Please Bring Peace as Soon as You Can. Amen.
For instance, before I turned 50, I never gave much thought to when or how I would experience the end of my life. Now I find that there are days when I suffer the panic of thinking, “What if I only have 25 more years or 30?” The other day I watched it snow and found myself thinking that all those snowflakes were days of my life that had passed and I had the distinct urge to reach out and stuff the snowflakes back up into the sky.
I have come to realize that these days the events in other people’s lives affects the perspective I have in my own life. I find the view of things in their true relationship or importance gets harder to see the older I get and the older our children get. Each year I try and reflect on the year just passed -- to look at the good and the bad of the year, the sweet and the bitter. Last year, as the New Year was about to turn, I reflected on the Old Year and all of its blessings. This year I wanted to write something wise… meaningful about the year ready to pass, but I find that I am too distracted by the future and the events that will unfold.
Yes, 2006 had many blessings: DH and I are happy, healthy and content. The oldest son “J” married and we are blessed with a new daughter “G” and her two daughters (that would be A1 and A2) -- now our granddaughters. We giggle right along with them when they call us Grandma C and Grandpa J. And while this son had a number of “surge” deployments (Navy speak for “get packed -- you’re sailing”), he arrived back safe and sound on our hallowed shores each time. He has extended his Navy contract: now beginning his 10th year of service to the people of the United States.
Noah had his ups and downs this year. He continues to be plagued by residual aches and pains in his neck and back; his ears still ring with church bells now and again and he has only recovered a portion of the hearing he lost in the big VBIED attack (that would be the one that sent him to Landstuhl and home.) He also received intensive treatment (finally!) for his severe PTSD and seems to be doing better (but that’s a very long road). He stunned us all when he married a new love rather soon after meeting her this past autumn (that would be new daughter “M”), but we have grown accustomed to the idea of the youngest son being married. We observed their commitment to one another during their extended Christmas visit with us and they and we are very hopeful for a long and happy future. Of course, they had one more Christmas gift for us: a grandchild will arrive late summer 2007!! Sooner than they had planned, but cheerful news nonetheless!
While I try to conjure philosophical tidbits and reflections on the outgoing year, I find that I am more consumed with the approaching year and this robs me of perspective. Not only are we filled with the anticipation of the new baby, we are also teeming with anxiety and apprehension for our military children: another deployment announced for Noah’s Army division and the call for moving naval assets to the Middle East. I spend more time than I should worrying about the next deployment which, of course, is driven and made unnerving by all the worry and sorrow of the last one. We (sorta, kinda) know the time frame for the 2007 deployment (ok, would that be OIF5? Are they still giving them numbers? I’ve lost track… and if I’VE lost track, imagine the average American who either can’t or won’t follow the War!) Every time I hear the pundits talking about the possibility of increasing the number of troops to Iraq, my worry is heightened that they might accelerate this next deployment. I am not ready… I will never be ready.
Already there is an aura of melancholy knowing that it is unlikely that Noah will witness the miracle of his child’s birth; it makes me mawkish just remembering the joy of holding my children when they were born while acknowledging that Noah may have to wait months to hold his child. I am troubled that his young wife will be expected to go through the most joyful moment of her life without the man with whom she shares her life. I know that this is a sacrifice made by many of our fighting men and their families ‑‑ and I have always found it sad -- but in this case the pain clutches me and I hurt for these children of ours. While that is my perspective, M (who is a former soldier) and Noah accept this as part of their life in the military. Of course, they hope Noah can be there, but are uncomplaining if he cannot.
In an effort to better myself, in the New Year I will attempt to overcome other people’s WDS: War Derangement Syndrome. It’s a subset of Bush Derangement Syndrome and is companion to DvRS: (Dems v. Repubs Syndrome) and LvCS (Liberal v. Conservative Syndrome)… and the ever-oppressive MSMS (Mainstream Media Syndrome -- also known as “TSIFD: the sky is falling disorder”.) I’m tired of the anti-everything reporting. I’m worn-out by the reporting of opinion as fact (not to mention the unreliability of the actual reporting itself.) Being assailed simply for my view on one topic drains me. Any topic. Are there not pro-choice conservatives or anti-choice liberals? Are there not pro‑victory Democrats? People who insist that everything has to be somebody’s fault exhaust me. I’m weary of conversations and news coverage that begin with, “The _________ (President, Democrats, Republicans, Sunnis, Shiites, Kurds, Liberals, Conservatives… pick one), followed by anything derogatory, negative, judgmental or that indicates absolute conflict. Just tell me what the news is and I'll decide if it’s bad or good news and if it’s anyone’s fault.
Yes, there are divergent views -- but how did it get so far down in the gutter?? In the New Year I will tune out any statement that begins in such a manner. I will change the television or radio station or click off the blog sites that insist we need to be divided as a nation. I will refuse to patronize or engage those who attack people simply because they do not hold the same opinion. I will write to elected officials who engage in attack rather than debate. I’m sick of it I tell you. Heaven knows there is enough real fighting going on in the world without finding things that we don’t agree on to separate us. We all need to make a little more effort to find those things we have in common... or at least stop short of mistreating others because they don’t agree with you.
On a happier note, in the New Year I will continue
to cherish my dear family; to honor those that have raised their hand and said, “This I'll defend” and who do it at great sacrifice to themselves and their families;
to thank police, firefighters and emergency personnel who put it on the line for my family and me every day;
to treasure my friends new and old.
And I pledge to remind my legislators -- federal, state and local -- every time I get the chance to do the right thing and to return civility, cooperation and ethics to the governmental and legislative processes. I know it’s a tall order, but we have to start somewhere.
This New Year I wish good health; boundless joy; good fortunes; and limitless, unconditional love for my family and my friends (that includes you!)
And Peace. I wish for Peace everywhere. This year, more than ever, my heart, mind and soul yearn for Peace. So please join in my prayer, “Dear [God] [or whatever name you may call Him], Please bring Peace to our world as soon as you can. Amen.”