Thursday, September 17, 2009

Once upon a time.... pt. 2

Two days after my encounter with the General, the other shoe dropped.

Someone important from Summer Camp - South paid a visit to the FOB where we were staying, and before we all had sat down, someone else from the unit deploying to Iraq (whom I'd thought would have been an advocate) told this guy, "Sir! I've got to tell you that *I'm* not the one who went outside the chain here!"

That sound you just heard and the bump you felt was the wheels of the bus rolling over my lifeless corpse.

Thanks, Sir. You really know how to support a guy.

(I found out later that he was concerned that he might not come out on the promotion list to be published shortly thereafter, and I guess he wanted to make sure that some upstart Chaplain wannabe didn't upset his apple cart.)

If that weren't bad enough, my comrade said exactly the same thing twice more during the rather strained and awkward conversation that followed.

A thousand thanks for each of those, Sir! May I have another?

Making the encounter even more surreal and uncomfortable was the fact that the visitor had a smile that never changed shape (think: Joker from the Batman franchise). It was odd and disquieting. In excelsis.

I basically couldn't sit down for a week after the verbal barrage finished. (Anyone from the military will infer the technical phrase to describe this experience.)

Oh well. This is not a career for me; I knew that from before Day One.

As difficult as the prior experience and its aftermath proved to be, I surprised myself by plunging forward into the barrage. I didn't know I had it in me.

My goal in joining the military at such an old age was to try to be of service to Soldiers. Despite not being able to sit down figuratively, and the incredible heat and humidity of the non-air-conditioned tents notwithstanding, the night after the second visitor showed up, I slept really well.

But wait, there's more!

Blessings and peace to one and all,

Fr. Tim, SJ

No comments:

Powered By Ringsurf