Monday, November 21, 2005

On the way!

This will be my last post from inside the borders of Iraq. Just typing that sentence and reading it back in my mind seems surreal. This place, these people, and this war have been the major part of my existence for the past year of my life. Reaching the end of this journey has been a daily obsession since I set foot into this desert land, and now that the time has finally arrived it is almost catching me by surprise.

I took a final walk through my area today and was amazed at the well of emotions that rose to the surface. It’s hard to believe, but I have actually become attached to this place. I can only think that it is some sort of “Stockholm Syndrome”, which refers to the emotional attachment hostages grow towards their captors. For the past year this place has held me hostage from everything I previously knew, and now by the grace of God I am about to be set free.

I have learned much about myself during this time, and though this experience has been difficult I have no regrets. Being here has changed me, and I know that ultimately it will be for the better. I once read somewhere that, “going into a combat zone is a one way door since the person that leaves is not the same person that returns.” This new person returning is committed to being a better husband, father, and friend. I have felt the pain of leaving all that I hold dear, and I will not take it for granted again.

This is not my final post. I will continue to write once I return home and share the experience of my homecoming. But it will take a while to make my way from here to finally being back in the states.

Until then.

j

27 Comments:

Blogger Wayne's Mom said...

Wow, it's hard to believe you're coming home. Sure, we're thrilled for you and your family, but we'll certainly miss your blog.

I've adopted all sorts of anonymous "sons" like you this year, praying God's protection over each one.

God continue to bless you. Thank you for your sacrificial service on behalf of our country.

10:14 PM  
Anonymous tidaugherty said...

Still and forever thankful for what God does through you and your family here and there, just wanted to say GREAT thanks for a job well done and for letting us know more about His work there and of your safekeeping through your blog. I'm so happy for your family and you and wish for ya'll (acclamating you back to Texas) a heartwarming and sensational holiday. T. Daugherty

4:08 AM  
Anonymous Shelly and Jessic said...

Wow! The past year has been a journey for you, Amy, and the kids. I can't even imagine all of the emotions you're feeling. However, I do know all of us back home are feeling nothing but excitement for your return.

We love you John! Thank you for your dedication and service!

Fly safely. Mickey and his pals at the Magical Kingom are expecting you! :)

Love,
Shelly and Jessic

4:42 AM  
Anonymous garyemoore said...

Fredericksburg - Lunch! You fly!

6:45 AM  
Blogger Amy said...

Honey,

I can hardly believe this journey is finally coming to an end.

I still remember saying after we received the phone call that you were being activated, "Sorry, you are not going! Absolutely not! Just call them back and tell them your wife said you can't go!" (Guess it doesn't work that way) I never in a million years thought I could do this on my own...but I have. WOW, it has been such a learning experience for me as well. I cannot say that this time has flown by, nor has it been easy, but I can definitly say it has not been as hard as I orginally thought it would be.

I have been reading James 1:2-3 that says, "Consider it pure joy whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know the testing of your faith develops perseverance." I used to think, "trials & pure joy !?!". Now I get it. That verse has a whole new meaning to me now.

I want to take everything positive out of this experience, and totally concentrate on it. I guess, in a way, I should thank God that we had to face this 'trial'. I know it has made us all stronger.

I love you so much and can hardly wait until you are back in my arms.

Love,
Amy

7:48 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Congratulations! I am grately to see you coming home soon and will pray for you on your return trip. Thank you for serving for all of us. I look forward to seeing your posts again soon!

Christian

8:02 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

John, this has been some journey!!! I praise our God for your safe return. I can't image how difficult this has been but I can guess the 'clarity of priorities' you've gained and the personal/spiritual growth you will reap in the coming months/years. I know I've said it before but I gotta tell you, I'm impressed by the way you've chronicled this adventure. Thanks for your service to our country and our God. Can't wait to see you back in Round Rock (let's get in a game of golf before it really turns cold - 60'F = Texas Winter, burrr).

Rick M

10:01 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

dont let your guard down until you are back on american soil. those idiots can strike until the last minute. be safe and good luck.

jus

10:13 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

WOW!!!! THANKS!!!! I would say more but I can't see from all the tears in my eyes.

PEACE! be with you and your Family! Happy Thanksgiving!

2:59 PM  
Blogger Cathy said...

Godspeed and thank you. What a wonderful Christmas gift you will be for your loved ones.

7:22 PM  
Blogger Mike McMullen said...

John-

Safe travels. Thanks (once again) for what you've done the past year.

Gig 'Em-

Mike McMullen

7:59 PM  
Anonymous Monica said...

John,
I am so glad to know you are on your way home and am honored to have been able, in a very small way, to make your deployment easier. On behalf of all the volunteers at Operation Troop Appreciation - THANK YOU AND GOD BLESS! Be safe as you travel back from the sandbox. And please, think about publishing this blog. I can put you in touch with a publisher who supports the troops and would love the opportunity to work with you. You rock!

5:35 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

To our wonderful son. We will be so joyful when you are safe and sound back home. There is not a better Christmas gift! You and your sister have made us so proud, and your beautiful wife also. I have to say the last 15 months have been difficult, but I think we all learned what is so important, family and loved ones. Hope and pray for your safe return.

Love you, Mom @ Dad

10:45 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Brother...I pray for your safe return. Don't let your guard down. By all means...publish this blog! I could not think of a more deserving family than yours to be blessed from all this. Happy Thanksgiving!
Van

6:45 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am so happy to hear you're going home. I've been reading your blog for quite some time just waiting for this day when you would be on your way home to Texas! As to watching your back, I think the Lord is in charge of that. Praise to Him for keeping you free from harm. Will be waiting to hear that you are home with your family. You are a good man, and I am proud to have a man like you serving our country. God's richest blessings on you.

~marilyn in Fort Worth

9:43 PM  
Blogger membrain said...

Thanks so much for all you've done. All the best to you and your family back home. Salute.

9:58 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Oh, how great to hear that you are on your way home, John! Your blog has been a constant encouragement and lesson-giver for me ever since your mom told me about it and I discovered for myself how fluently and expressively you've been able to share your experiences and what the Lord has done in and through you and your men over there. As mom of another soldier, I want you to know how proud and thankful we are for ALL of you. God bless your trip home with guardian angel protection, and may these holidays be a source of joy and celebration for you and Amy and all your family. God is so good! -- Seth's mom

12:15 PM  
Anonymous SK said...

THANK YOU and safe travels:)

11:29 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

John, I just want to tell You again how proud we are of all you have done for some great things for your country and I hope everyone is grateful. I will be so, so very happy when you are back home I love you so much, and I hope you know that. Please know that! Your Dad does too, and I know you that too.

Love and prayers always, Momma

5:01 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Wow!! I am so glad that you're finally on your way home!! Your whole family is an inspiration!! You guys are awesome and we are looking forward to the homecoming!!

Love,
Krista and Ben

3:15 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

John,
Your blog caught my eye immediately! I could feel your personality come through the words that you have written.

How do I strike up a pen pal situation with one of the soldiers serving there with you. I have been looking and looking for a pen pal link.
Could you help me or anyone who is reading this help me find a soldier in Iraq to write?
Thanks!
Ruth (Locust Grove, GA)

9:18 AM  
Anonymous SK said...

Ruth...go to anysoldier.com or look up soldiers angels. There are MANY who would love to receive mail.

6:56 AM  
Blogger John & Jeri said...

John, I can't believe today is finally here. Well, at least the last time I talked to Amy, today was the day you were landing in Texas. Guess I won't see much of her for awhile. =) What a journey you've been on. I'm been glad to get to know you better thru your post. It allowed us to see the kind of man Amy was married to. hehe, I mean that in a good way! She always has said how great you are! So glad you're coming back. Welcome home.

7:30 AM  
Blogger Dirty Bert said...

WOW, Congrats on Coming Home!!!

I'm glad to hear you are finally coming home. I have been a silent avid reader of your blog. Sure I'll miss your blog but the tradeoff of you being home is better. Have a safe plane ride home. And thank you for everything you have done for this country. DB

12:11 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

John-

What a wonderful thing it was to read your last blog from Iraq!! We are so grateful to God for Him bringing you home to Amy and the kids safely. His grace is awesome and abundant, isn't it?! Looking forward to seeing your face out in the cul-de-sac while the kids play. It has been a long time coming and we are just so thankful that not only did the Lord bring you home but also brought you here to our neighborhood. Your family is cherished!
See you soon-
Chris, Brandy, Jace, and Savannah

9:08 AM  
Blogger Klein Lau said...

Wayne,

Good job and welcome home, soldier! Thank you, it seems such a trivial thing to say for someone who have given so much but thank you. I thank God that He has protect you. You have our undying gratitude.

9:34 PM  
Anonymous Deanna said...

You don't know me, I stumbled on your website through a support group for marine wives that I am in. I just wanted to thank you for your service & I wish you a safe return home to your loved ones. We appreciate what you and everyone have accomplished over there. God Bless you. -ProudFianceOfTheUSMC-

6:34 PM  

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