Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Weed Killer

Last Wednesday I stood in front of a group of new Navy wives
to present my section as part of the Compass program.

My section is called Local Insights and the purpose of it is to
encourage these new wives to get involved in their community.
My friend Melissa and I present this section together.
Melissa had the great idea to compare our lives
as navy spouses to that of a garden.
Our motto is "bloom where you are planted".
We have the cutest board where we have a big tree,
a sunshine, clouds and flowers
all representative of an aspect of our lives.
Melissa tells a story of her daughter bringing home from school
a painted pot with a marigold seed
tucked deep into the soil.
She brought it home in December.
Doubting that it would ever bloom off season,
Melissa and her daughter cared for it and
watered it every day until one day
they got a little sprout.
Surprisingly, the marigold grew to produce flowers
in less than ideal circumstances.
And so goes our theme.
I'm sure you can plainly see our analogy.
So there I stood, very convincingly telling these girls
that embracing the "bloom where you are planted"
motto for themselves will transform their
quality of life from merely surviving to thriving.
Sounds good, right?
Fast forward six days
and here I am sobbing at my computer desk
over so many thoughts swimming around in my head.
I wasn't blooming at all yesterday,
I was withering fast.
Weeds of doubt, longing, discontent and jealousy
were choking out any hope that
the flowers in my life would raise their colorful faces to the sun.
And so there I sat feeling sorry for myself.
Replaying over and over again how hard it is
to be on a separate coast from my family.
How much it stinks that my parents can't see
the daily happenings in my kid's lives.
How sad it is that their sporting events and
school events are attended by just David and I
and more often just me.
How frustrating it is that I have to uproot my business
every couple of years
and never really get a chance to live up to my potential.
I was allowing the slugs of "poor me" eat away at my fading leaves.
At times in my life it has been very difficult to maintain contentment.
This is one of them.
Yesterday it started with two little weeds of
"Gosh, I miss my family"
"Will I ever get this photography business off the ground?"
and those weeds grew into
"I have ruined my kids by moving so far away from family and
uprooting my kids in the middle of the school year four out of the last six years."
"I might as well just give up my dream of ever being a full time photographer
because it is just too hard to keep starting over!"
And then the weeds continued to choke out my blooms with,

"I didn't sign up to do this alone with an often deploying husband
and way too distant grandparents, uncles and cousins!"
Ug! I just hate attacks of the killer weeds!
I know in my heart that all of these are lies.
Sure we have it hard.
My kids don't get to benefit from having family around them.
I do have to hold this fort down alone much of the time.
They do have holes in their education.
I will have to postpone my ultimate dream of owning a real studio for at least
the next decade.
on the other hand,
God has put us here for a reason.
I really do believe that.
He knows where I am and why I am here
and he promised to handle this all for me.
He hasn't left me here alone.
He has definitely blessed me with an awesome
navy family of other spouses while I am here
in Washington.
During times like this, I cling to my life verse
and use it as my weed killer.
Jeremiah 29:11 says:
"For I know that the weeds are going to come and try to overtake you,
but I am the master gardener and I've got plenty of weed killer
ready for you. I won't let those weeds choke the life out of you.
You are going to be a beautiful fruitful garden one day.
I promise."
Well, it really doesn't say that....
but that's how I am applying it today.
Here is what it really says:
"For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord.
Plans to prosper you and not to harm you.
Plans to give you a future and a hope."
So, even though I might feel like my family is being harmed
right now, and I feel like the weeds
are wrapping tightly around my roots,
God has a plan.
He promises to give me a future and a hope.

So, take that you stupid weeds!

I end my presentation with a list.
I wrote this list to remind myself of how thankful I will be one day
that we really did bloom where we were planted.
Here it is word for word from my presentation notes:

Having been a navy family for 17 years,
we have lived in all four corners of the United States.
We have moved 6 times and have been through 14 deployments.
Some may say that that seems like a fragmented life
full of longing for family and familiarity,
and in some ways, they would be right.
But when I look back,
I’m so blessed to know that we have good friends all over this country
and we’ve really lived in every place we’ve been stationed.
My kids have swam in both oceans of America's coasts
and the emerald waters of the Gulf of Mexico.
We’ve seen Niagara Falls, the Grand Canyon and Mt. Rushmore.
We’ve been to Las Vegas and the Hoover Dam.

We’ve seen the stars on Hollywood Blvd
and have sipped sweet tea underneath the Spanish moss
in the thick Southern heat.
We've seen Mickey Mouse on both coasts.

We've cheered on the FSU seminoles in Tallahassee

and the Dodgers in Los Angeles.

We've wandered through old western ghost towns
and the historic streets of Saint Augustine.

We ate pizza at the oldest pizza parlor in NYC
and had beignets in New Orleans.

We've thrown snowballs in New England

and have held starfish from the tidepools in Southern California.

We’ve gone deep sea fishing ,
toured “old ironsides” (the USS Constitution)
and have ridden the fastest wooden roller coaster
on the west coast.
We've been to the geographical center of the United States

and high up on a ski lift in New Hampshire.

We’ve walked the freedom trail in Boston and the sandy beaches of Malibu.
We’ve visited countless museums, aquariums, gardens and state parks.
We’ve led full, vibrant lives
all because we decided that we were going to embrace
the best side of this Navy life.
I’m thankful that we made it a goal as a family
to visit as many points of interest in each of our duty stations
because our kids will be able to look back at all they were able to see and do
just because their dad was a sailor.


Laura said...

I love you guys so much right now. I know its hard but the end post look at all the good that has come out of it, yes you have moved around alot but look at all the amazing people you have blessed with all your awesomeness.

Your photography biz not off the ground...look at all the amazing families you have shot or clothing boutiques Bren has got to model for.

Yes it sucks that your kids don't get to be by your family all the time which based on how awesome you and yours are I am sure that those distanced are equally amazing infact I know of a handful that are.

The thing that makes you all so special is you find what you have where you are and you make it work, you all make it work.

This is where I think that Jon and Kate line needs to work, it may be a crazy life, but its our life.

Lots of love,
Your Canadian friend

Unknown said...

Last picture as I remember you. Beautiful blog Rebecca! And remember, for everything there is a season!

jonahbonah said...

I read this post and I'm gonna go back and re-read it.

My DH just went active duty and we got our first duty station, Ft.Campbell, KY. While I'm very excited, I'm very nervous. We are both born and raised in Jax...so, this is a big step for us. But, your post has inspired me to make the MOST out of the next 3 years!!! I'm not going to leave any "stones" uncovered. We'll go see all there is to see!

Thank you Becca for your wise words!

Luna Nightshade said...

Beautiful. Thank you for loving David.

Anonymous said...

Oi. Parabéns por seu excelente blog. Gostaria de lhe convidar para visitar meu blog e conhecer alguma coisa sobre o Brasil e nossa luta contra o comunismo. Abração

Mackey said...

That was absolutely beautiful.
You sure have a way with words.

muralimanohar said...

Lovely, lovely post. I'm not from a military family, but my parents had the wanderlust, and we moved a LOT, and now my kids seem to have landed in a similar kind of a situation, so it's really nice to remember the upsides of all this moving around. :)