Back in July of 2017, I wrote my very first Military Moms blog. It spoke to the newness of being a military spouse. It was well received overall. However, there was one military spouse, in particular, who was really annoyed by what I wrote. It wasn’t really my post that bothered her, it was my husband’s career.
I was ‘coached’ by another military spouse as to why remaining silent about my husband’s career may be easier. Her coaching was well-intended (it came from a place of heartbreak based on similar experiences). She confirmed it was not an OPSEC issue but had everything to do with hostility regarding his chosen occupation compared to that of other military spouses.
The comment was removed fairly quickly by the reader. I confronted it with kindness, but I also questioned her goal and intent.
What made her so uncomfortable about my perspective? Perhaps because it was not her perspective? It didn’t meet her reality, and her reality was hard (Honestly, from one military spouse to another, I hate that for her).
We have this tendency as human beings to see only one perspective – ours.
We have tunnel vision into our hard reality and look through rose-colored glasses into everyone else’s. Our experiences shape who we are and feed into our thought patterns and beliefs. In turn, we believe everything we think, and the world suffers all the more for it.
Contrasting realities and perspectives don’t have to result in division. I wish in this fast-paced, finger-pointing, polarizing world of ours, we could just stop and choose to love each other instead of casting stones. I’m of the mindset that at one time or another, we all suffer. Each person’s ‘hard’ may be different, but we will all experience it. Some people, unfortunately, will suffer more than others, but hardship is inevitable.
This woman has just as much right to free speech as I do, and I am grateful she spoke up. I just wish she’d considered doing it in love. Ironically, I’d really like to hear and share her story but I can’t share a story I don’t know.
“Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.”
– Martin Luther King
We need to love each other more.
The reason I bring this to light is that this woman is not a lone island, and there are others like her perpetuating the myth that if our spouses don’t serve in the same manner, they don’t add value.
I am not a proud infantry wife, I am a proud band wife, but I am still extremely proud of my Airman (I also am extremely proud of your Airman, no matter the ‘way’ in which he or she serves).
My husband joined the military knowing he could provide a better life for his family in doing so. When you are confident in your identity, you know your strengths. My husband is a great musician, and now he gets to be a musician in the Air Force. I admire and honor him for that.
During his recent deployment, I was able to hear inspiring feedback regarding the character of the men and women who served, not solely in their musicianship but in friendship and camaraderie. Those encouraging words made me weep because what he does matters.
His job may not matter to everyone, but it matters to me and him. I know it also mattered to the men and women who were deployed with him. One woman said hearing live music made her feel like a real person again for the first time during her deployment. Another man streamed the concert ‘live’ back home to his wife. He said it was like they were on a date.
I wept at those affirming words. In fact, I can’t recount those words without weeping because what he does matters.
I hope this post encourages you to know that no matter where your spouse serves, his or her role is important.
In the words of Oprah Winfrey,
“Surround yourself with only people who are going to lift you higher. Life is already filled with those who want to bring you down.”
What we do day in, day out matters.
Last but not least, and I mean it when I say this that no matter the way in which you serve, thank you for your service!
* A special thank you to those who give their lives quite literally for this country. I, my children, and my children’s children thank you for your service. Your sacrifice cannot be measured.*