Wednesday, July 28, 2010

To sleep--perchance to dream

I've not mastered the art of sleeping in a barracks.

This is probably due to the fact that I joined the Army at such an advanced age (some would call it my "dotage"), and since that time not quite four years ago, I've been fortunate not to have to endure that trial very often.

Don't get me wrong -- I love my Soldiers and am glad to spend time with them and to do whatever they have to do. The ministry of presence which we Army Chaplains perform seems to help Soldiers significantly, and I'm honored to be able to do it.

But after 30 years of living on my own, essentially -- with my own room all to myself, however small a space that might be -- I've still not managed to accustom myself to multiple occupancy.

While I was on the Iraq mission, I shared a room with then-SFC McG for a month as we were training up, and a few days as we went through DEMOB. That wasn't *too* bad, though it did take some getting used to, and I didn't sleep all that well. Once in Iraq, I shared my hooch with another Chaplain for three weeks upon arrival, and then with my boss Chaplain for two weeks before he left country to return to the U.S.A.

Not my idea of a great time, but I managed.

But the lead-up to my Kosovo mission was something else. The first three weeks saw seven other people in the room. Then in the Midwest, there were eighteen others. Finally, in Germany, there were thirty-one. I basically did not get a good night's sleep for three months.


One of the best parts about being home is that I'll have space to myself at night!

Now, if I can only get my sleep cycle to correspond with the time zone I'm in....

Blessings and peace to one and all,

Fr. Tim, SJ
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