You wake up and after a stretch and a sigh of disbelief that it’s already morning you immediately think “Oh how I wish it was Friday or even better yet Saturday. Here I go again, another day being over worked and underappreciated. Off to a job that barely pays the bills.” You’re groggy and sleepy because your significant other was snoring all night or because your 5 year old was sleeping in between you and your spouse or because the dog was jumping on and off the bed all night. Plain and Simple you just didn’t sleep well the night before. You could use an extra two or five hours.
You walk to the shower and you trip over the rug. The profanities are rolling. It is just NOT your morning. There’s no time for breakfast so you just pour a big cup of coffee to-go, because lord help you, you’re going to need it. You kiss your spouse goodbye and you’re off to the day care. The kids spill their milk in the car and you grit your teeth and think to yourself “I cannot wait until you’re 18.” You hug and kiss your babies good bye and your sprinting to your car to avoid being late, AGAIN. Right as you get off onto the interstate traffic comes to haltering stop. You slam on your breaks and you are now wearing your supersized cup of coffee. You tilt your head back, breathe deeply, close your eyes, and just sink into the puddle of coffee. You are on the verge of tears. Could today get any worse? All you can think about are all the things that have gone wrong today. How you wish today just never would have happened. How you can’t wait to get the day over with and start fresh tomorrow.
Now imagine this:
Imagine waking up in a war zone. Want to talk about not sleeping well? Try sleeping when its hundreds of degrees outside and you’re in a glorified tent. Try sleeping when you hear gun shots all around you. Try sleeping when your only good night kiss is the one you give the wallet sized picture of your family before bed. Imagine putting on layers after layers of protecting clothing, slinging a 100 pound bag and a couple of guns over your shoulder, and walking out into over 100° whether. Imagine your day starting with war. Not the metaphorical wars you have with your teenage daughter over how much make-up she can wear, but real life actual war, the kind of war that produces blood, sweat, tears, and death.
Imagine waking up thinking “I might never see my family again.” Then imagine getting up and going to work anyway without a single complaint because you know you’re fighting to keep those people in that wallet sized photo safe.
Just for one moment imagine everyday like the second scenario. Now tell me, how bad the first scenario really is? Tell me, how bad it is to wake up next to your soul mate? Tell me, how bad it is to kiss and hug your kids every day? Tell me, how bad is it to have a “safe” job to go to? Tell me, how bad is it?
My point here is to not make anyone feel bad about the path they have chosen to live or to make anyone feel guilty for not being anything short of gracious for what they have. My point is to make known what you actually have and to make known the sacrifices that our soldiers go through. The sacrifices they make so you can wake up next to your spouse and hold your kids every day.
I recently was asked to do a survey on military relationships and with it being the week of Veterans Day I thought it to be of the upmost importance. So I asked soldiers and their significant others to give me their stories. As I was reading through the messages that were sent to me I found myself in awe of all that our military men and woman and their families sacrifice.
Here are just a few of the many messages I received:
“For me personally I would have to say the constant travel and the distance when your partner can’t come with.”
“They can’t tell you everything that they saw or experienced so you wonder, ‘why are they so mad all the time?’ You want to ask questions but you don’t know what is ok to ask and what isn’t. Lots of sacrifice on both ends.”
“Every time the phone rang, especially if it was a number I didn’t know, my heart dropped. I was consumed with the thought of him never returning home. What would I do? Could I live in a world where he was gone? Am I strong enough for that?”
“My family, they keep me returning home. I can’t think about the ‘What ifs’ I just have to keep thinking of going home to them.”
“The war changed him. The day he came home was the greatest day ever, but it didn’t take me long to see that he wasn’t really here. He didn’t die, but the war still took him from me. The nightmares, the blank stares; He’s just not the same.”
“Sometimes I wish we could just touch each other.”
“She’s a hero. At war, at home, everywhere she goes. It’s not easy, but she loves what she does.”
After reading all the messages I received I couldn’t hardly keep my composure. There aren’t enough words to show my gratitude to the Men and Women who serve this country and show my sympathy for the families they leave behind.
To the men and women who have, who do, and who will serve this great country, THANK YOU!
**Thank you to everyone who contributed to this post. Thank you for the solider who gave me a brief synopsis inside the life of a solider. Thank you to everyone who submitted their messages. They were all heart felt and eye opening.