Relief, Guilt, and Deployment

One of the first things I do every morning when I get to work is open up my Internet Explorer homepage, which is set to Fox News. Then, my eyes scan all the headlines for anything pertaining to “Afghanistan.” In recent weeks, I expect news every day with how precarious and dangerous the situation is with all the rioting and now rampant distrust. Today there was a headline:

6 UK Troops Missing, Presumed Dead in Afghanistan

My eyes immediately latched onto “Afghanistan” and then read the beginning. “U….K.” My first thought was, “Oh good, it’s not US soldiers” and I felt very relieved.

But following that feeling of relief was a feeling of guilt. Those 6 British soldiers were no less valuable than our American soldiers. They’re our allies, they are our soldiers’ brothers-in-arms. They are fighting for freedom and against the terrorists. But why did I feel relief? Not because I was glad UK soldiers died instead of US soldiers. But because since it said “UK” instead of “US,” there was NO possible way that anything had happened to The Warrior.

I certainly mourn for those soldiers and their families because it is such a huge loss for them. They gave their lives for their country and for freedom. It is just very confusing to feel relief when you read of deaths, and then guilt gets entangled in that. Especially since “UK” is almost like “US,” I almost had to do a double-take.

These are just a couple of the feelings surrounding deployment. Some of them only my journal will know, until I die and my descendants grab hold of that pink camouflage notebook to see “what the heck did great-grandma write back in 2012???” Some of them I’ll share only with The Warrior after he’s back and has fully reintegrated. Some of them I will openly share on here, as long as I’m sure they aren’t super emotionally-charged (which I was wont to do in now-deleted blogs of my earlier days).

Hope, worry, relief, loneliness, happiness…ALL those emotions could wash over me in the course of a single day during this deployment, or even in the course of a few hours. Yet today in the car I was reminded of how I am supposed to be throughout all this, in a song by Matthew West:


“I know I’m not strong enough to be

everything that I’m supposed to be

I give up

I’m not strong enough.

Hands of Mercy, won’t you cover me

Lord right now, I’m asking you to be

strong enough

for the both of us.

I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength.”


As I wrote about previously here, I do succumb to the I-can-do-everything-on-my-own-all-the-time-no-one-help-me mindset….more often than I’d care to admit. But as I wrote to The Warrior in the past month, the reason I’ve been able to endure this deployment and all its brought with it is because of an infinite Love. Obviously God sustains even non-believers that make it through deployment, even if they don’t know it…but were it not for my faith, it would’ve been very easy to walk away because it was “too hard,” because I wouldn’t have been able to see the long-term benefit that suffering has for both our souls. I wouldn’t believe that DF’s sacrifices do more than help secure our earthly freedom. Patriotic feelings only go so far. There is a HUGE spiritual element to all this, and even though we will only fully understand it in Heaven, I know it’s true.

“…we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not disappoint us, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.” ~Romans 5:3-5


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