After I spent a long weekend frantically searching for jobs and making a list of all the reasons why I wouldn’t have the means to do the things I want to do, a Starbuck’s barista comped my $3 drink (I suppose this is a bit extravagant for someone without a steady income, but even I have my vices), and gratitude became my goal of the day. When I stop my insanely irrational thoughts from shouting obscenities at my usually rational mind I can see how I have been provided for in ways that far surpass another bank deposit or the cash needed to buy a new laptop.
Over the weekend I was given a FREE photo shoot for my honey abroad through Operation Love Reunited. This brilliant organization provides free photography sessions for families with a loved one serving overseas, and sends these pictures to them to serve as a reminder of what they have waiting for them back home. After sobbing through their heart-wrenching online video I sent an email, not really expecting much in return and thinking that my non-married status would probably serve as some sort of red flag. Instead I was contacted by the founder of the organization (Tonne Lawrence, a brilliant photographer and military wife) who offered to take my pictures the following day in her home. And as we chatted over everything from which branch had the sexist uniforms (Marines, hands down) to why deployments just suck all around, I was reminded that the universe is filled with people who will go out of their way to make the world a little sweeter for those around them.
Despite the pitfalls of military life and being attached to someone who must be more committed to the United States government then to your relationship, there is a community upholding these servicemen and women that is unlike anything I have ever experienced before. I have been offered homes to stay in by girls that I have met only once or twice before and lent support by families that are going through the same separation pains as I am. Last time I trekked out to the desert to say goodbye to my Afghanistan- bound honey, we all (platoon buddies and their wives/girlfriends) spent the last few days preparing together for what we were all about to go through. We cooked dinners, made margaritas, and attempted to forget why we were together in the first place. Being a 20 something with little money and friends that are equally as poor, I’m not used to anyone opening their home without requiring that those that enter pitch on a pizza or a keg- this experience was so far removed from what I had become accustomed to it was shocking. Luckily, living this taxing sort of existence comes with a new family that genuinely cares.
I have always been blessed with friends that keep me stable and help to inspire me in everything that I do. Most of them have seen me through every life stage since my awkward dark eyeliner and blue mascara phase and will continue to be there despite the physical distance between us. Today I am deeply grateful for my seasoned make-shift family and for all those I have met through my honey’s service in the military. And of course to the Starbuck’s barista that sparked my sense of gratitude today- you are pretty awesome too. I am one lucky girl to have so many fantastically spectacular people in my life.