Reporting for Duty – Military vs. Civilian Life

“Hello. I’m writing from home but I’m not at home.”

Whose’s writing from where? Actually more like texting or messaging from here to there or there to here. It depends who you are on what time you are. Being in the military means being two people in one. A soldier. A civilian. Still a person.

In a neomorphic collision of inter-earthly worlds, Soldiers interchange identities. 

Uniforms, uniformity and a commitment to service dominate military life. Soldiers go where directed. They provide service where and when they are needed. Military life commands a call to duty. A call to service. A call to serve bigger than themselves.

Civilian life clamors for uniqueness, individuality and self-empowerment. It values flexibility, spontaneity and creative engagement. Civilian life is like a do-it-yourself or a take-it-at-your-own-pace, a self-directed course in life living.

Then it happens. You, your family and your friends are hanging out in your custom designed canoe.  Paddling through not-so-bad waters

Then it hits. Like the torrential downfall of misguided waterfall appearing mid-stream. Orders are issued. There’s no place to land. So you do what any normal soldier does. You jump. You hit the water running. They re-arrange themselves and keep paddling. The distance between you and them become more like lifetimes of distant, outdated memories. 12 o 18 months across countries. Across worlds might as well be across lifetimes.

Back home, the unstructured zaniness of civilian life clamors on without you. The once familiar …

“What’s for dinner?” 
“Where’s grandma? The neighbors called. She ditched her dentures in their backyard again.”
“Who used my toothbrush?”
“What, you flunked 1st grade for the 3rd time?”
“If it’s not your fault the dog ate the turkey than whose is it?”

A canter and a language no longer you own.

Coming home … who moved the canoe?

In the wake of the splash, your families and friends re-adjust; without you.  New roles are taken. New structures and daily routines formed; without you. They moved on; without you.

For you, coming home means hopping in the canoe where you left it. Only now it’s gone. It’s left without you. It moved on. You’re only chance is to chase it down and hope there is still room for you. The insider gone outsider.

ReStory Support

Magical trinkets. Electronic devises. Kind words. Unexpected smiles and encouraging words all make our journey easier. More palatable. More humane.  For soldiers and their families needs a bit of extra support, Give an Hour gives the tools of free, confidential counseling.

Until next time . . . Story Impact: Changing Stories – Impacting Lives