I lost my ID today.
I don't know what else could have happened except that. When I went through the gate I put it on my lap. I even thought to myself that I needed to put it back in my wallet before I misplaced it.
I don't know if it fell from my lap and blew away in the Colorado wind while I did so many other things that had nothing to do with this small plastic card. But it was no where in my purse, no where in my car, not under the rugs, not in between the seats, not shoved between some other debit cards or my license, or what-not.
It was quite simply gone.
In reality, replacing it was quite simple and rather painless - an annoyance, really, but that is my own fault. I have always feared losing this little piece of my identity. A few times before I thought I had - only to find it in the laundry, or the back pocket of my jeans, or underneath the wrong slot in my wallet. You know that relief you feel when you find it - the deep breath you take when you clutch the card to your chest. I kept waiting for that today but I knew it wouldn't come.
"What can we do for you today?" the gentleman at the DEERS check-in counter asked. C stood beside me with his arms folded across his chest, leaning against the wall, out of the view of the clerk.
"Well, I'm a fool who lost her ID." The man behind the desk laughed.
"That's not a problem." he smiled, "Do you have your power-of-attorney and your license?" I looked over at C and he leaned over.
"I have my sponsor." I smiled.
"Well good! That makes it easier," he responded.
I had told C that one time in four years wasn't that bad. He looked at me and spouted, "Never once in thirteen." Well, good for you. : )
After the long - but not ridiculous - wait at Deers ( delayed by a necessary drive to the provost marshal, first), I looked at my new ID card (Why don't they let you keep your first picture?) and took in the changes. What were these new numbers? Why were a couple blocks left blank? Had the DoD finally figured out the danger of all of that info? When my original was issued, I swear, it was a identity-thief's dream. His full name, social, my full name, social, date-of-birth, eye color, hair color, weight, height, marital status, how I like my eggs. This card carried my life - or at least whatever you needed to fill out an application for credit by mail.
On top of it, it dictates what we can and can't do. It determines whether we exist in the military world or the civilian. It allows us rights, privileges, to enter into certain areas, to drive on certain roads, to pay certain prices. It allows me to bring my children to hourly care from time to time. It proves that I belong here. It is what stands between me and getting to my physical home. And I lost mine in the best possible time - on a weekday, within normal business hours, on post, with my husband home, at a CONUS location.
Phew, was I lucky. Hold onto that card, and always put it right back in its place, right away. Always. No matter what.
(And ladies, if your husband is about to deploy, or go on TDY, or leave the area for an extended period of time, you NEED a 'DEERS-specific-power-of-attorney" in case this happens. That is a MUST HAVE. They will not take (or are not supposed to take) a general power of attorney for these situations. Your service-member does this through JAG.)
"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.