Riding the Pendulum

The past week has been a challenge. I really feel the pendulum swing in my emotions. I’ve been trained for this, though. I’ve had these feelings bottling up inside of me over the last few days and have shared and listened to buddies who share the same feelings. It’s just tough. So, I’m gonna just free fire this writing and vomit all of it out.

A little about my background for context. I served in the Army for 26 years, retiring in April 2018. During that time I also contracted out to the CIA for 7 years (2005-2012). Most of those 7 years were in Afghanistan with some of that time in other countries. That was a great time in my life. The friendships I made are strong to this day, the work was what I wanted to do growing up and the money was good. I hated the time away from my wife and kids and it was part of the sacrifice. In 2017 I attended a program for combat vets that helped me work through and learn ways to manage life after the war. In 2012, a knee injury in Kandahar sidelined me and eventually retired me from my work with the agency. I struggled pretty hard after that. The program I attended changed my life and reminded me that I own my choices and actions. Do I still struggle? Absolutely. I just do it better now.

A couple years after completing the program for combat vets, I was asked to be on the Mobile Training Team. I accepted and we traveled around the country delivering the program. I was in a great place, doing what I loved and serving brothers and sisters who were walking the path I had walked. I recently resigned that position in June due to mandatory “vaccine” shot requirements to maintain my employment with them. I declined, resigned and here I am. No hard feelings and am very grateful for having had the opportunity to work in that capacity. Life is good, I’m happy and eager for the next chapter in my book.

What has gone on this past week in Afghanistan has been a gut punch. We all knew it was coming, so it’s no surprise. However, for me, I didn’t expect it to go down like this. I don’t think anyone did. That’s my first problem. I’ve told my kids and wife for years this very famous “Hoodizm” in our home. “Expectations lead to hurt feelings”. Knowing the Afghan people, their culture, history, etc., it’s not really a surprise to hear of Afghans laying down their arms and walking away or literally walking over to join the Taliban. However, not all are like that. There are quite a few who have the lion in them. General Dostum’s Northern Alliance soldiers, Massoud’s soldiers and many others are true freedom fighters and they are fighting for their lives as I write this. There is a lot the media isn’t/won’t cover. There is a lot we’re not hearing. After receiving reports from friends who are there I am reassured and relieved to know that it’s not exactly what the media makes it out to be.

I’m writing this to “gas off” some frustrations, sadness and concern. I’m concerned for those I worked closely with. Some became like family, like brothers. When I began to get stuck thinking about them, getting angry and sad I recognize it. I recognize at that moment that I have choice to make. Continue being stuck or quit sulking and work thru it. There is nothing I can do about the situation. I can, however, pray. I believe that God can and does perform miracles. I can shift my negative thoughts to positive thoughts. I can reflect on myself and family. I can shift from, “All those years. All that time spent away from home. All my friends who were killed or injured. My permanent injury. What a waste of money, resources and lives”, to “I believe we made an impact. I believe those who were born during our time over there have gotten the taste of freedom. I believe that they are capable of realizing that this is not what they want for a country and society. My thoughts are that what we were able to accomplish was making an impact to instill hope. Now it’s time for them to carry the sword and, like America and Britain, they can fight for their independence and freedom. They can end the generational and social influence of Sharia Law and oppression. They can be free and prosperous.

I pray for our soldiers, humanitarians, missionaries and buddies over there right now fighting to survive, protect and make an everlasting difference. Governments in a Republic are like seasons. They change. Some bring beautiful days and some bring dreary days. Those governments are temporary and are not permanent. Yes, I believe our current government has mishandled this situation, but what I believe and think doesn’t matter. How I continue to act, think and influence my friends and family are what matters. How I teach my kids to have gratitude matters. We, me and my family, lean into God in Heaven during this time. Not only for Afghanistan but for the world. In this time of war, sickness, division, confusion and simply being without direction, we lean into knowing that God’s plan is perfect and like seasons, this will change.

Thank you for reading as I share.

“Dictated but not read”. – Abraham Lincoln

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