Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Can a Month Be an Increment of Distance?

So the month of October will be my last in Iraq. So much can be going through my mind about what I can share with you but all I can focus on is my family. I mean I could talk about my growth and experience, which is a lot if I cared to share with you. But after everything, the losses, the gains, the disappointments and the encouragements, I find it shallow to try and come up with something that will genuinely portray it for you when there are so many out there who gave a lot more of themselves already doing that very thing and a lot more eloquently. I guess I can say I don't feel that sense of honor and pride that is described by others. I mean I feel honor and I feel pride but it feels so much more deeply personal. Maybe I am being selfish but I don't think so. The only thing that swells my chest and gets my heart in a mad dash is the idea of coming home to a family that wants to see me just as much as I want to see them if not more.

The strangest and most unexpected by-product of the deployment has been the growth of the love and appreciation I have for my wife. The saddest thing that I had to learn is that so many good soldiers suffer from loneliness or really terrible relationships. I count myself blessed to be able to say that I experienced neither through out this entire deployment. It's true that they say that deployments end a lot of marriages. It's a sad fact but almost everyone of them were never meant to make it in the long run anyway. Just the conditions of the deployment are obviously just the perfect storm to bring out all the things that these poor soldiers or their spouses had been keeping from each other or more importantly themselves. I guess that's why I feel like I can't portray appropriately how and the others may have changed. Like I said my own growth is still a little too personal, and to be honest still too vague for me to fully understand anyway, but I can comfortably generalize that not a single one of us didn't change from being over here. For good and bad. but despite all that my wife and I love each other more! How am I so lucky? I don't deserve it. But I know a gift when I see it and I don't need to check the teeth to know it's a good one ( if you aren't getting what I mean email me pogiabbott@gmail.com I'll break the gift horse analogy down for you:).

My luck extended to my relationship with my healthy, overly active children. They grew so much without me. That by far has been the most unendurable indignity as a father and a man to be asked to go through, second only to the break in my family had to be exposed to while I was in Kuwait not even two weeks after I had left them for the year. If you aren't familiar with the event you can read my wife's blog @ http://theabbottfam.blogspot.com/2008/11/thats-it-im-getting-myself-bat.html . But aside from that trial and all the others that my children went through without my guidance and protection they came out still loving me. Can't possibly expect to ask for more than that. They may need a little bit of "Daddy Toughness" but they are the greatest kids! I am proud.

This month will surely seem like a year to me for it to finish itself. May I endure it and keep all the stuff I guess you can say I "gained", some others might say I've "contracted". But I am still me. Despite all of it. That's the only thing that I'm sure of thus far. I still held to me beliefs and convictions. I can honestly say joining the military felt much like jumping into the cold lake at scout camp for our swim checks to make sure we wouldn't drown. At the first plunge I was panicked by the sudden, painful drop in temperature that all that I was able to accomplish in warm, non threatening environments, would actually become failures. But as I kept myself afloat and then stroking my way to the end of the goal I found the contrary. I held to the things my parents and my God taught me through the life I had taken for granted. I finished the swim check in scout camp, surprising myself. I finished this deployment, gratifying myself. I can't be so arrogant...I'm not done yet but I can't help it, it's much like "senior-itis" or being "trunky". But I think I earned it. Just like I earned the right to a warm towel at the end of the frigid swim across a small lake in the Uintahs to prove my worth as a swimmer and as a scout.

I believe in God. I believe in the military. I believe in soldiers. I may not believe in politicians but that's why I love and believe in this country. Few members of this race get the chance to speak against their leaders. We may not be exclusive in our right of speech and criticism of those that handle our government along with our other inalienable rights but we are still special... Lucky. I don't think I will ever get to take that for granted again.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Home Stretch

So I have been away from home for nine months now and look back thinking "it's only been that effing long!" and "Wow how the time limps feebly along when you reside in hell." My belief that hell is more a state of mind in the here after has only be affirmed by my stay in Iraq. If hell was only flames and pitch forks well I already survived and surpassed all those punishments. The people I have had to submit to has really taken my pride down a few dials. And yet I am surprisingly grateful for my deployment to Iraq. Never, even if I lived in the worst living conditions the U.S. might have to offer, would I have been through the hardships and trials that I experienced out here and I can honestly say that I grew through all of it. No matter how hard I tried not to.

So I mentioned excuses last time and I thought I would touch on that a little. Interesting trait that a lot of otherwise hard working honest soldiers tend to pick up in the Army is how to come up with excuses because it's the only way to stay out of trouble because the military especially the Army is all about pointing a finger when something goes wrong. So a soldier has no choice but to explain why there are not enough supplies for a project or missions aren't executed exactly to plan. Well, crap happens but that is far from a good enough excuse. So quick talkers are promoted while the honest or bad liars are considered problems or hinderences to their leaders image. It's disheartening in a way. I mean I still believe in the Army and that it does more good than bad but it is hard to see soldiers, sergeants, officers and civilians take this same tactic and make it habit.

Although I see those who are rewarded for lying and making excuses I still stick to the things I was brought up to be. Come hell or high water(wink) I will never lower my character to simply get ahead. Life is long enough to take the dignified path. Maybe I am letting my scruples dictate too much of my career but I guess when it comes to my honor and faith I could give a flip. So here's to you sell outs out there kissing butts and taking names. May you be happy knowing that you achieved it by wrapping your lips around things you normally wouldn't.

SPC. Abbott