Sunday, November 21, 2010
Before I deployed for six months to Iraq I thought that I would write about the many lessons learned throughout my time there. If you read my last post you know why that didn't happen. I thought that upon my return I would write about some of the lessons learned during my deployment once I had some time to reflect on all that I had experienced. That really hasn't happened either so far. So I find it a bit ironic that after a week back in the states adjusting to my old (but seemingly new) life that my first inkling to write again is not on the topic of what I learned in the desert of the middle east but what I have learned about my life stateside.
I have always been an optimist. Not a blind idealist by any means, but definitely someone who seeks to find the best in most situations. However after being purged of all but a few remnants of my stateside life for last six months, I now find my optimism optimized.
Like balance in anything else sometimes it takes the tough times to appreciate the good times. Although I never want to deploy and be away from the life I have built again, I am grateful for the experience because it has given me the ability to truly see how blessed my life really is.
The first few days I was back in Boston with my wife I could not stop gazing outside at the colors that were almost blinding after six months of different shades of brown. The sight of people living, working, and playing together in the neighborhood was suddenly a beautiful glance into what we have in this country and what our freedoms are all about. Holding my wife on a nice comfortable couch enjoying some good tea and even better conversation was the most fulfilling and enjoyable experience in the world.
I feel that with my small contribution overseas I have been given the gift that many great men and women veterans before me have been given; the gift of perspective. I can see now why most veterans are passionate people that enjoy life and love their country. They have seen what other areas of the world are missing. They have tasted the bitterness of sacrifice, many of them much more so than I ever did. They have felt the deep longing for loved ones and for a simple life back home. Most importantly, veterans have experienced the overwhelming feeling of a return home to a familiar life with a completely unfamiliar but glorious clarity of just how great the gift of life truly is.