Friday, March 24, 2006

Don't They Know Where I Am?

I read a sad post linked through Mudville. As angry as he is, it really touched me. Looks like a young guy. On deployment. And his old "friends" have forgotten to call or write. He says "....I go half way across the world, and I dont even hear from you, you dont even contact me, you dont even give support to those who are close to me, like my family, or Heather. ..." "...I thought that when I left for here, Id have a great group of people back home to come too, I was sorely mistaken...."

As someone who left home two weeks after HS graduation to join the Navy and see the world...then spent 22 years doing just that, I'm gonna offer some unsolicited advice.

I can remember feeling the same way on some early deployments. "Welcome to the club. You can never go back." Sure, someday soon God willing you'll return home. You'll see all your old friends from high school. Some stayed there. Some went to college. You'll go to the places that you used go together. And you'll talk about shit. You'll have stories about what you did on the other side of the world. Interesting stories about cool shit you did and places you saw. And as you talk, at some point you'll realize that they don't have a fucking clue. They can't imagine it at all. The boredom. The excitement. The loneliness. The cameraderie. The people. The languages. The poverty. The wealth. The filth. The spotless streets. The eerie sound of the call to prayer in a strange land. They just don't know. Their world is tiny compared to yours now.

As for wives... the good ones become your rock. Your base of operations. The one you come home to after a long deployment. The one whose love gets you through it. (I can remember few things I thought sadder than the guys who got off the plane and went home to an empty apartment.) She's the one who understands (even if she really doesn't). You'll find that with life in the service there are few mediocre marriages. They either break up under the pressure, or like a diamond, are hardened and made more precious by it.

God willing, you'll learn this on your own. You're different now. You're a sheepdog That doesn't mean the sheep are lesser beings. They're just....well... sheep. Accept it. Take pride in it.


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