Thank you to Hope for this great guest blog!
When my husband is deployed it’s not just the big holidays where I miss him the most. It’s the little everyday things. It’s the Sunday dinners. It’s the sci-fi marathons. It’s the overflowing trash can and backed up toilet. It’s the empty space in bed. It’s the absence of an adult voice.
Deployments, TDYs, Field Trainings, Schools… none of them stop for holidays. Valentine’s Day is no exception. The army isn’t well known for making time for big romantic gestures. But if your soldier is away there are a number of reasons why you shouldn’t just ignore this holiday.
- We are in this together. Often times we forget that the spouses we interact with everyday are missing a soldier too. A small gesture, a cup of coffee, a box of chocolates, or an invitation to come veg on your couch may be just enough to life both your spirits.
- Are you strong enough? Few of us are. I’m an introvert by nature. A good book and a glass of wine are all I need to destress most days. But a good friend rejuvenates me, a meaningful conversation and someone’s time gives me the strength to keep going. I am not strong enough to thrive on my own during a deployment. I need a battle buddy for the ups and downs of military life.
- It’s really not about me. Being part of a community means that when others have needs I need to just show up and walk through life with them, good and bad. Loneliness can be felt more fully around Valentine’s Day. Why not take the opportunity to do something for your community to life the spirits of those around you? It can be as simple as hosting a dinner in your home or as big as organizing a large Valentine event. In doing so you will lift your own spirit as well.
Throughout our two deployments there have been times that I have been beyond blessed by the support of others. We have received gift cards for Christmas from people we have never met. A neighbor saw that I kept forgetting trash day when he first deployed and put my trash out for me. My mom left me asleep on her couch after I cried myself to sleep on Christmas Day and took care of the kids, best Christmas present ever. A friend and her husband surprised me by cleaning my house while I was at work. I have been beyond blessed by the military community and by the civilians in our lives. While the loneliness cannot be heled by anything other than my soldier’s homecoming, the small (and sometimes big) acts of kindness remind me that this is doable.
If you know someone who is in the midst of a deployment (even if you are too), reach out to them. Remind him or her that they are not in this alone. It will mean the world to them. I know, because it meant the world to me.
Ecclesiastes 4:9-10 says, “Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their work: If one falls down, his friend can help him up. But pity the man who falls and has no one to help him up!”
Hope, author of Finding Joy: The Year Apart That Made Me A Better Wife, is a military spouse and the mother of three children. She has an MABS from Dallas Theological Seminary and often writes about faith, military life, and her family. You can read more from Hope at www.HopeNGriffin.com