"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.

Monday, April 11, 2011

One Percent

"So when he is home this next time, he's home for good." Its rarely a question - usually more of a statement. Like they understand, they get it. Or think they do.

"Yes ... well ... until the next one," I answer.

"He is going again? But he isn't even home yet."  (The usual response).

"One more. We know at least one more," I say for the umpteenth time.

"That can't be true. Aren't they all supposed to be out by 2011 ... 2012... 2013. He won't go. Don't worry about it." They usually nod their head confirming to themselves that they are right.

"No, we know the timeframe. He will be going again," again, for the umpteenth time.

"That can't be right. 'They' said ... " ("Who is 'they'?" I always ask in my head).

Yet again the same conversation. "Aren't they supposed to be out by (insert year here)?" And it never ceases to amaze me how people will argue with a soldier or a spouse about whether or not they will deploy again. You would think they would realize we might have a little better of an idea. I have stopped saying anything mostly or else the conversation goes more like this:

"He is going again? But he isn't even home yet."

"One more. We already know."

"That can't be true ... " 

"Ya-da-ya-da," I think until they assure me I must be wrong. "Well, we'll see," I usually shrug my shoulders. It's easier to let them think they are right.

We have the timeframe. We know at least one more. 

And I will consider ourselves incredibly fortunate. It will be only three twelve-month deployments in almost 9 years. For an Infantry family - we are so very fortunate. And like most active-duty families, we know the about time-frame for the next one before they even have boots on the ground from this one. 

This is our life.

"I thought they only had to do like two and then they were done. Right?"

I just laugh now when I hear it. Is that how I used to think?

I heard today that roughly one percent of the population has defended this entire nation for the past ten years. That one percent doesn't include the families that have also been worn by this battle. 

One percent.

At first it made this weight feel so heavy - back-breaking. 

One percent.

And then I thought how incredible. To be one of the few - to love one of the few. To be part of this great sacrifice for something far bigger than any of us. One percentage of people who have been given a strength that carries a nation, that ensures the future of the other ninety-nine.

To be part of this community of spouses that inspires and empowers and ensures that our soldiers are able to continue the work this one percent requires. To be strengthened by it, to be given the opportunity to thrive in it.

One more. At least one more. 

We can do that.

You can do that.

You are surrounded by the strength of that one percent.

"It's not the load that breaks you down. It's the way you carry it." - Lena Horne


  1. People have good intentions but they certainly don't get it. I always get "So how long until he can get out?" Somehow they think this is expressing sympathy towards me but I find it kind of offensive. We aren't imprisoned in this lifestyle just waiting until he can get out. It's a choice. I try to explain that his contract ends in a couple years but he will probably sign until he hits 20 years. I get confused looks.

  2. Two thoughts: First, of all the things people say that get my blood boiling, this was the worst. The best I could say was, "As long as we are at war, he will deploy". "then he's home 'for good' " I always laughed at 'for good', because my 'for good' is only about a year.

    Second, my dad has always told me when I get riled up about people's ignorance to be grateful. "The stability of one's country can be judged by how much it's citizens know about their military". Its a blessing to be in a country where people feel so safe that they don't have to think about how its being provided. Sure, I wish more people would be sensitive or knowledgeable but we're not in a country that is military run or CONSTANTLY under attack. So, I guess my frustrations are a rich man's problem.

  3. Dr. AW, I get that one all the time too. They usually give me a VERY sympathetic and then confused look when I explain that he is career and what that means.

    Sara, Your dad sounds like he could calm me down at times. You know how riled up I can get! What a great perspective. It really got the wheels turning ... thanks for sharing it!

  4. Yeah, when you say, "He is a career man," people give two different responses. Some are thankful, some get rather confused.

    But, that is ok. God put the desire to be a soldier in my husband's heart. I trust that it is for a reason. Others don't get it because they can't...and our guys protect their right to NOT understand...ya know
    Praying for your family.

  5. Yup... it will always be at least one more. The day I picked John up from our homecoming ceremony... on the ride home I told him I was tired of these deployments. And those were his exact words. I've got at least one more coming babe. And guess what? We just found out the new unit he's going to in Germany is heading out next May. So I get one year with him again. we have been "Year on year off" for a while now and its looking like that will continue until he's out.

  6. Very True, Queen!

    Paige, my heart goes out to you. I can only imagine how hard that is. Like I said, we have been incredibly fortunate to not have that be our story. Stay strong, Paige. You are always in my prayers!

  7. I often get why your husband decide to join at 27?? I then have to go into the whole story. I have often wonder why people have to ask instead understanding the need to be a part of something greater then you.
    Thanks for sharing, I enjoy reading this post today!

  8. I love this. Not the "deploying again", (or the stupid questions that come surrounding that, and surrounding your validity as a spouse or soldier, especially when compared to what they hear on the "news")-- but "the One Percent protects the other Ninety-Nine". That is truly amazing, and TRULY something to be proud of!!!!!!!


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