Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Welcome Back, Peace Of Mind

When I’m not posting here, it’s one of two reasons:
Swamped…or I don’t want to be dithering on and on again.

The news last Monday of the helicopters that crashed in Afghanistan took a lot out of me, writing-wise, for a little while. I had been driving back home late the night before, and I was thinking about Zach.

It’s true that moments of worry hit me, despite my general determination that worry is of no use, and that he is likely to be fine. I have my ways of dealing with them so that they pass.

But this mood was a little different. Something felt wrong. I worried that my instincts were in active mode. I remember thinking to myself “am I going to have to write AGAIN, ANOTHER post, about fear?”

And I remember thinking to myself how stupid I must look sometimes, always focusing on “WHAT IF” drama, worrying unnecessarily. They’re safe, I told myself. You don’t have to keep doing this to yourself.

Kathy Wilt woke me up to tell me about what was on the news. We agreed to start trying to find out whatever we could.

Here is how human nature works.

Our concern…or is it our fear?...spreads out like a ripple from our core.
It must be some kind of instinct, some drive to survive. Because the first thought is Let it not be mine who is hurt.

And then with a little hope, your heart has a little generosity, and it says let it not be ours that got hurt.

And the awful thing is that the whole time you are hoping and praying it’s not your loved one especially, and then not his friends, and then not his squadron…

You know it’s somebody.
It’s an awful truth that can’t be made better.

In addition to the worry about who it was last Monday, and the worry about Zach, about Scott, their squadron, and whoever it was that would bear it,

there was a weird little sense of vindication in me. Of, see…you were right to worry.

I was going to write this last Tuesday. But I’m glad I waited a week.
Because now I know who that voice was, saying that.

Hello, again, Fear.

Fear is almost an embodiment to me. I can talk to it when I’m not afraid. I give it a name so folks know who/what it is I’m talking about. Some might say hello, Satan…there you are again. Or maybe hello, Mara the Tempter.

I believe that fear is the root of all evil. So I just call it the simple name. easier to understand. Harder to misinterpret.

As I write this, Amelia Buttercup, my little cat, is curled up in my lap. Amelia Buttercup is the antithesis of evil. She is the most loving little creature. Love comforts us and makes us strong.

Of all the animals I have known across the years, Amelia Buttercup is unique in how dearly she loves. I wrote a children’s book about her, and I am hoping to get an agent for it soon.

In fact, what I really want is for Candlewick Press to publish it. They do many of the finest children’s classics, and I want the stories about her to reach a lot
of children. Her love can go even farther that way.

So if you know somebody at Candlewick Press, please let me know.

Know why I’m talking about that here? Me neither. But I think it’s just another way of me saying to fear, hey, buddy…wait your turn. You’re not that important to me.

Back to last Monday. Anyway, this little voice was saying, see! See! You SHOULD worry!

And last week, I believed it.

Fear almost got me roped in again.

But I’m back! Because not too many moments ago, I finally translated what it was saying to me, and here it is, unpackaged by the moment.

Translation: you should live your life in anticipation of bad things happening. You should always be on guard, expecting it.

Oh, Hell, no.

Read that sentence again. Literally. Oh, Hell…no, I am not going to give in to your temptations.

When we talked to Zach after the news, he said, with tremendous frustration in his voice, “I don’t know how those two helicopters could have collided. I just don’t understand it.” He knows the formations they fly, and the precautions.

So I am back to not fearing.

Now: I promised myself that I would be completely honest in writing this blog, unless it compromised the security of the men and women working over there.

Here’s a truth.

Zach’s helicopter was involved in a crash landing a few weeks ago. But good training kicked in, everyone stayed calm, and they landed safely in a textbook demonstration of handling that particular incident. Helicopter repaired, they flew home.

I don’t feel ready to put anything more than that in here just yet.

I don’t think Zach and I have the same views on how Afghanistan should be handled right now. He is over there right in it regularly, and I have the luxury of the mile-high view. I have to completely respect his opinions, while keeping working on my own.

All I know is that he loves the packages we all (you all!) have been sending. Little gifts of healthy food have mattered a lot. I think little things to distract them and give them humor have helped.

There are so many thoughts. The timeline of when they come back is fuzzy to me. I feel bad for National Guard soldiers, who go for a far longer timeline. The desire for all of them to come back safe regularly fills our thoughts.

And the mom advice. My emails seem to hardly ever get through, but I want to say to him if you have an approaching date, it will chafe at you as it gets closer. Don’t look at the whole thing that needs to be done or it gets harder. When you are climbing a mountain, do not look at the whole rise above you, or it will defeat you. Look at your path right now, right this second, and do that. Never look at the hill.

So stop looking at the calendar. Look at today.

I think that is good advice for me, too.

I have good things to do today. I hope you do too.

Thanks for checking in,

1 comment:

  1. Soldiers, in general, go for longer periods than do Marines. Most times Airmen do also, regardless of their status; guard, reserve, active.