After our service members deploy, the initial emptiness of our home can seem almost loud in its presence. Even if kids are climbing up the walls or dogs are howling for a walk, the absence of our plus-one might feel like it’s shouting itself from his or her place at the table, spot on the couch and now-cool side of the bed.
Some of us will take a day or two to stew in the emptiness while others will immediately drown it out with a flurry of activity. Whatever our coping mechanism is at the outset, the majority of us will reach a point during deployment when we are in an undeniable funk.
However we might describe that stage of weariness, sometimes inspirational words are enough to rejuvenate our spirits. The next time deployment has you bogged down, take a moment to ponder these famous words, harness their motivation and let them propel you as far as they can.
1. When it feels like the weight of the world is on your shoulders…
“Make up your mind that no matter what comes your way, no matter how difficult, no matter how unfair, you will do more than simply survive. You will thrive in spite of it.” – Joel Osteen
Many of us have buried our faces in our pillows or slid our backs down against the walls, wondering how we can get through another day. The load of managing the home, caring for children, handling emergencies, performing at work and coping with anxieties and stress can lead us down a path of self-doubt toward surrender. But, contemplating the words of renowned pastor
Joel Osteen might direct us down a more hopeful path toward empowerment. When we give into the pressure, we merely survive, allowing it to capture us in a state of insecurity. But, when we resolve to push through it despite the hardship, we realize our strength and our ability to thrive during one of the greatest challenges we’ll ever face.
2. When the distance feels too great…
“Once the realization is accepted that even between the closest human beings infinite distances continue, a wonderful living side by side can grow, if they succeed in loving the distance between them which makes it possible for each to see the other whole against the sky.” – Rainer Maria Rilke
There’s nothing like a little Rilke to get you through a heartsick moment, and here he captures what I think is the essence of the longing we military spouses feel during deployment. I’ve often felt like deployment asks spouses to live parallel lives; it’s a strange space, where spouses exist in decidedly separate spaces, going through unshared experiences and evolving in different ways. When combined with the simple but painful feeling of truly missing someone, the separateness can make us feel quite lonely.
But what if we look at it in a different way? What if, as Rilke suggests, we look at the distance as the fulfillment of a life’s mission? Recognizing that deployment is part of a calling that our service members heed can empower us to love them even more strongly. And so, while it hurts to miss them, perhaps we can channel that into expressing our love all the more fiercely, letting them know that we see them “whole against the sky.” In giving them this profound form of love, we might just end up filling our own hearts with immeasurable happiness in the process.