Monday, December 19, 2011

Happy Holidays, welcome home!

Happy Holidays to all and welcome home to those military service people that have finally returned home from Iraq.
It is so great to have you home and with my deepest gratitude THANK YOU FOR YOUR SERVICE!!!
There is no way to say in words how much your sacrifices are appreciated. I would like to bestow on you and yours all the blessings and greatest wishes for the new year and hope you will all find the success and happiness you deserve.
I know that this transition will be extremely difficult for you.  Your life has been a constant vigilance, finding danger from all sides, always on your guard against treachery from those who posed as friend and ally. Even walking along the roadway brought danger and death.  You could never place your trust in anyone other than your brother or sister in arms. Fear and suspicion was your constant companion.
Now, you are home, the enemy you faced over there are no longer such a prominent threat.
But your demons have followed you home.
The training can't be unlearned, you will always be vigilant.  The horrors of war that you faced will always be in your mind, in your dreams as it has been for all warriors, soldiers, fighters throughout history. And the grief you feel for the loss of those friends who gave their lives and fell in battle will leave a deep and painful scar on your heart and soul.

Perhaps while you were there, as rockets burned across the night sky and you shielded yourself behind a wall, a rock, or where ever as bullets hailed like hellfire around you, something like,"I am so afraid to die, I don't want to be here.  I want to go home." went through your mind and guilt assailed you for it. Those thoughts are not the thoughts or needs or wants of a coward. Those are the thoughts and needs and wants of a brave and valiant human being that put the needs of others before his own needs.
It has always been said, through time immemorial, "There is no greater love than to lay down your life for another". The true sign of a hero is not that he is not afraid, but that in spite of his fear he does what needs to be done.  That, my friends, is what our US Military has done for this country and we should all, each and every American citizen should be thankful for: our military service personell from the highest ranking general to the filing clerks. They have all played a part in keeping us safe so that we could celebrate this Christmas season as we see fit. From the birth of Jesus Christ to Hanukkah to Kwanza to no religeous belief at all, we have them to thank.

You are brave. You are appriciated and you are loved!

Always remember to thank a soldier for their service.  It doesn't matter why they joined, only that they did.

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to one and all!!!


Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Hubris of youth, joy of hope

            Reality has very rudely slapped me in the face!

            This attention grabber came at me in the form of a photograph that surfaced recently after being buried in the obscurity of my life’s history.
            I was young, I was free and I was HOT!!! And I was nineteen when this particular image was captured for posterity. Oh, those were the days . . . 1976 . . . summer time to be exact and as I recall the times were the best of my life. I look back on them fondly and with some regret.  The halter tops, bell bottoms and mood rings were all the rage and I was grabbing the good times with both hands and wringing every drop of fun and excitement I could squeeze from those fun filled days. It was the summer to beat all summers. Life was just waiting for me and I had no time to lose. 
            Looking at that picture I remember the dreams I had and the future that I fantasized about.  And I had big dreams but they were always for tomorrow.
            Now, here I am approaching my . . . ouch . . . 55th birthday—man that hurts—and I remember.  Those dreams and fantasies have never come to fruition.  That hurts even more, I think.
            I suppose we’ve all had our fair share of dreams at that age; some of us made those dreams a reality and reached the goals we’ve set for ourselves.  Then, too, there are those of us, myself included, who had no real idea how to set about making those dreams a reality and thinking “oh, I’ve got lots of time yet” and felt they would, “just happen” when the time came.
            Alas, they didn’t happen.  I never had those 2.5 children, the house in the Burbs and that $100,000 a year dream job in a top executive position.  I never attained that bullet proof cape of “Super Woman”, leading the charge of righteous feminism into the future as a hero to womankind.
            There was the devastating disappointment of my first marriage that had the life span of a soap bubble; one of those really bad choices a young woman makes when faced with great looks, broad shoulders and a forked tongue.  Honestly, we’ve all been there at least once in our lives, haven’t we?  Some wake up before it’s too late and the rest of us have to learn our lessons the hard way.  What can you do?
            There were incredible highs like buying my first car or winning an all expenses paid trip to Jamaica. Sun, surf and lots of turquoise water to dance in. Not to mention all the buff, tanned beefcake you could feast your sunglass shaded eyes on.  And there was that moment . . . that one special moment when you look into a pair of the most compassionate, warm, loving brown eyes and know you have seen your own special heaven.  The feeling of being treasured beyond all things flows through you like warm honey and satin and you know you have finally become whole.  I’m no Plato but I do believe we all have another half of us that makes us feel whole and there is nothing to match that feeling when you find that person.
            I’ve never been blessed with children of my own but I’ve known the joy of watching my nieces grow and find their own way in the world.  I’ve experienced the ecstasy in finding that one special love that made me whole.  And I’ve been blessed with the most amazing friend who has stayed by my side, literally and figuratively, over the years and has never let me down.  She was my life line when I lost my husband, my soul mate, to cancer some years ago. An angel named Anna.
            I have lost good jobs, money, friends and loved ones. I’ve even lost my dreams but the one thing that I have never lost was hope.
            There were moments, however, when my grip on hope was tenuous at best; but I held on to it. I clung to it like a scared child clings to its mother after a nightmare knowing that should I lose my hold on hope, I would be lost.
            As the saying goes “that which does not kill us  . . .etc.” You know what I mean.
            The disappointments in my life, the losses and the confusion have tempered me to a resolve of steel. It has made me strong enough to endure almost anything, I think. Every morning when the alarm sounds it gives me an opportunity to make old dreams real or create new ones if needs be. Every time the sun rises over the eastern horizon I have renewed hope that this day will be better than yesterday.  And if it isn’t? Well, tomorrow the sun will rise again and hope will be reborn.
I may be more mature now than when I was nineteen but with that maturity comes life and with life comes friends, family, hopes and dreams. Joys and disappointments. And, God willing and if the fates allow, I’ll have many more sunrises ahead of me that renew those hopes and dreams.
With a new day, come new challenges to be met.  With a new year comes a chance at a new dream.

What will your dream be?

Hope to see you here again.