It is another Tuesday and another prompt word. This week’s prompt is BELIEVE. I don’t really know where this post came from. It is one of my favorite parts about prompt word writing. You find out what is inside your mind waiting to come out. I hope you enjoy this post and how it ties believing in yourself to my Afghanistan adventure.
Believe in who you are…
Believe in what you can become…
And you will be able to go farther than you ever thought possible.
I was selected to be part of a Provincial Reconstruction Team (PRT) when I deployed to Afghanistan in 2010. I wasn’t selected because of my qualifications or because of who I was, it was just that my name was at the top of the list and it was my time, my turn to go.
Before I left I was scared. Scared of dying and not coming home. Scared that I would be asked to give the ultimate sacrifice for my country. I was worried for my parents and my husband. I remember sitting in a meeting with my commander and he was talking about when I got home from the deployment and all I could think about was if I would actually be coming home. I didn’t know how to think about the future with so much uncertainty and unknown ahead.
At church the week before I left for training I guess my mind had enough. I broke down in the service as the congregation sang, “Take my life and let it be for your glory.” I felt like that song was in the service just for me and from that point I think something changed. I still had the fear I wouldn’t come home, but somehow I knew even if that happened everything would be okay.
I haven’t really thought about how scared I was before I left. Maybe because once I arrived, okay maybe not once, but a few weeks after I arrived I realized many of my fears were just things I had created in my mind. By the end of the deployment rocket blast didn’t faze me and I no longer was afraid.
Going to Afghanistan forever altered my life and who I was, but it changed me in ways I would not have expected. The main thing I learned about myself is that I truly can do anything. I did not want to go “outside the wire” (for you non-military types this means go off base) away from safety and out into the unknown. But the memories I treasure most from my deployment was interacting with the people when I was out in their country. I saw and experienced so many things that wouldn’t have been possible by just sitting on the Forward Operating Base. Before I left, I would have said I was unlucky to get stuck on an Army deployment, but looking back I wouldn’t change it for another one. It was hard, it often times wasn’t fun, but I think the only way you can grow is in times like these.
So I’m not suggesting you go on a year of discovery by going to Afghanistan, but I hope you can push yourself to go out of your comfort zone. You will likely be surprised at how strong you are and what you can accomplish. Things you probably can’t even imagine are possible. If I can survive a firefight and so much unknown, I know you can take that first step.