It’s been seven days since I stepped off an Air Force jet into the heat blast that is Afghanistan. For those of you curious to know what your servicemen experience any given Sunday, or Monday for that matter, I’ve been told that to recreate the environment here is relatively simple - Take a blow-dryer, turn it on high heat, and point it at your face – Instant Afghanistan. I’m starting to acclimate to the weather; that is I’m starting to understand that from 10 am to 2pm you do not leave your tent if you don’t have too. I’m also learning that deployment breeds workaholics. My work day starts when I get up and usually runs until about 10pm, because hey, I sleep in my office and eat in my sanctuary. The mentality is why stop working, your just going to be bored.
It is surprising what’s important here and what’s not. AC is paramount both for well being and for the laptops that everyone uses. Chow (Food) is relatively important with levels of freshness degrading the farther from civilization you get. I’ve personally yet to eat an MRE (food from a bag) as there seems to be plenty of decent food around. But I know as I push out to minister to the marines at outposts starting in the next few days that will change. Hygiene tends to fall to the bottom of the list of necessities. To be fair we do have showers (in a tent) however restroom facilities amount to a tub and a bag. I’ll spare you the details. Life is simple and yet complex. Everywhere you look you find tents that were probably stitched by the Apostle Paul. While inside these shelters from yesteryear the quiet hum of countless laptops, LCD’S and radios hint at some future world undiscovered.
Life tends to blur together in a fog of war, of sorts. Every day, even after just 7 short days, feels the same. It takes me a moment of concentration to remember the day of the week let alone the month. There are no week ends, no Friday nights, no end of day jitters. There is simply the hectic slow crawl of the machines of war – which amounts mostly to boredom, I imagine, for the Marines I serve. Hours are marked in patrol-sleep-patrol cycles as the days march along giving way to weeks and months. My own take on it all? Certainly not boredom, there is too much to do and too little time. This coming Sunday will mark the beginning of my services and I’ll be off in a thousand directions every week. The prayer that echoes in my heart is that I will remain true to the call, humble in service and joyful in life.
May I decrease, so that HE increases.
In His Grips,