I decided, back then, that there was no way I could possibly handle it. It was too much for me to bear with him still in the country. I couldn't even fathom how I could handle a 16 month deployment. So, I decided I would simply do as he expected - I would stop answering his phone calls and not speak to him again. It would be painful but then I could move on with my life and so could he.
The very next day, after making this decision, I was attending a workshop on pranayama (yogic breathing), meditation and Indian cooking. The workshop was also attended by 3 other ladies, 2 of which I knew. At the end of the 3 hour workshop, I happened to be seated by the one lady I didn't know as we enjoyed our Indian dinner. She and I hadn't spoken during the workshop but I enjoyed her energy during the class.
I don't even remember the topic of conversation but she began to speak about her son who was weeks away from deployment to Iraq. I choked on my dahl and asked more about her son. It sounded like it would not be his first deployment either and he would be deploying around the same time as my soldier. I could barely hold in the tears as I sobbed to this nearly complete stranger about my soldier, our love, his detaching, my confusion and my decision to stop speaking to him. I told her that I simply could not do it!
She looked me right in the face and said to me,
"Oh yes you can. You need to suck it up, find that strength that you know is inside you and BE THERE FOR HIM."She went into many stories of soldiers and what they do to prepare emotionally for deployment. She is also a counselor who has counseled many returning soldiers and knows what they have been through. She told me stories of infidelity, post traumatic stress disorder and selfish young women who marry the soldier before they leave only to cheat on them and divorce them while they're gone. She reminded me that he was only going off of his past experience with girlfriends and deployment and he was scared.
"But you have to show him that he can depend on you. He needs something real to hold on to when he is going through things that you can't even imagine. You will help him have hope."I cried all the way home. I knew what I had to do. Once he sensed that I was feeling stronger, he relaxed and we have grown closer as the result. And so now you know, "the rest of the story". (as Paul Harvey would say!)
I bring this up because A Course in Miracles says that every encounter is a "holy encounter". You never know why a person appears in your life but everyone is there for some reason. You are also appearing in their life for a reason as well.
Maybe I am in my soldier's life to give him hope. On some level, he provides that for me as well. I have felt things and grown to trust more than I thought I could ever again. I just wasn't expecting it. I wasn't expecting any of it. I only knew that I needed to feel those things again but I didn't know how.
It goes back to what I mentioned a few days ago about form and content. We're always looking for things to happen a certain way. "I will only be happy if this happens..." and if it doesn't happen, we decide that we aren't happy. Most of the time, even when it does happen, we're only happy for a short time before we want something else anyway! If we decide that we just want to be happy (as the content), it doesn't matter what the form is. You will then be open to many things that you will be happy about simply because you made the choice to begin with.
In this particular encounter, I was open because I simply didn't know what to do. I had asked for help and felt that shutting down was the answer. The form of the answer was pretty obvious but sometimes it isn't. Try to remember this as you go about your day. Send a smile into your day ahead of you. You never know when you'll see it again.