It’s been two months since I have written, and despite all of the things happening in the world that I feel so passionately about, I am sitting in front of my computer with what feels like nothing to say.
As has been the case for many of you, it’s been a hard year here. It’s been a hard year for the whole world.
I feel incredibly (x2) lucky to be living through this global pandemic in Germany. Here in Germany, masks are compulsory and hand washing is easily made available, and by way of good leadership and citizen participation, our numbers have been kept relatively at bay. While there are small protests popping up, more or less it appears that the German citizens trust their government to implement measures that take care of them. Because of this, and our SOFA status, we have been able to go back to traveling…another thing I feel intensely grateful for.
I also feel incredibly lucky to be part of the military…an organization with a number of faults I have talked about in other posts, but one with incredible job security in a time where people are getting laid-off left and right.
This doesn’t come without cost however. I miss my parents, and I worry about my grandparents, and living through a hard time when all I want to do is hug my people is only a small part of what we give up to have beautiful opportunities abroad.
It’s not been easy to watch what is happening back home in the United States from abroad. Watching leadership try to lead appears comical at best and immoral at worst. The knowledge of the job losses and economic devastation is of deep concern for it is not only the immediate effects on our nation that I worry about, but the long term affects this has on families and children and law. There are days I wonder when our citizens all simultaneously lost their empathy and traded love of neighbor for self-righteous indignation.
When I look at our country from far away, I sometimes wonder what my husband is fighting to protect anymore.
I sometimes wonder what we collaboratively are sacrificing our time, lives and livelihoods for.
I wonder if it was worth missing my sister-in-law’s wedding or all of the barbecues and Christmases and funerals for.
And to be honest, as a proud American who is watching this shit-show in my country unfold…other than missing my family, I literally have zero interest in returning home.
This is pretty true for a lot of us living here. (Supposedly) Soon troops will be moved back stateside, as has been recently announced by President Trump. The media will call it a win. They will say that we are bringing troops home. The media will glorify the homecoming of American soldiers.
To be honest, a lot of us want nothing to do with that. We are content right where we are, and we want nothing to do with our country’s petty arguments over the liberty of a piece of cloth.
It’s a weird series of emotional dichotomies I have been sitting in.
I feel less connected to the American people than ever.
As of today, I have traveled to 42 states and 11 countries. This travel has fucked me up in the best ways possible. I’ve had the opportunity to work in so many different communities and talk to so many different types of people.
It’s taught me the weight the word “American” carries around the world.
It’s taught me how completely and utterly privileged I am without even knowing it.
It’s taught me how sadly disconnected the American people are from the struggles not only of other American’s, but of the rest of the world…myself included.
It’s taught me just how little we recognize our powerful global influence…and in how many ways we are abusing this position of power. It’s funny to see how as American’s we feel abused by those in power, but yet we fail to see that on the global stage we are the power that the rest of the world often feels abused by.
It has also taught me that we are the power a lot of the world feels very protected by.
It’s taught me that the world looks to us for so much, and while ill avidly stand by the fact that we do so much good in the world, I am finding myself ashamed of what the world sees when they look west. The good that we do in the world is often catalyzed by a small group of dedicated Americans rather than by the masses, but my God I cannot even imagine how beautiful the world would be if every American took up a greater cause than self. We keep fighting each other when there are more important wars to fight.
But the flip side of that is recognizing that I know all of these things because of our service to country. It feels so wrong to feel so disconnected from the American people when it is because of service to those people that I know what I know.
In the days that have passed over the last two months, I have taken a social media break. In feeling so detached from the American people, and so overwhelmed by the state of the world, and in entering a new chapter of life, I have not been sure what to write.
The only thing I have had on my heart for the last few months is this. The world is not easy. It’s not fair. It never was, and it likely never will be. We need not believe the lie of entitlement that tells us that we are the victim. We are not. We are part of a dynamic fight and in this fight, all we have is God, each other and time. But instead of picking up this fight, we have chosen to spend our time fighting each other. And my God, I am so tired of fighting things that deserve no energy when there are more important fights to be had. So instead I have chosen to take up my time differently.
Instead of writing, I’ve gone for a run. I’ve spent time investing in relationships that feed my spirit, and pulled back from ones that make me feel small or hard to love. I’ve had a little more than my fair share of beer, but also a few really good laughs to go with it. I’ve made some mistakes, and I have grown a little bit more as a person. I’ve pet my dogs and watered my yard and eaten an absurd amount of hummus and I’ve starred at the flowers and I have prayed.
I put the weight of the world down for a minute. I put the weight of my own self-perception down for a minute. I put the weight of wanting to please my readers with content I wasn’t emotionally ready to produce down for a minute. I put it all down for a minute.
Maybe I am saying this for me, or maybe I am saying this for you, but sometimes we need to release our grip and put things down and be gentle with ourselves.
The truth is, I haven’t known what to write. I haven’t felt like fighting. I’ve wanted the world to be different, and in wanting that, I have spent time on activities and people that help me to create that world in which I want to live.
I needed to put down the weight of things I no longer wanted to carry, so I could pick of the weight of the things I care about more.
And when I know what to say about it all, I will be sure to tell you more.
I hope you can do the same.