There’s this thing that happens when your soldier deploys. It’s one of the great things about being a soldier’s wife. It’s something that civilian wives don’t get to do and, truthfully, I feel a little sorry for them because of it.
You get to miss your husband.
There is something to be said for missing the other half of you. After 9/11, I thought the worst thing that could ever personally happen to me would be for my husband to deploy. As it turned out, it was the greatest thing ever.
Oh, don’t read me wrong, I missed him. Half of me was ripped out and sent to the other side of the world. It hurt. There were days I cried, screamed and--during a particularly hairy time for them over there—refused to speak to God for two days.
When your husband is gone, you learn to appreciate things. Dirty socks on the floor are a blessing, because they mean he’s home. Three times the laundry isn’t such a chore. (How does that happen anyway? Add one person to the mix and triple the laundry?) The things you took for granted become priceless. During his first deployment, I really missed his forearm. Think I’m crazy? That’s the spot I lay my hand on when we sit together in church. And yes, I missed that most of all.
At the time he left, I’d been his wife for ten years. While he was gone, God took me through a pretty intense personal time. I started to remember who I was. Because my husband wasn’t here for me to share things with, I shared more with God. I listened more. And I learned things about me that I’d forgotten or maybe never even knew. It was then that He told me He wanted me to be a writer and proceeded to beat me against a rock until I was ready to do it His way. With my husband here, that time wouldn’t have happened.
Then there’s the communication thing. Our unit was in a super-remote area in Iraq. No phones. No internet. Sparse mail service. When you only get one five-minute phone call every fourteen days, you learn how to weed out the mundane and get to the heart. We poured out thoughts in real, honest-to-goodness, handwritten letters. It was amazing! I learned more about my husband in that year than I had in the previous ten. We learned to dream again, to talk of what we’d do when he got back and in the future beyond that. When he returned, we were closer than we’d ever been.
Deployment. It can be a four-letter-curse word or the most beautiful blessing in your life. It all depends on how you look at it. You can fight it the entire time and be completely miserable. But, if you’re willing to see it through God’s eyes, you might just find blessings greater than you’ve ever dared to imagine.
Jodie Bailey is an avid reader, a life-long writer, and an aspiring beach bum. When not tapping away at the keyboard, she watches NCIS reruns, eats too many chocolate chip cookies, and attempts to teach middle schoolers how to write coherent sentences. She lives in North Carolina with her husband and daughter. Her first military suspense, Freefall, will be released by Steeple Hill in November.