Many of us, at one point in our lives, face unexpected challenges of life-changing, epiphany-providing, mindset-altering nature.  I think it is safe to say that I have been living through one these for the past few/several months.  The challenge reached a much-anticipated stage when Ben left for OCS about a month ago.  The military life has begun to permeate each of our lives in very different ways.  Albeit a month is relatively brief in the span of a life, much has happened.  Throughout it, I’ve experienced a strength and peace restored to me that is beyond what I expected.  We know not our strength until it is tested.

I’ve been mulling over a conversation I had last weekend for a while now.  A woman who has survived (and arguably, is still surviving) one of these significant, transformative events shared with me of how the experience affected her, particularly with regards to her relationships.  She suggested to me that people fall in one of three categories: (1) those friends that remain sort-of friends; they avoid any and all conversations about the “issue” you are dealing with, perhaps fading into the background until the “issue” is resolved; (2) those friends that come along side you only while you are facing said “issue” and disappear after some sort of resolution occurs; and (3) those who are tried and true; the steadfast supportive friends that we all hope to have (and that I hope to be).  Of course, we wish to have a good number of #3s in our life.  Who wouldn’t? 

In the week or so that has passed since our conversation, I’ve recognized times when I subconsciously associate people with these categories.  I had been noticing evidence of this phenomenon prior to our conversation, but perhaps now I feel validated and affirmed enough to articulate it (I have at least one person that agrees with me!).  Thankfully, I am privileged to have some #3s in my life; and I know that is a reason why I have been able to survive this time so well.  I am so appreciative for those who have witnessed this time with me.  My life has been enriched and blessed by those of you who have listened, offered insight/advice/funny anecdotes, provided hugs, taken me in on lonely days, and those who periodically check in on me to make sure I don’t become the hermit we all know I’m capable of becoming.  Thank you.  Ya’ll know who you are.  You add so much joy and beauty to my life.

There have been lonely nights.  There have been moments when I want to crawl into a hole until Ben’s graduation day.  This is definitely not an easy or glamorous way of life.  I’ve learned how to cope.  I’ve rediscovered a bit of myself that had been hiding for awhile.  My letter-writing habit is keeping the U.S. Postal Service in business.  I’m trusting that this will all be for the good in the end.  I guess I think he’s worth it.  Oh yes, I do…especially once he’s in that uniform.

the redeeming moment of "an officer and a gentleman".


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