Sunday, July 20, 2008

It's a Fifteen Month Deployment?

Deployed for almost nine months now. It's been okay, and if it was only three more months to go, I think I'd be feeling better about it. But when I look ahead at six more months, I hear the echo of what I've heard so many spouses back at Fort Hood say - "It's just too long."

I've had a few days to reflect on that feeling, and I noticed that the recent move from Taji to BIAP (Baghdad International Airport) has disrupted my routines. It's the regular schedule, davening (prayer), exercise and being able to keep in touch with family that helps me cope with the normal stress and strain of deployment.

Today's a fast day (17 of Tammuz) so I won't be out running, but clearly I've got to keep up with my 'stress relievers' or I won't be able to help others. It's just like the flight crews tell us every time we fly in an airplane- put the oxygen mask on yourself, and then you'll be able to help the person next to you.

I think that, for an antidote too 'deployment stress' I would recommend Psalm 100- A Psalm of Thanksgiving.
"...Know that H" is the Lord... Enter into His gates with thanksgiving... be thankful to Him, and bless His name."

I saw something recently that suggests making a list every day of five things to be thankful for.

So, for today, here's my list of four things to be thankful for -
1. the ability to see (with my eyes, and with my heart).
2. a loving wife and children (who miss me as much as I miss them).
3. the chance to fast today, the 17th of Tammuz in remembrance of the five historical tragedies our people suffered on this day (and some Soldiers can't fast today because of the danger they are in).
4. friends, many of whom are far away (and I only get to see occasionally, but are friends none the less).

And I have to say, after making this list, that it's the best thing I've done so far today. Why don't you try it right now?