Over a month down. You’d think that this would mean that I am now fully adjusted and getting used to deployment. But the truth is that it only just hit me. Very suddenly too and with a vengeance. For a month, I was fine. Honest. Just plugging along, doing the next thing, and missing my husband in a very temporary and “short term” kind of way. The way you miss your friend who’s gone out of state or the way you miss your family at college as you wait to see them again between Thanksgiving and Christmas breaks. Perhaps it was watching one of my dearest friends get married. Perhaps it was seeing how my daughter grows so quickly before my eyes. Perhaps it was even hearing from my husband for the first time after having not heard from him in almost two weeks. Whatever it was, I very suddenly realised just how far away my sailor is and the loneliness hit me like a ton of bricks.
Anyone who knows me well knows that I’m an emotional person, but I also tend to bottle up my feelings. I don’t often cry when I’m sad. I rationalise and compartmentalise hardship, putting off dealing with my feelings for as long as possible. For one whole month, this is how I dealt with deployment. But then at 5am on July 10th, my very carefully crafted calm cracked.
Okay, scratch that. It didn’t crack. It shattered. Suddenly I found myself shaking with sobs and clutching my pillow like a life raft. A part of me wondered if I was having a panic attack, but no… No, there was no anxiety. I just really missed my husband. He’s so far away. My best friend, my beloved!
Now because I’m a sinner, my reaction when I got up for breakfast the next morning was one of anger. Not anger at my husband, as I’m very proud of him and absolutely support his dreams. No, I was angry at literally everybody else. Here I was, surrounded by family and feeling more alone than I had ever felt in my entire life. A hint of resentment bubbled up within me as I watched my parents flirt with each other over coffee. They had never had to be separated to the extent that my husband and I are separated. They can’t comfort me.
And then of course God spoke to me in the shower. “Be still and know that I am God.” (Psalm 46:10)
“But Lord, that’s not helpful. I KNOW that You’re God! That doesn’t make me feel less lonely.”
“I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” (Matthew 28:20)
“Okay, that’s fair. But I’m still lonely and I guess a little afraid?”
“Do not be afraid.” (Literally everywhere in the Bible.)
“That’s easier said than done! I’m tired, this is hard.”
“Thus Sarah obeyed Abraham, calling him lord, and you have become her children if you do what is right without being frightened by any fear. (1 Peter 3:6) And not only this, but we exult in our tribulations, knowing that tribulation brings about perseverance; and perseverance, proven character; and proven character, hope; and hope does not disappoint because the love of God has been poured out within our hearts through the Holy Spirit who was given to us. (Romans 5:3-5)”
An example of faith? A reminder that trials are for my good? And a reminder that I’ve got the Holy Spirit with me and therefore am not alone? Okay, God wins.
I may be missing my husband, but I am not alone. I may be a little bit nervous about this adventure my husband is bringing me on, but imagine how nervous Sarah was when Abraham said, “Honey, sell the house! We’re moving! Where? Oh I don’t know, God just said go. Who is God? I don’t know, He just told me to do it and I believe Him.” At least following my husband right now means living with my family in the security of their home!
As a new Navy wife, I respect the women who have done this countless times. This job is so much easier when it consists of cleaning uniforms and acting as a sounding board for your officer. I actually miss bringing his whites to the dry cleaner at the last minute! I miss his boots being left everywhere in the house! Heck, I even miss the obnoxious alarms and backup alarms that would go off at 4 in the morning for work! And I miss so many things about him that are unrelated to the Navy. I’m staying up late watching The Office, which I have now seen about six times, because it’s one of his favourite shows and reminds me of him. I’m listening to the Pirates of the Caribbean score every night as I go to sleep because it’s what he listens to whenever something important in his life happens. And I’m sure I annoy my family and friends by constantly talking about him.
This first deployment is harder than I anticipated, but God is being so faithful to me. He gave me my family, a loving bunch who makes me feel welcome whether I’m sitting in the living room with them or keeping myself to the quiet of my room. He gave me a beautiful daughter who looks so much like her daddy and keeps me busy from day to day. And most importantly, He gave me His word and His Holy Spirit to dwell within me and keep me close to His heart.
I am never alone. And I’ve got one month of deployment down. I can handle the rest.