Saturday, February 17, 2007

Some things change, somethings remain the same....

Thoughts for 17 February 2007

This is normally a busy month when I am at home. That doesn’t go away because there are four birthdays this month. My dad on the 1st, Rick my step brother on the 2nd, Faith my niece on the 14th and Stephanie my daughter on the 28th, so happy birthday to you all.

My family back home has interesting things going on. Visits to the doctor, trips planned, grades turned in, car problems returning home to cause further issues. Life is truly full without considering what is going on here which is that we have gained a number of new soldiers to work with internally and with the ANA. We have to bring them up to speed on the area, the customs of the people we work with, and get them as competent as possible as fast as possible, so that they can conduct safe operations while they are here.

We are working with the ISAF forces, and like all things that are done by committee, nothing is ever simple or easy. My entire military career has been based upon a chain of command and troop leading procedures. In this situation we have very convoluted lines of communication, multiple chains of command, different methods inherent in our cultures clash with each other, and in this situation compromise is not a great thing. Try imagining compromise between making an apple pie and a chocolate cake, using 3/4ths of the ingredients, and only one pan. You get neither a great cake nor a good pie. That might be okay in a stew, but this ain’t stew.

Relationships seem to take an additional strain as distance and time work on them. Some come through in beautiful condition. Some show the natural fractures that already existed, but are made more apparent by time, and distance, and strong personalities. The good news is that my wife and family and I, I believe are stronger and better together, I have always loved my wife, our time together has always seemed to fly, it has gone so fast, we have yet to have had a significant argument in our time together, and we respect and value each other more as the days go by I think. That is true for me.

I have never wanted to end friendships, because I have been fortunate to have such wonderful people enter my life. In spite of my wishes however I have had some relationships with people whom I really valued go by the wayside. You can never truly figure out the why of that, there is always so much that contributes to it. Religion, politics, personal actions, they all play a part. So does the fact that people in their 20-50’s are raising families, and rightfully their energies and focus are on raising their children. The other thing that I notice is that I expect less of the people I meet going forward, which makes me more reliant on both myself and my existing network of friends and family.

Here are a couple of things that I have figured out that help me keep it in perspective.

1. The phone, road, and email traffic work both ways, when some one says that they haven’t heard from me in a while, the flip side of that is that I haven’t heard from them either.
2. We all make mistakes, sometimes you make mistakes with people that are not truly repairable, and while that is unfortunate, it is also part of life. Even forgiveness doesn’t truly fix that.
3. It is still important to try and do the right thing, even if others don’t understand.
4. At the end of the day, your family, and some special friends are all that truly will care whether or not you are doing okay. We just don’t have enough emotional load capacity to care about everyone we know equally.
5. People do what it is their nature to do. Scorpions sting frogs, givers give, takers take, and the rest of the population does what it is in their nature to do. That is a pretty difficult thing to overcome. Mother Teresa was sainted I believe, however she also probably did exactly what it was in her nature to do, which was help others.
6. It helps me to ask for serenity, courage, and wisdom from God, because it is proven over and over to me that I don’t know it all, I am not always right, and yet I am the one I have to trust the most to do what I have been taught is right.

Okay, that is the end of my rambling. I think I will begin to get more pictures and things of what is going on in this part of the world again, as missions seem to be picking up.




Donna said...

As always, your blog post has touched me and in many ways echos my deployment feelings. Thanks for the stew analogy and the list to keep it in perspective. Well said!

Alice Widman said...

Hi Keith,
You're a good man, Keith McNeilly!
Since I am the horoscope sign of Scorpio, I have read about the characteristics of scorpions. Another feature of scorpions is that when trapped, they sting themselves to death rather than surrender. For some twisted reason, I have always rather admired that trait.
Love, Alice

Rick Weimer said...

Hey Keith,

Thanks for the Birthday wishes! I hope things are going good and we can't wait to see you home safe again. Keep up the good work because what your doing is truly great whether or not people agree or disagree on the war. Love you man.


Josh said...

Yeah, that'd be a bad cake. Sounds like China, always compromising to try and get anything done.

Sorry about the relationships, it does suck when that happens. I've lost many great friends and I honestly have no clue where they are, what they're doing, etc. I feel bad, but I move on.

Leo said...

I appreciate you sharing your thoughts. It has given many a picture of where you are that we could not receive any other way. So thank you for them.