…and now for something completely personal.

I took my first dance class in ten years on Monday. It was marvelous, and terrifying. Even with everyone’s, “it’s like riding a bike…”, running through my head.
When you choose to try at something, especially something that you have not done in a long time, there is always a moment that you wonder if you will be able to again.
The scary part consists more in the quiet little consideration, “What if I can’t?”
Most of us do not realize that this last thought is even there. but it is, in the form of anxiety; a little monster awoken by the chance of failure.

I am proud to share that  in this instance, I could and I did. And I put that little monster in its place.
I shared later in an email to my soldier how good it felt. And took note of something pretty special.
When I first made the decision to try dancing again, all the focus was on how much I remembered enjoying it.
But then I had to actually do it. What if my memory was wrong? Or perhaps I had changed? “Maybe I should just leave it to memory?” I said later, to a friend on the phone.
But when Monday rolled around, I went. And as I was standing in first position, my arms aching as I held them above me, I thought, “yea, the memory was good, but the reality is better.
I don’t think, until that moment, I had ever realized the difference. In the battle of was vs. is, is should always win.
That night I stayed up, imagining myself in an empty theater, dancing.

During these last few months, I have stubbornly sat on my intentions. All the while they’re wiggling underneath me.
I wanted so badly to finish the ‘mission statement’ in a third installment, and on January 8th I sat down to write it.
But all that came out was prayer.

It was about five days after I ran out of fortune cookies that Drew left for Ft. Bliss Texas. He would be there for the month of January, and it was then that I remembered the looming deployment.
The facts seemed simple enough, we would enjoy the month of February together and he would ship off in early March. But late at night, when I considered this while laying in bed, the facts they expanded in long endless ripples. That little monster started waking up.
For most of us there are those things that we just have to do. We have to get out of bed in the morning, go to our jobs, wash our faces, remember where we put the car keys. (Why is that last one so difficult?)
For me, the hardest one of these things would be saying goodbye to Drew.
But I know that I am one of  oh, 500,000 army families that have to go through this. So for those three weeks I prayed. For strength, for patience, for perspective.

And I admit it, that little monster ransacked the place.
The prayer helped though, so I just kept on… and I considered all of the challenges that went on around me, separate from me.

I prayed for a particular friend of mine, pregnant with her second child, tired and more sick than before. But each time that we talk she is so strong, and I can feel it shine all the way across the four states that separate us.
I prayed for my sister and her daughter; that they would continue to need each other as much as they do now. There are few things more beautiful and challenging then that bond between parent & child.
And for my aunt, that she would find some peace within a new chapter of her life, and welcome its freedoms with another birthday approaching.
I prayed that the people that I love would always know it, and I asked God to include himself in that. I even said that last part out loud.

But of course, the prayer always came back to Drew.

I prayed for the obvious things, his safety and sanity, But that goes without saying. That he be made strong and feel supported by all of the people that love him, (And the number is substantial)
for comradery between his team members and comfort where so little comfort is available.
I prayed hardest though that Drew see the change that he has made in my life. That he consider the strength that he has given me just in leading by example, and that he know how loved I feel.
He is the strongest person that I have ever met, and unbelievably humble. Genuinely kind & visibly fearless.
But with me, when all the doors have closed behind us, he is the person I have the most fun with.
I let it ache a little when I realize that the memory will have to be enough for now.

But in the battle of  is vs. was,
love wins.

“The Big Parade (1925) is director/producer King Vidors most famous, precedent-setting war film from the silent era. It was the first realistic war drama and has served ever since as an archetypal model for all other war films.”

“There is a link between color & light and memory & feeling. And all instances are captured in one of them, or all of them, and those images stay forever engrained in the fabric of our days.

That photo that hangs on every refrigerator, in every house that you have lived in since college; its faded colors are no less vivid to you.
In your mind, there are no corners missing, and the yellow sweater that she was wearing hangs now in your own closet.
(Only you never wear it, because ironically, you don’t like to think of how much you miss her.)
Now that particular color yellow always makes you grin. And even though you never realize it, your lover does.
He watches with intense pride as the icing on your birthday cake (that same bright yellow) creaks across your face in a thin smile.
One of a million different smiles that you have, and no one realizes except him that it was for much more than just the wish you made.”

-Regan L. Beisenherz-


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