Chapter 6 Complete

This week I finished chapter 6 of the book I’m writing. This process is taking much longer than I anticipated when I started a little more than a year and a half ago. The first four chapters seemed to flow effortlessly. Then life, writer’s block, work, and occasional laziness with my writing project each took turns keeping me from the keyboard. I started this project in February 2016. I feel like I should be further along by now. To be honest, I thought I would be done and on my second novel at this point.

I seem to lack the discipline in using my time wisely to write like I had in the beginning of this project. My motivation I once had is not as consistent as it once was. I come up with some wonderful “writing” in my head most days while I’m at work or hanging out with my kids, but I fail to follow through by putting the words down. I’ve probably written two or three books in my head in the last year. But, for the most part, I still make time to write to my blog weekly. That is something important to me because I made it part of my personal therapy after coming out of the lowest point in my life a couple years ago.

Sometimes I go back through my blog posts and read again what I was going through at a particular time. For some of the posts, I see the title and can recall everything about the piece I wrote. For a few of them, I need to read every word again to remember what was going on in my head. I find some of my posts still very powerful. Some of them remind me the dark place I was once at in my life. Some of them remind me of victories or progress I have made. Many of them make me smile. And there’s a couple of them that are just bad writing. But in keeping with my effort to post weekly, that will happen sometimes. (That might be happening now since I didn’t really have anything prepared!)

I did have more I wanted to write this week, but sometimes life dictates how much I get done here. And that’s ok. I’m living life and sometimes that means I don’t get to write as much as I would like. I do need to be more aware of that, when life really does slow me down, and not just use it as an excuse sometimes when I’m staying up until one in the morning watching reruns on television. In my defense, sometimes that’s my only time to decompress and relax.

I don’t know if my book will ever be published, assuming I finish it. I have already looked at some options. All the traditional publishers want a finished product. I don’t think vanity publishing will be the way to go. There are some self-publishing options online that are interesting. But I’ve always envisioned my work being printed. I guess I need to finish it first. I’m about half way done. I WILL get started on chapter 7 this coming week. Stay tuned for more updates. And thanks for reading Story of My Life this week. Good day, God bless.

Dave

Previously posted excerpts from my book:

https://storyofmylife.blog/2016/07/23/448/

https://storyofmylife.blog/2016/09/17/2nd-excerpt-from-my-book/

 

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The Ceremony

Sometimes I wonder how I got to where I am. Not how did I get to Afghanistan, but how I got to be where I am, doing the things I’m doing, working with the people I’m working with, seeing the world in a way that so few get to see it. Some might think it’s weird for me consider myself lucky to be here, in a war zone, away from many of the comforts of home, away from my family. I do count myself lucky to be able to serve, even here. We do have some of the comforts of home, though not near as comfortable as being home. And while I miss my family back home dearly, these that I serve with are my family here. Putting it all into this perspective, I like this life’s adventure I’m on.

One of the things I have experienced recently is the memorial ceremony at ISAF (International Security Assistance Force) held each week in front of the headquarters building there. I mentioned this in a Facebook post a short while back, but I’ll go into greater detail here. I should note that my chaplain did the most recent ceremony and will do a few more as a fill in to the usual chaplain. The ceremony is only about 10-15 minutes, held outside. The back drop to the podium where the chaplain speaks is the Afghan flag, the NATO flag, then the flags of the Coalition Forces that suffered a loss. The chaplain starts the ceremony, then a senior military leader from each of the Coalition Forces reads the names of fallen from their respective country, an Afghan National Army leader says a prayer for his fallen and states how many (too many names to read at the ceremony), the bagpipes play, and chaplain concludes the ceremony.

It’s fascinating to me to be standing there with so many other Service Members from all over the world paying respects to the fallen. Up close to the center of the ceremony there are a couple of foriegn units in formation, but for the most part, we just find a place to stand in the background and watch. We all come to attention when called. We listen to the prayers and words of comfort. Then, seemingly as quick as the ceremony started, we all go our separate ways, back to what ever it is we are assigned to do.

The United States was the only Coalition flag up at the most recent ceremony. Five American Service Member’s names were read. The first time I attended the ceremony it struck me how quick it was. I remember thinking to myself, “How can we pay proper respect to the fallen so quick?” Not just for the U.S forces, but for who ever gives their life in such a manner. As I pondered this in the week in between ceremonies I came to a conclusion.

We stop here only long enough to recognize the fallen. We have a job to do. While our hearts are heavy and we feel a loss, we have to move on and complete the mission we’ve been given. If we stop too long we get distracted. We don’t have time to memorialize, grieve, morn, or reflect. At least not all at once, not here. It has to become a background thought. It can’t be foremost in our minds lest we lose track of what we need to do to get the rest of us home safely.

Even though I didn’t personally know any of the names called at either one of the ceremonies I’ve been to so far, I still feel a connection and a loss. Maybe it’s the kind of connection that only exists for those that wear or have worn the uniform, I don’t know. But it’s a sobering reminder of where I am in the world today and what’s going on around me. Each time I go outside the wire I take it all in. I look at the people on the streets, the shops, the traffic, the advertisements. As I file it all into my memory of life experiences, I make sure to find a place in there for the ceremonies so I don’t forget we are still at war. Sometimes it’s easy to not think about it from the inside of the walls, and forget what’s going on the outside.

Take the time remember the fallen and their families. Pray for them. Pray for us. Pray for our families back home doing all the hard work of keeping homes running. We will continue to do what we do until our job is complete.

Good day and God bless.

Dave