To read Part 1 of this story, click here. A quick recap… yesterday I shared about how surprised I was that the grief of leaving Germany has hit me this hard.
— — — — — — — — — — — — — — — —
Ultimately it’s not Germany that I miss so much, although Germany was beautiful and very welcoming. I enjoyed it, but what I’ve discovered is I miss the connectedness we had while we lived in Germany. We had such a tight-knit group of relationships because we were the minority. Americans living in Europe develop strong relationships based on the fact that we are in a world we are trying to learn, trying to understand. We do our best to participate in the German culture: we learn some of the language, buy some things on the economy, travel to places previously only seen in moves or read about in books, but the majority of our lives is spent in a small community of other Americans like us, enjoying the benefits of travel and adventure and commiserating about the difficulties of being in a place with far fewer conveniences than we’re used to. If you’re a military member, you know the tight-knit feeling we have with other military families. That feeling becomes even tighter when you take a bunch of Americans and throw them together in a land where we are the minority. It is a community unlike any I’ve ever experienced. I miss it.
I also think my lack of connectedness is accentuated by the fact that we landed in a strange season of remarkable disconnectedness. We are at a six-month school, knowing that we are not here for long. We made a decision to go to an off-post church, one where we could sit under the preaching of a pastor Matt highly respects and has been listening to via podcast for a few years. While we love going, we haven’t taken the time to get connected in any deeper way than Sunday mornings. If we were to go to that church long-term we’d join small groups, volunteer, and invest our lives in various ministries within. And, I just have to say this, it’s not a military church so it lacks a huge component of what we love about Army Chapels… even though attenders of a military chapel come from all sorts of different denominational backgrounds, there is a unity that goes way beyond the title “General Protestant.” Those of us who are members of the military community (and those involved in it overseas due to jobs they are doing for the military) have a connectedness that those in regular churches don’t have. I’ve been deeply involved in three churches in my life, and several Army chapels. There is something special and precious about chapels. Don’t get me wrong… churches are great. I am sure we’ll retire (or otherwise leave the military) someday and we’ll get connected into a local church. But we will always treasure the bonds formed with other believers who live this special lifestyle.
So I hurt. Just a little, in comparison to those who are hurting over lost loved ones, missing soldiers (Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl), illness, and deployments. But my hurt is hurt nonetheless and it counts. So I will allow myself this season to grieve. In the three days that I’ve spent writing this out I am already starting to see things a little more clearly. Just now I can start to sense the sun coming up. I take great comfort in Psalm 30:5 and the songs that have been written which include the words: There may be pain in the night, but joy comes in the morning.
I have hope that soon I can join Parker in saying “The morning is awake!”
— — — — — — — — — — — — — — — —
Part 3 will post tomorrow, and will give you a little idea of how I’m doing today. These three posts were written mid-April.