Tuesday, May 30, 2006

A thousand tiny cuts

Posted by HomefrontSix

To be, or not to be: that is the question:
Whether 'tis nobler in the mind to suffer
The slings and arrows of outrageous fortune,
Or to take arms against a sea of troubles,
And by opposing end them? To die: to sleep;
No more; and by a sleep to say we end
The heart-ache and the thousand natural shocks
That flesh is heir to, 'tis a consummation
Devoutly to be wish'd. To die, to sleep;
To sleep: perchance to dream: ay, there's the rub;
For in that sleep of death what dreams may come
When we have shuffled off this mortal coil,
Must give us pause: there's the respect
That makes calamity of so long life;
For who would bear the whips and scorns of time,
The oppressor's wrong, the proud man's contumely,
The pangs of despised love, the law's delay,
The insolence of office and the spurns
That patient merit of the unworthy takes,
When he himself might his quietus make
With a bare bodkin? who would fardels bear,
To grunt and sweat under a weary life,
But that the dread of something after death,
The undiscover'd country from whose bourn
No traveller returns, puzzles the will
And makes us rather bear those ills we have
Than fly to others that we know not of?
Thus conscience does make cowards of us all;
And thus the native hue of resolution
Is sicklied o'er with the pale cast of thought,
And enterprises of great pith and moment
With this regard their currents turn awry,
And lose the name of action. - Soft you now!
The fair Ophelia! Nymph, in thy orisons
Be all my sins remember'd.

Military life…to me is often a lot like enduring paper cuts. A paper cut is a minor thing. Slightly painful. Definitely annoying at times but tends to heal quickly. Usually there isn’t a lot of blood. Sometimes there is cussing. And sometimes a band-aid is needed but more often, it heals up just fine if you just leave it alone. They tend not to happen often but when they do they make a big, yet momentary, impact.

Deployments are now a part of military life like they have not been for decades, generations even. They don’t happen every day (unless you’re with the 101st) but when they do, they make a big impact. And, at the time, it seems like it lasts forever but in hindsight it is but a blip on the overall radar of life. The deployment itself stings much like a paper cut and then the pain tends to subside to something that resembles a dull ache until the cut heals and the soldier returns.

The nomadic life of a military family is another one of the paper cuts of military life. Friends come and then they leave. Moves are as much a part of military life as deployments. The initial departure – either yours or that of a good friend who is PCSing – is painful. It stings. And then it subsides to a dull ache. Sometimes that ache never really goes away and you never are able to cross paths with those friends again. Sometimes you are fortunate enough to be stationed together again and that ache goes away. But the initial separation stings like an SOB. (I told you there was cussing sometimes).

There are other parts of military life that sting…frequent TDYs (business trips that take the soldier away from home for a few days up to a few months), lousy work schedules, alert roster calls at o’dark thirty, friends who do not come home from a deployment. Many, many cuts. Very few are what most would consider to be life threatening but the cumulative effect of those cuts can be overwhelming. Hopefully the salves in life – faith, family, and friends – are enough to prevent deep scars from forming. Hopefully.


- hfs

cross posted at HomefrontSix

1 comment:

John of Argghhh! said...

How they differ in impact is interesting, too.

As a Brat, I developed the ability to instantly make friends, leave them at the drop of a hat, and pick up again where we left off next time we saw each other. I liked the moving around and seeing new places, new people.

Enough so that I joined, and go to move around seeing new places and meeting new people.

And now that I've retired, I've managed to have new jobs (same employer, different tasks) every 18 months or so - except I've been in this task almost three years and it's REALLY time to move on to something else.

My sister? She hated it. When she went to college, she stayed in the same town. Moved from college to a duplex 3 miles from the dorm. Got married, and moved to a house 1 mile from the duplex and 300 yards from the now-retired parents. Needed a bigger house, moved 1 mile further away.

And has been out of state maybe 10 times since.

And had the same, relatively unchanging circle of friends.

Diff'rent strokes.