When the word comes that this husband of mine will be needed Down Range, I take another bite. Sip another drink. Wipe another face. Rinse another dish.
And I think, this is how I’ll do it, then. I’ll just take another breath. Sing another song. Wash another load. Hold another hand. Face another day.
There used to be a romance surrounding war, gathered from who knows where. Storybooks? Films? The romance of the drama trumped the brutality of the battle in my own mind, and I was all: Longing! Grieving! Yearning! Fear! Hope! Strength! Glory! Victory! Return!
There’s still a little romance, a little thrill. We can write letters! Send angst-y, love-sick emails! Ache for one another’s arms! But the romance is very, very minuscule compared to the gnawing of emptiness, and of dread. It’s not the fear of death, or wounds, or soul-scars (which still is there, to be sure) that gets to me, but it’s the gaping length of days, the day upon day upon day of doing this thing, this parenting and holding down the fort thing, alone. It’s that thought that makes me seize up inside.
It’s knowing my physical and emotional limits, and knowing I’ll be pushed past them. It’s knowing myself. It’s knowing that when I’m tired, or hungry, or simply emotionally spent, I get that look on my face. That tone in my voice. That razory-thinness where all remaining patience resides. It’s knowing just how brittle I can become.
How brittle I don’t want to be.
Because here’s the thing.
If I have to do this, I want to do it well. I want to do it smiling, I want to do it with joy in my heart and a song on my lips, and it’s not going to be from my own strength. With the power of God, I want to make the months of deployment some of the richest, and best days of our children’s lives. With my God I am determined to mine all the diamonds from the rough, sweep up all the beauty from the ashes, garner all the wisdom from the heartache, sow rich seeds and see in all of our lives a harvest of depth, beauty, gratitude, dependence, trust. I desire to hold hands with my children and live, really live, in faith (by faith). In hope (by hope). In, and by, love.
I want our children to really know Jesus through this experience, know him in a way they couldn’t imagine before. I want to know Jesus that way, too.
And suddenly, there is comfort in the profound remembrance: this is always the goal. JESUS IS ALWAYS THE GOAL.
Always the goal, and always the prize.
This I know:
She who dwells intentionally in the Shelter of the Most High (she who sits in the Secret Places, who sets up camp with God) will find herself abiding still (having there her home) when the world has gone asunder, when her heart has nearly broken, when her strength is almost gone. In the Shadow of the Almighty she’ll wipe another tear, make another meal, teach another lesson, tickle another chin, kiss another cheek, pray another prayer, pass another day, sleep another night.