Today I just finished my ORD parade. I ORD coming Thurs. But as far as my job scope is concerned I'm fully finished with my NSF life.
As everyone else celebrated and revelled in the moment today, I too was happy. But not fully. I was really glad at the end of O's or A's or some moments here and there. But this time it was kind of different. I'm just looking forward. And I was thinking ahead. That ORD is just one occasion of my life. And it's good that army's over and I'm done with so much stuff. But ultimately, after the initial happiness of return to civilian life has subsided, what would I have taken away from all this?
I have gained a closer walk with God. Through the days of hardship and pain. Where I needed Him so much and often cried out to Him in times of trouble. Would I continue to walk humbly with my God, as Micah 6:8 says?
I have gained greater discipline. In packing my room, in maintaining myself physically, in doing my Quiet Time, especially after I came back from the church camps in December. Would I now build upon that discipline or throw caution to the wind and discipline out of the window? For Proverbs 1:7 says that "The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge, but fools despise wisdom and discipline."
Honestly, I just feel different from everyone else. Not in a I'm-better or I'm-worse kinda way. But just... different. Who else thinks such things on the day of his ORD parade? They'd just enjoy the moment.
"Who makes you different from anyone else? What did you have that you did not receive? And if you did receive it, why then do you boast as if you had not?" -1 Corinthians 4:7
As I lay on my bed in my bunk one last time, I was thinking that I'd really really miss those times where me and my fellow sec coms would watch Band of Brothers or other movies late into the night. I'll miss the camaraderie, the late night chats as we lay on our beds, half asleep, then sitting up in bed fully awake and joking bout everything till 1 or 2 a.m. Truly, such friendship is one thing I have taken away from the army. While everyone else was happy to ORD, that was at the back of my mind.
I also truly thanked God for bringing me through everything. From the first day I stepped into this unit. Till the last day. God has been so good to me. I still have so many many things to work on, but He's brought a lot more into my character here.
One minor regret is that in 1 SIR, I still do not have a person who understands me inside out like Caleb, Jeshua... My closest relationships are still in church. It is peculiar that I have only opened up certain parts of my life to the men beside me. With whom I have dug trenches beside, trusted with my life with live rounds beside me, fought beside. But then again, friendship, besides depth, also has many facets. To some, I open up fully, no holds barred. To some I share about my walk with God- but they would not understand or imagine what quaint habits I possess out in the jungle. To some I share my rations and care for outfield; but they don't really know what matters to me in my personal life. So, many different aspects.
Then again, as Yim told me once, this could very well be training in leadership, where I'm alone, lonely. When I think independently. And the truth is that when I am alone, I come to rely greatly on God. When the only friend that you dare put your trust in is God, you will naturally grow closer to Him.
That's all for now...
Flip the page. Almost at the end of the chapter labelled "NSF years". It seems like a really short chapter. But not when I was going through it. The days are long but the years are short. The end of this chapter is not half what I'd expected it to be. But it was a good, necessary ending. Without it, the next chapter might not be half as good.