collage by Tim Lukeman
It’s so hard to stay out of our own way, isn’t it? I have been in my way most of my life. It is my fervent prayer your reaction to the pressure of the test today will help you see the value of staying out of your own way. Usually the biggest stumbling block is ourselves. It is not the size or the length of your arms but thinking something is wrong with the size and the length of your arms. Remember your cousin is taller and just as thin when he went into the Marines and talked himself into being able to do the push ups necessary to graduate. I think you have yourself psyched out and have convinced yourself you can’t do this. I believe with conditioning you will be able to do these push-ups. But you won’t find out if you quit in the middle of the test. I know this won’t happen again. I think the price of this self-sabotage was so great that you learned a hard but very important lesson.
I talked to Beav this evening and then your dad. Don’t worry about the Beav not being proud of you or disappointed in you. He was so sad for you he was about to cry. He understands how much this means to you. Your dad took it well and has a lot of questions I tried to answer. Questions about graduation in January, what happens next, that sort of thing. I tried to answer them the best I could.
I’m humbled you called me first. I’m so thankful you trust me but I am so terribly sorry my first reaction was one of dramatic panic. I hate that part of my personality. It wasn’t what you needed, what you needed to hear was how I know you are disappointed but you also realized what a stupid mistake quitting in the middle of the run was. You needed to hear what big medicine this is and what a transforming situation this will be for you and how you approach challenging situations in the future. Remember how I have always told you I believe things don’t come to you as easily as other people because you are learning what it is like to work really hard for something and therefore you will appreciate and hold dear all you achieve? This kind of perseverance is the stuff great men are made of. My guess is you won’t quit in the midst of a race or a run, ever again. You took this setback as a man, too. You didn’t blame anyone else; you took full responsibility for quitting without mentioning how muddy it was or cold or whatever like you would have about nine weeks ago. I am so proud of you and how grown up you are and I am blessed to be your mom.
Your graduation is simply delayed by a few weeks. You can come home at Christmas, we can fatten you up and you can work out everyday to strengthen you upper body. I have no doubt you will graduate in January because I know whenever God closes a door, he opens a bigger door. Two others in your platoon, but they also will get 24 hours off. Vermontmom is still coming for the weekend and if you aren’t too embarrassed she has a message for you from me. I‘m glad you have 24 hours off. You can eat a meal and linger over it as long as you want.
Please don‘t beat yourself over this. Just pick yourself up and keep training. That you didn’t quit and ask to come home during reception or when you were in hospital with pneumonia tells me you ARE Army Strong. You just need to prove it to yourself by continuing with your training. OMG do you realize that on Aug 31st you couldn’t even do five proper push ups, your running time wouldn’t pass, you didn’t know how to dismantle, clean and fire an M whatever-it-is you carry around. You hadn’t jumped off a 35 foot tower (that I know of) climbed a big wall, ran five miles with 70 pounds on your back; nor did you know how to start an IV, dress a wound and identify someone going into shock. That’s a lot to learn in eight weeks! It makes my head spin and I’m used to multitasking with things falling apart around me.
The Girl and I discussed what we would make for you while you are at home. Christmas dinner will be pot roast, garlic mashed potatoes, the usual vegetables and carrot cake. I’m off both Christmas Eve and Christmas day; I’m so excited about this, too. It will be good to be with you and spend some time together as a family. Beav has missed you more than he will admit. I can‘t wait to see Kipper‘s reaction when you come home.
Please take care of yourself, your heart, your soul and your body. Have a wonderful day off on Saturday and laugh a few times. The laughter will free your spirit.
I love you.
YOUR HUT IS ON FIRE
With all that is going on in our lives at this time, I'm sure at times
we all feel a little like this. Read all the way to the end.
The only survivor of a shipwreck was washed up on a small, uninhabited
island. He prayed feverishly for God to rescue him. Every day he
scanned the horizon for help, but none seemed forthcoming.
Exhausted, he eventually managed to build a little hut out of
driftwood to protect him from the elements, and to store his few
One day, after scavenging for food, he arrived home to find his little
hut in flames, with smoke rolling up to the sky. He felt the worst had
happened, and everything was lost. He was stunned with disbelief,
grief, and anger. He cried out, 'God! How could you do this to me?'
Early the next day, he was awakened by the sound of a ship approaching
the island! It had come to rescue him! 'How did you know I was here?'
asked the weary man of his rescuers. 'We saw your smoke signal,' they
The Moral of This Story:
It's easy to get discouraged when things are going badly, but we
shouldn't lose heart, because God is at work in our lives, even in the
midst of our pain and suffering. Remember that the next time your
little hut seems to be burning to the ground; it just may be a smoke
signal that summons the Grace of God.