Friday, April 10, 2009


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No, wait a minute. Got a little carried away there.

Okay. Back to the subject.

Tonight I was channel-surfing on the boob tube. I needed some mindless but remotely entertaining show to waste a half-hour on while still being able to concentrate on the lesson I am teaching on Sunday.

And there, right on the menu guide, the MOST mindless shows ever invented - "Deal Or No Deal"!!
I love Howie Mandel; I just admire how he can compliment those illusionary models without coming across as lecherous - to be around insanely excited people who insist on touching his germaphobic self and he deals with it (no pun intended) so graciously - and genuinely come across as pleased (or disappointed) with the show's results as the contestant.

A perfect way to waste time on a Friday evening when it's dark enough that you can't go play with the horses and your husband has already taken his sleeping medication and can't communicate in any known language.

And I was even more enthused when Howie introduced the contestant - a lovely young woman who was married to a Marine!

I used to make fun of Marines - as all Army and Air Force individuals are trained subliminally to do - until I worked on a Marine base (as opposed to an Army post) and learned that Marines normally do about six times as much as any other branch of service for no more money, no extra rank, just to be a Marine.

Insanity? Perhaps. I'm just grateful they're on our side.

So this woman comes out on Deal or No Deal, introduces herself as a Marine wife, and THEN - I am shaking with rage as I type this - says, and I'm quoting (well, actually, badly paraphrasing):

"But we've been at _______ (some duty station) for two months, and" this is the part that got me "I have no FRIENDS OR FAMILY HERE." (emphasis added).

And then the audience is supposed to go, "Ohhh..." in sympathy and understanding.

I actually don't KNOW if the audience followed their clue and went "Ohhh," because I found myself standing and SHOUTING at the television, "WHAT THE *#%$^& ARE YOU COMPLAINING ABOUT, GIRLFRIEND!!??"

Military wives, who either marry a guy in the service or follow their husbands when he joins the military (SIDEBAR: I am totally and completely and unreservedly being sexist when I am saying active-duty husband and military wives... because that's usually how it goes) have to quickly learn a couple of important lessons:

1. You make friends QUICKLY, because you don't have years and years to gradually get to know your neighbors - at best you have MONTHS before they or you are transferred.

2. You FIND your military family - your mom can't always fly to another continent when the baby gets sick, so you learn to rely on women whose husband's work in the same office as your husband, whose husbands are off in Iraq or Germany or Florida as often as yours is. You find your church family - you find out that the new friends you have just made need your help also.

If I sound callous, cruel and unsympathetic, it's because I've been there way too many times.

I get incredibly impatient with people who feel lonely - because I have perhaps an incredibly simple answer - GET OVER YOURSELF AND GO OUT AND HELP SOME BODY ELSE.

Every non-profit organization in the United States needs volunteers. American Cancer Association - Heart Associate - VFWs. Every single school in every single state would LOVE to have someone to help file, assist teachers, watch over the lunchroom.

We as humans, ALL of us, want some one else to pick us up, to love us, to care for us. And we can't get it through our incredibly THICK skulls that EVERYONE ELSE feels exactly the same way. We are ALL walking around in our little cloud of loneliness and despair, and with our emotional and spiritual blinkers on, can't see the precise same type of fog over the people next to us.

Sorry. This is a soapbox I've stood one again and again. And I am certain I will stand on it again.


Because I need to keep being reminded of this exact lesson.
Again. And again. And again.
Get out of yourself - do something for some one else- you will feel better, and you will begin to develop friendships. And you will find your family - the ones who aren't related to you.

I promise.


Lisa said...

You are too right about military wives . . . friendships need to be on the fast track! Within a few days of moving to Vance AFB, I made a friend across the street who ended up coming to our house at 2:30 am when my water broke with Clayton (after we'd been there 2 weeks). And we returned the favor about 8 months later.

Needless to say, she and I are friends for life.

Sailing Past Maturity Straight into Senility said...

Something I absolutely adore is that through both church callings and military life, you learn to love people you would probably never have had anything to do with otherwise!

Ain't it GREAT?