Dear Air Force,
Where to begin? How do I put into words how I feel at the end of a 24-year relationship that brought some of the best experiences but also some of the hardest moments? I can remember feeling excited and exhilarated but I can’t ignore all the times you made me feel scared and alone. Had it not been for the highs and lows, I wouldn’t have learned what I have.
Lamenting and thanksgiving
Honestly, I wrote and rewrote this post a dozen or more times. I just couldn’t find all the words nor the right ones. A couple of versions sounded too angry and I don’t want to bow out now with anger. My friend Ashley is a minister and preached many sermons on lament. See her sermon: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Vv7UxeFzbcU The Bible has a whole book of Lamentations, prayers of anguish calling out in faith. Part of walking in faith is lamenting. Job lamented. Even Jesus wept. I realize now that had it not been for the lamenting, thanksgiving would not have followed. With pain, disappointment, sorrow, chaos comes praises of thanksgiving in the morning. Therefore, I find thanksgiving in the ‘had it not been’ statements.
Had it not been
Had it not been for Chris washing out of pilot training, he never would have crossed trained into Airfield Management. That career change opened up many opportunities for us. We never returned to a previous duty assignment or location which was a good thing.
Had it not been for his year-long remote to South Korea, I never would have discovered just how strong I really am. I met some of my dearest friends during this time. Even though it was a really hard time, I found out what I was made of. A sweet reward of this remote was that we were handed an assignment to Germany!
Had it not been for The War on Terrorism and living in a foreign country, I would not have experienced childbirth with three of my closest friends. This was by far the scariest thing I have ever gone through. It is a barometer by which I measure all the hard things in my life thereafter. I thought I was strong from that year-long remote, but this made me stronger.
Had it not been for all the moves, I wouldn’t have friends around the world. The friends we have collected are by the far the greatest treasure we have gained.
Had it not been for all the deployments, I never would have known who Missy Kuester is when she is alone. Over the years, I have spent a lot of time alone and I like my own company.
Had it not been for Oklahoma, Germany, and Delaware, I would not have my three sons.
Had it not been for all the places we lived, I couldn’t share those experiences with others. I can say definitely that I have lived there and known what it’s like. I’ve lived in other cultures and with people not like me. It makes me a better human. See my previous post about the exciting life my kids have lived, https://missykuester.com/reasons-i-dont-want-you-to-feel-pity-for-my-military-kids/.
Had it not been for assignments to Germany and Belgium and South Korea, we wouldn’t have traveled and seen places some people only dream of. I have sailed the fjords of Norway, stayed in a home given to General Patton near Normandy, and experienced the 70th-anniversary activities. I have stood on battlegrounds, been to Paris, gone in a boat in the canals of Amsterdam, Venice, and Switzerland. I have eaten whale, reindeer, and a lot of weird stuff in Korea. The experiences are too numerous to list here but I treasure them all.
Had it not been living away from our families, I wouldn’t have been able to show them the world and our beautiful country.
Had it not been for the 7 deployments, I would have never experienced the homecomings
Had it not been for all the goodbyes, I never would have had the hellos.
Had it not been for all the heartache and loss, I never would have known how truly blessed I am.
Had it not been for the Lamenting I wouldn’t have Praises of Thanksgiving.
Who holds the future
When I started this blog, my friend Angie asked me what I wanted to write about. She asked if I wanted to write a military blog. My answer was a resounding, “No!” As I explained to her, I want to be something other than a military wife. It has defined me for the past 24 years. It is time to be someone else. I don’t yet know who that will be but I’m looking forward to meeting her. I don’t know exactly what the future holds but I know who holds the future.
It’s been an honor.
It’s been hard.
I believe those two statements best describe our years as a military family and go hand in hand with one another. I’m glad we did it but I’m glad it’s over. I’m tired.
So, to you, Dear Air Force, thank you, for making me who I am. While you didn’t always live up to your end of the bargain, I know I gave you everything I had.
Thank you Air Force, had it not been for you my life would be profoundly different but in the end I wouldn’t change a thing.
Now, off we go into the Wild Blue Wonder…….