As a military spouse, you have to find the silver lining in tough situations. That’s our forte, right? Our spouses aren’t the only ones trained to be resilient. We learn it too, through the many unforeseen challenges we navigate. Rolling with the punches in military life is something we all must learn, it is a part of our journey. Our journeys are all different and some of us learn quicker than others, but we all learn eventually.
My first encounter with this hard truth was our family’s first PCS, across country, from Oklahoma to Upstate New York. I had our first “home” picked out months before our move, and even had a paint swatch picked out for each room. I memorized all the pictures and even had a few conversations with the owners who were going to rent it to us. I will never forget, after two solid days and three hours of driving, I got a phone call. They had rented the house out earlier that day to another family. WHAT??? Who do they think they are? I can’t believe this! NO, NO, NO, this isn’t happening! The realtor then proceeded to tell me, rather forcefully, that they had rented out the house to a family in need, one whose house had just burned down the night before. Instant perspective sprinkled with a lot of guilt. Okay, sure, dig out the drawing board and we will get back to work to find another house. Naturally, the situation worked itself out just as it was meant to. Later, we got to look at other houses on the street, and it turned out that none of our bedroom furniture would have fit up the narrow stairs or inside of the small northern closet-less rooms anyway. This was our first dose of the military life silver lining.
Did your coffee grounds spill this morning? See it as a chance to buy that new kind of coffee you’ve been wanting or treat yourself to a coffee shop run. Did you get a flat tire on the way back from dropping your spouse off for deployment? Don’t worry, you made it over your first gigantic hurdle, and you did great, this setback will be easy in comparison. Is there only ten dollars in your account, but five days left until payday? See it as a chance to unlock your inner creative chef and make the meals last.
Fast forward six years, and that silver lining perspective has saved us a lot of worry. This month alone, I had to call and cancel a vacation and my husband got a surprising new job What are the silver linings in these situations? They haven’t revealed themselves yet, but they will eventually. Sometimes it takes time to see them, but I know they will come. This lifestyle is unique. We give and sacrifice so much. However, we also get to live a life that is full of adventure. If you can see the unknowns, the surprises, and the blows as parts of the adventure and believe that one day you will see the silver linings, you will learn to live among the chaos in contentment. We live through challenges that most people wouldn’t understand. But that’s what this life is about, being called to life adapting to challenges for a cause that’s greater than ourselves. The best part of all of it is that we aren’t alone. We have a huge, supportive community that can all relate to each other. We are all full of stories of our experiences. As we continue to roll with the punches of military life, let’s find contentment in the unknowns as we wait for the silver linings to emerge.