January 17, 2017

Revisiting "Through" (2016's Word)

Just talking about words of the year or commitment of any kind can be hard to follow through with.

Through. Get it? Because through was my word for 2016.

This choice was specific to deployment and....[pauses to go re-read post from last year]...it was unique to getting through an entire year of seasons on my own. I had some reflections on the "gift" of deployment that I posted in December, and now I'll share some ideas that I jotted down over the summer, which was the hardest part of this latest deployment for me. I mean, the last month always is the slowest and that was October/November, but summer was really difficult for me.

For me, through was about getting through one hassle and moving onto the next. I knew deployment would be that way. It always is. It was about getting through the seasons, the months, the weeks, the days, the hours. Through is HARD.

After almost two months of hunting, I killed a rattlesnake back in June. Initially, I assumed that if I could just kill this rattlesnake, life would be easier. A couple of weeks into carrying a shotgun around every day, I realized that this was, in fact, just one snake. Killing one rattlesnake was not going to solve my problem. There are thousands of rattlesnakes in southern Colorado and half of them probably live on or around my property. There will always be another one. There will always be something else. There will always another place for me to focus my worry and stress.

I had a revelation recently, as I waited outside the vet's office with Jett. They wouldn't let him inside the waiting room in case his cough was contagious.

This isn't brand new information, but it was comforting to realize as I was desperately waiting for things to even out: Life is just tackling one hurdle after another. That's all it can be because there will always be something else, waiting around the bend, to test you. If you're waiting for smooth sailing and perfection, it won't happen. There will never be a perfect time for anything. There will be perfect days, yes. There will not be a perfect timeline of events that make you feel like you have everything under absolute control. For example...

+ I took Jett to the vet. He started coughing and it went on for two days and was very odd. An appointment was made, $97 was spent, and we were back to giving a pill twice a day. It seems like one of these dogs is always on medication of some sort.

+The next day, I had to go to the doctor, but as I started the car, the low air pressure light came on: one of my tires was going flat.  So I went to the doctor, taking the long way, because there was no way I was taking the shorter route through the bad part of town with a problem tire. Then I went to Big O to have the tire repaired. Whilst there, they handed me a quote for new tires; I knew this was coming. I was told by Toyota a year ago that I needed new tires "soon". It's "soon". $612 later, I left Big O. When I lamented to Scott, he said, "Yes, things cost money", and I do realize that there are few better investments than good and safe tires. I knew if I put it off, it would loom over my to-do list and I was already sitting in the waiting room with a book, so another 30 minutes wouldn't be the worst thing in the world.

+Then, on the Fourth of July, my phone stopped working. A problem with the SIM card, apparently? I took the card out and it didn't solve the problem. Since I tried everything I could find to do via Google, I went to the Apple Store in Briargate, which is like an hour away. They were very nice and all. They fixed it, but since it can be a reoccurring problem, I'm to take it back for diagnostic testing and a potential new phone if it happens again.

So anyway. 

I think I've been mismanaging my thoughts. I keep waiting for things to even out, and they'll never actually even out. While it's impossible to anticipate these things (aside from the tires), I (we) have to be ready and on guard, prepared to tackle whatever comes next. It can be exhausting during this season of deployment, but it's less stressful to be flexible than it is to freak out every other day about something. Because freaking out every other day is exhausting. While I'm not advocating pessimism, it's easy to go with the flow when you're not set on things being perfect.

Looking back on that, written in July, and re-reading the Through post from March, I still really like the word through. I like what it encouraged me to do. I like that it kept me going. I like that it still applies to my life because there's always, indeed, something to go through. There will always be a struggle of some sort because that is life as a human being. I don't want a tattoo, but if I had to pick one word to get as a tattoo, it'd be the word through.

And, just to show the symbolism of where through can get you, I swapped out my Robert Frost quote for a picture of the homecoming ceremony:

I need the visual, you know? It's a good reminder that we go through things for a reason. 


  1. Well dammit. That visual brought tears to my eyes. I know you've said you're working on a book--but after reading this post I really want you to make that a priority. This was so beautifully written, friend. And I'm so glad you made it...through.

  2. You're so right on all of this - I think when I hear about people in the olden days, or whatever you want to call it, they always have a perspective of, "That's just life.", and yes, you're right, life is just tackling one hurdle after another. It's a lot nicer to do it with someone alongside, but knowning that won't always be the case is also a good revelation (for me, anyway). Also, I don't know how I missed that you killed a rattlesnake, but I would have probably died.

  3. Robert Frost was a smart cookie.

  4. Yes!!! You made it through 2016 and did it wonderfully!

  5. I think getting through is dependent on the situation. Some things are hurdles to conquer and others are things to enjoy.


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