through four miscarriages, and was there when my husband couldn’t be.

We talked each other through the unknown hours during that night mortars were raining down on our husband’s base over there.

We saw when the other was teetering on the edge with the weight of this military life, and we  pulled each other back to safe ground.

And then it all changed.

We received orders to Italy, and they received orders to stay put. And all of a sudden she stopped returning my calls. I would see her in the parent pick up line and she would walk the other way. Invitations to family cook-outs and girl’s night out went unanswered.

And it hurt!!!

After cornering her at a basketball game, it finally poured out of her. The deep hurt and pain she felt in my leaving, she thought it less painful to say goodbye now, like ripping a band-aid from a deep wound.

Twelve years later I sit at a table full of women who I have grown so very fond of. And I am amazed at the richness of relationships found here. Because I recall my reluctance to leave our last duty station and those friendships formed there. I remember the extent of my exhaustion upon our arrival here and the daunting task of making new friends.

See, half a world away, I had just left some of the deepest friendships and soul sisters I had ever had. And I didn’t think I could do it again.

But as I sat around that Cracker Barrel table, I was reminded that these are my people.

Military spouses!

Women who have walked the path I am on. Women who know what it is like to give birth while your husband is at sea; women who know what it’s like to be torn from a place you love; women who understand the trauma of making and then leaving good friends.

I am most at ease with these women because with every story and hardship, one of them can say, “I’ve been there.”

And you feel not quite so alone. They offer you hope, that if they made it through then you can too.

And I am so grateful these women chose to open their hearts and lives to the possibility of friendship. Because we all understand one of us will be leaving soon. Yet each woman around that table invested and took that bold step to potentially make a friend for life, with full knowledge of the hurt that happens when friends leave.

We can tire and we can hide. We can nurse our pain and miss our besties. But in the end, we must get back out there and invite that new neighbor over for a cup of tea. We must join that bible study or mom’s group. We must connect with that friend of a friend over coffee.

Because we just might find a friendship sweeter than all the rest.

strawberries

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9 thoughts on “These Are My People {and when you don’t want to let them go}

  1. I don’t know how you military spouse do it – but you’re brave and courageous, serving your family and our country this way. This post? I can relate to some of it even though I know so very little about the military. Friendship pains can be deep; I know because I have some scars of my own. But, you’re right, we have to keep going wherever we are.

    • Thanks Kristin. I know military spouses are not the only ones who experience loss (and great reward) in friendship. It is a universal experience I think. But if we close ourselves off, there is a very real possibility that we will miss out on some of the richest friendships!!!!

  2. Such beautiful encouragment, Lori. While I haven’t had to endure the many moves I have learned how much I need other military spouses in my life because as much as others try to understand the trials that come with military life, they simply cannot. Like the two spouses I sent a text to the other day who completely go it when I said, “I thought summer months would be easier.” Thank you for the way you share your heart . . . it will truly bring encouragment to many others. So grateful to know you. And I hope to one day meet you in person. {Hugs}

    • Thank you Beth. Military spouses can be some of the most encouraging people when you are struggling through the trials of this military life. Praying for you during this deployment!!!

  3. This was a powerful post, Lori. I am a military (Navy) child (or brat as they used to call us!). My mother was the one like you who could reach out and make friends wherever we were stationed. She cared for other children when a mom just needed a break. She kept friends for all of her years. She just died a year and a half ago at 98 years old. She loved the Navy and was grateful to have the support of other women too. Mama was a military widow since 1960 losing her precious Ralph after just 20 years of marriage to a cancer that is now named in the types that radiation can cause. My dad was a part of the after-WWII Manhattan Project and was exposed to radiation many a time. I am proud to be a Navy child and show my appreciation to those I can identify as military by handing them a Wreaths Across America thank you card and telling them “Thank you for your service.”
    Thanks for your service for you spouses do serve this nation in more ways than you know. I am proud of you each and thank you too.
    Caring through Christ, ~ linda

    • Thank you so much Linda. Wow, what an amazing story of your mom’s life as a military wife. Thank you for sharing her story!!! I loved hearing about your “Wreaths Across America” card….thank you for doing that. I know everyone that receives one surely appreciates it!!!

  4. Can I have a tissue please? I DON’T want to get out there and do it again 😦 I just want to become a hermit. Maybe I should read your post a few more times 😉

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