Sunday, December 30, 2012

Fair Winds & Following Seas

My husband chose to wear his dress blues for a final farewell to his active duty military service in church today. His active duty service officially comes to an end on new year's eve. There is no threshold to cross. There are no hoops of fire to jump through. At last they have left him to fade into service to others. I haven't seen him wear that uniform for some months with him finishing up in Japan and the kiddos and I settling into life here in the hills of Ohio.

To me, that suit represents a hell of a lot of sacrifice. I sat in the church pew next to him listening to the music, the sermon, singing songs, and them BAM! It hit me. I am so very grateful it is all over-- the separations, the long hours, the unrelenting demands. I suddenly found myself fighting back the tears. I might love a man in uniform, but I have come to dislike seeing him in this uniform that he wore most days into the office. 

I am grateful for the opportunity to have traveled, the adventures we had, the friends we made, but I am ready to have time together. Dinner, I just want to have dinner together every night except when we choose to do other things. Some constant to our day that we decide, a small wish. However, I'm bracing myself for this not to happen, but it is my most fervent hope for the new year. 

The sight of this uniform that once stirred my patriotic heart, instead sent it into a nose dive. These past few weeks I've had to adjust to having him around night and day, day and night, as he has whiled down the last days of his leave, but they have returned him to me. It's been a happy transition.

As tomorrow comes to pass, as we enter into a new year, we come full circle to life in his hometown, together. There will be no speeches, there will be no party, but there will be a hope. A hope for presence. It's the best gift I can think of.

Fair winds and following seas my love. All roads lead to home.

This is where your life has arrived,
After all the years of effort and toil;
Look back with graciousness and thanks
on all your great and quiet achievements. 
You stand on the shore of new invitation
To open your life to what is left undone;
Let your heart enjoy a different rhythm
When drawn to the wonder of other horizons. 
Have the courage for a new approach to time;
Allow it to slow until you find freedom
To draw alongside the mystery you hold
And befriend your own beauty of soul. 
Now is the time to enjoy your heart’s desire,
To live the dreams you’ve waited for,
To awaken the depths beyond your work
And enter into your infinite source. 
John O'Donohue, A Blessing for Retirement

21 years of service come to an end