We live in a transient area near Quantico, VA. Many military families, especially from the Marine Corps, are stationed here for a few years. Part of being a permanent resident of the area is the knowledge that some of your friends will be moving away. This year it is hitting a little extra hard as at least three friends of mine and my daughters’ are moving this summer and they will be greatly missed.
My father served in the Marines, but it was when he was young and long before I was born. I grew up in the same small town, in the same house, until I moved out on my own. My husband served in the Navy, but it was before we met. My brother joined the Marines when I was about 12 years old. He deployed many times when he was single; and over the years he took my sister-in-law and my nephews with him until his retirement. Currently, I miss my nephew as he goes off to Paris Island, Camp Lejeune, Okinawa and now 29 Palms. I honestly don’t have what it takes to be a military spouse. I struggle when we rearrange the furniture; I can’t imagine moving every three years or less!
As our homeschool community was ending the school year a few weeks ago I started thinking about this, but from a very selfish perspective. I was focused on how we make friends and they move away, almost to the point that I hesitate to make an effort to become friends with military families.
Then yesterday while I was driving my girls to the dentist I was on a road near where a friend had lived who just moved to Jacksonville/Camp Lejeune, NC a month ago. My mind drifted, as it often does when I am driving. I thought about the fellowship we shared. We prayed for each other. We shared good times and bad. We shared meals and day trips. Our daughters shared a dear friendship with much in common, yet some differences which enriched each others lives. I wondered how they are doing and started thinking about how fortunate their new neighbors and friends are to have them. That’s when I shifted my thought process. Instead of being negative, I decided to be filled with gratitude. What a blessing some of the mothers and children have been to my family. They move in to a community knowing they are not there to stay, yet they make a positive impact for the short time they are here. They support their husbands and fathers who serve our country bravely. They endure their spouse’s deployments or miss their fathers while still giving their time and energy to support others. They pack up and relocate, as they are commanded, to serve our country.
I have learned to forget my selfish thoughts and count the blessings God has placed in our lives, if only for a short time. Thank you servicemen for serving our country so bravely. Thank you military families for coming into our community and lives and making them better before you move on to do the same at the next duty station. Thank you.