I have thoughts, and then I reflect on certain things. Perhaps I need to start sharing those reflections with others. These reflections come from the past, and often have hints of my spirituality in them.
For example, there have been two dates recently that I have reflected on or somewhere near. One is September 26th, the other is October 11th.
September 26th was the sixth anniversary of me entering active duty and reporting the basic training. I have often wondered since then whether I did the right thing. My job is quite thankless. Not a lot of people on base like us. I cannot remember the last time I went to help someone out rather than bust them for doing something stupid. I have had people I thought were friends turn around and spread nasty rumors behind my back. I have had other friends turn around, take leave of any common sense and good judgment they had, and do something beyond stupid and ruin their careers over it. I have lost days of work for stupid, pointless appointments. I cannot guarantee my time off. I have had sleep and meals interrupted. At my last base, I lived off of four hours of sleep a night just so I could have some semblance of a personal life. I have had to explain to people why I sometimes take my time eating, as though savoring every bite. I have had to explain to others how I can inhale my food so quickly. My job has too much politics, too many liars, not nearly enough honesty, too many hypocrites, and more.
Yet, so does the rest of society. I can say the last six years have been an eye opening experience. I honestly thought I knew somewhat how the world worked when I joined the military six years ago. I had no clue.
At the same time, I have met some of the best people, who I would have had no hope of meeting had I stayed in Seattle. I have seen many more places that I would not have seen. The military is full of its downs, but sometimes the ups really do make up for it. One just has to remember them. It is not easy, by any means, but I try. I try my hardest to remember the good that has come.
October 11th marked the tenth anniversary of a friend's death. He was 21 when he died. I met him at the recreation center where both of us worked as lifeguards and swim instructors. He was so full of energy and had so many plans and dreams that were on the verge of coming true. Then, on October 11, 1997, he went scuba diving with a friend, and something went horribly wrong. He drowned, and his friend ended up in the hospital for several hours after rushing to the surface to get help. His body was found a month later.
This is one of the things that has often lead me to question why so many things happen to believers. We suffer greatly, and yet we try to find a way to praise God. If we seek His comfort, He provides it. But how many people forget in their pain to seek Him? I know I have. Too many times, in fact. But those times are not as frequent as they used to be. Does the pain fade? Not always.
It took a long time to get over my friend's death. His death was my first experience of losing someone that I knew well. I have lost one of my grandfathers and at least two classmates since then. Grieving does not get easier with each death. I have found that it tends to reopen the other wounds.