I was out walking one evening recently, as the sun was setting beyond the Aviation hangars. I’ve been mobilized or deployed now for almost two full years, and I’m aware of getting tired. Now that I’ve started doing a lot of flying late at night with my new friends in Task Force Aviation (TF AVN), I’m aware of how tired I am. It’s been a great ride so far, over the past almost-two years, that’s for sure!
The color of the clouds reminded me of how important it is to pay attention to my surroundings, even (especially) when I’m tired. Had I been trudging along, wrapped up in thought, or just completely lights-out and self-obsessed, I’d have missed the transient and fragile beauty of those few moments.
A lot of my comrades here are also pretty tired of being here, but they’re a bit grumpier about that than I am (I know you’ll find that hard to believe). Many are counting down weeks and days, and are convinced they’re not having any fun now (in many cases, because they’re not permitted to drink alcohol here), and that they’re incapable of having fun until they’re back home (or at least, somewhere else other than here).
I’ve been suggesting to them (because I’m suggesting to myself) that if we allow ourselves to have a good time today – in this particular moment – we’ll actually have a good time today. When I was in Iraq at Camp Liberty, there was very little in the way of beautiful landscaping, for example, and it was certainly an option to permit the almost-overwhelming drabness to monopolize my attention. But had I allowed that to happen, I’d have missed the occasional and surprising instances of beauty which fed my spirit and delighted my senses.
Blessings and peace to one and all,
Fr. Tim, SJ