My husband is very good at his job. He has always been the type to get things done and then move on. But my husband is also a stickler for the rules. Goodness I cannot tell you how much that can get to me at times. While other soldiers may tell their spouses things they should not share mine keeps his lips tightly closed and often keeps me in the dark. And I understand that he believes that he should always lead by example, practice what you preach, and I love that about him - but goodness does it drive me insane at times. My husband has always been this way and I know I should be used to it by now but I don't know if that is something that anyone really gets used to. We have gone through one of those "in the dark" times recently. I know something is happening and I only know that because I know my husband and I know the way he is when he tries not to say something. And I cannot explain in an adequate way how much this gets under my skin. I do NOT like to not know things. I hate to not feel like I have control. I know, seriously, this is how it is. To all you well-seasoned military spouses out there, I know I need to let go of the reins and give up the struggle. Ok, NO, I need to stop pretending that the reins were ever in my hands. I get it, really, I do. We don't get to be in control, we don't get to have all the info (and sometimes any info), we do not get to command the mission. I get it - but I can't seem to give up the fight.
Only once has my husband ever bent the rules - and that is pushing it. Because he managed to bend the rules in a way that really wasn't even bending them. Maybe he stretched them slightly - but I don't even think it was a husband to wife thing. It was more of a rear-d commander doing what he could to help a spouse that he had great respect for.
He had been called into work in the early, early morning. I had gotten used to those phone calls - as horrible as that was. It wasn't exactly getting used to the phone calls that meant that someone had been hurt or worse. That was still painful - the feeling of knowing that my husband was letting someone know something they never wanted to know always shook me in the most horrible way. That sadness never ceases. But I had finally learned how to go back to sleep when the phone calls came. Mainly because I had experienced so much of it. I knew how emotionally exhausting the days that followed were for my husband - for our family - and I knew that I would need my sleep. Understanding how important my sleep was I had taken to turning my cell phone on silent at night. If there was an emergency - the people that would need to get me knew my house number.
The sun had not come up yet when I woke confused. The house phone was ringing and it took me a few rings to process. The machine picked up and there was a click. Then the phone began ringing again. I rolled to his side of the bed and felt over the nightstand with my hand - still not opening my eyes. Finally my fingers found the phone. "Hello?" I whispered.
"Turn your cell phone on."
"Um, ok? Everything okay?" Dumb question.
"Robin is going to call." I sat straight up. Everything processed at once. He had been called in during the night, the sun was barely starting to show signs of the day beginning, and I needed to turn on my phone. What had happened to Robin's husband?
"Oh no. Is he ... ?" I couldn't say it.
"No, he isn't. Just turn on your phone. She wants to talk to you. I have to go."
I had known Robin longer than I had known a-n-y-o-n-e else at this post. I don't think you could take two people who really were like oil and water and make them somehow go together. She means a lot to my husband and I. She was going to be calling and I didn't know what had happened. Before I could think any longer on it, my cellphone lit up. I hadn't even turned the ringer on yet.
"Hello," It wasn't a question but a statement.
"Meg?" She didn't say anything else.
I took a deep breath, swallowed hard and answered. "Robin. I'm here."
There are moments when the rules are best bent. This was one of those times and my husband recognized it. I don't even think they were bent but it is the closest he has ever come to doing so and he did so at the request of the spouse. And I know that that is just one of the things that makes my husband a good man, a good leader, and a good soldier. He feels for his soldiers, for their families, for his family. And I know that the reasons I cannot know things at times are good reasons. I know that if he could tell me, if he thought it right to tell me, I would know - one way or another. And no matter how often I tell myself that it doesn't get less frustrating. It doesn't make me any more sane. Maybe it provides a little acceptance. Acceptance that this is just a part of it. That keeping such information is part of something greater than me. That keeping such information in no way means that he loves me any less, in no way means that he doesn't trust me, in no way means that he loves this country more than he loves me. He will not tell me things because the rights of his family are what he protects most.
No, he does not love this country anymore than he loves his family. He loves this country as much as he loves me. Because we are one in the same. To a soldier, this country is not just a plot of earth. Not even just the rights that were fought for. This country is of the people, by the people, for the people. We are that "of", "by", and "for" that they protect. We the people, we their hearts, we their lives. He does not love this country more than he can love his wife, his children, his family - he loves this country the same. Because I am what he sees this country to be, I am what he fights for. Our children are the rights he is willing to give his life to protect. Our children are the tomorrows he carries in his hands and guarantees for us to hold in ours. I am in the dark but it is not without that acceptance. It is not without the understanding that my darkness is just one more link in the armor of this great, great nation.
He may keep me in the dark, knowing my frustration, knowing my annoyance, but in every mission, in every assignment, in every unshared task he holds with him the promise of the coming light.
"A soldier doesn't fight because he hates what is in front of him. A soldier fights because he loves what he left behind." - unknown
"God is our refuge and strength. He will protect us and make us strong" (ps 46:1). For those who will fly today, for those who are there now, and for those who will soon join the fight, Lord, shield them from all evil, strengthen their hearts, and bring them home safely.