I joined the Army the day after I turned 18 for a reason. I tried to join at 17 but needed BOTH parents to sign even if they were not involved. No exception unless they were dead. Unfortunately for me, they both were alive and kicking.
I moved out of my mother's at 17 into a healthier although not ideal environment. I lived in a piece of shit trailer with 3 30 something crack heads. Pun intended. It was the first time I saw grown adults crawling on the ground eating whatever was on the floor in case it happened to be a rock. That enforced my desire to say no to drugs which I held to until my resolve was broken by death. Read that story in My Testimony. Somewhere around January 08. No idea how to link.
I resolved to leave the small town in Southern Louisiana as soon as I could and vowed never to return. I knew by the time I was 18 that my drinking was out of control so collage would be a waste of money and possibly the death of me. I was interested in Law Enforcement and was told military experience helped that career. That was where I got the idea of a free ticket out of town.
I left less than a month after graduating high school for Alabama. I made it through Basic Training and began my specialty schooling to be a Military Police officer. I had my ideas for what I thought I wanted to do and I made these cute little plans in my head. Not really knowing how things usually went down, I was hit pretty hard with my orders for my first duty station.
Almost everyone got sent overseas. A few did not but were going to highly deployable units which meant they may be based in the States but got sent overseas where ever there was action. It was Saudi at the time. There was a single mother of 2 and a married guy with 3 kids that got nice little assignments but when it came down to it, we either were going to Saudi, Germany for a 3 year term or the one I got; Korea for a year. I was devastated at the time, not having a clue how good I had it.
Korea is a whole other story.
From Korea, I got a cush assignment in Georgia. I was in a relationship with someone higher in rank that knew the ropes and pulled some strings for me. I loved Georgia. I was there a while too. Maybe over 3 years. I considered staying there after I got out. But by then I was in a different relationship with a guy from Florida and the beaches were calling out to me. So when I got out of the Army, I headed to Florida to try to find a life there.
As I type I hear the Casting Crowns song playing in my head because I lived it. The one called Does Anybody Hear Her
She is running a hundred miles an hour in the wrong direction
She is trying but the canyon's ever widening in the depths of her cold heart
So she sets out on another misadventure just to find
She's another two years older and she's three more steps behind
Does anybody hear her? Can anybody see?Or does anybody even knows she's going down today
Under the shadow of our steeple with all the lost and lonely people
Searching for the hope that's tucked away in you and me
Does anybody hear her? Can anybody see?
She is yearning for shelter and affection
That she never found at home
She is searching for a hero to ride in
To ride in and save the day
And in walks her prince charming and he knows just what to say
Momentary lapse of reason and she gives herself away
If judgement looms under every steeple
If lofty glances from lofty people can't see past her scarlet letter
And we never even met her
While there was a time in my life I counted the cost of following Christ too much, I must be growing up because now the thought appals me.
So I am in Florida staying my with boyfriend's sister, knowing things will not work, yet embracing denial until it pries this newest dream out of my cold stiff fingers. I am now the ripe old age of 22 and feel old and worn out. I was dying.
This was mid-May and I found out come June, my brother was going home from collage and my sister would have the summer off from high school and I had this desire, this urge to go home and see my family. The family I ran from. The family that found a way to continue to suck me dry from across the world. I loved my siblings and knew I had abandoned them so Guilt was ingrained in me. It was me. So I went home to Louisiana for a 'visit'.
I actually enjoyed being with my siblings so much I wound up staying more than a few days. It was the first time in over 4 years we were all home at the same time. I will never thank God enough for those days because they were Joy. They were Peace. They were healing.
I had been home about 2 weeks and was at a temp job I had taken with my sister. A neighbor was opening a store and asked us to be on the opening crew. We painted, cleaned and trained the new employees. I answered the phone on June 13th and was told my brother had been in an accident and I needed to come to the hospital. I refused to let my little sister come with me and made her stay at work because I did not want her to see my brother if he looked bad.
I remember every detail of that drive to the hospital.
I arrived and told the info desk worker about my phone call. I was ushered into a tiny room that was packed with my family members. I do not remember who told me or what they said but he was dead. I screamed NO a few times then decided I needed to pull myself together for what had to be done. I said 'where is he? Where is the one who killed him?'. I was told the other driver was dead also and later found out that was not true at the time but was was soon. Good. So I did not have to kill him myself.
I realized I would need to stay in Louisiana to take care of my family once again. I cried only in the shower and slipped back into the role of caretaker like I had never left.