Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Still waiting

It is so hard to wait. . .just ask Caleb.

It is now one day shy of three weeks when Caleb was told that his dime-sized red spot on his belly button was a deal breaker to stay in the Navy. That decision sent him immediately to a holding division, so grief stricken that he could only sit in stunned silence on the cold, hard tile floor, his back against the unforgiving wall.  He bore the pain alone until he was able to call Gary the next day. He was distraught, nearly destroyed. It was then that we plunged into the depths of disappointment and angst, waiting along with him, wanting to reach out and hold him, wanting to ease his hurt. And we wait still.

The occasional phone call tells us that despite the conditions, his wait for discharge has moved from a full-blown knock-out punch to incomprehensibility to a glimmer of hope to an ultimate acceptance of what he cannot change. It has been a hard process.

The holding division is a place where bureaucracy meets inefficiency. The result is a no-mans land of endless days and nights with nothing to do. There are up to 80 men in residence at any one time. Some are there for medical discharges. Some because they tried to run away. Many others are being discharged for new diagnoses of anxiety, stress, and even attempted suicide. They rise at 6 a.m. each morning to face a purposeless day. Except in a lounge where access is limited, there is no furniture to sit on. Beds are off limits, the concrete-tiled floor their only option. Some books are available and an occasional DVD movie is allowed. They cannot go outside. There is no exercise. There are no tasks. There are no knives at meals to limit suicide attempts and no shoe strings for fear of the same. They all simply wait.

Caleb decided to work as he waits. He volunteered to be the yeoman for the unit; scheduling appointments and completing volumes of paperwork. He gets to sit in one of the few chairs. Still, he waits to see his name come through on the departure list. He hates it that his original graduation date quickly approaches and he is no longer part of it. He is in limbo; a place where frustration and shattered dreams collide.

But out of the dust, the soul survives. Something in his brain has clicked. He has accepted the inevitable and entertains future options. He will get second opinions and assuming a diagnosis different than the Navy's, may pursue his option to obtain a congressional waiver and re-enter the fray all over again. Our congressman stands willing and at the ready. But he also considers full-time employment, working his way through to finish his degree. His planning tells us that though the stealth tsunami violently tumbled him into a deep and dark sea, he will hit the beach alive and well.

May we all learn a vital lesson as we further wait; wait for answers.

I wait for you, O LORD; you will answer, O Lord my God.   
Psalm 38:15


Lola Affolter said...

Thanks for sharing your deep anguish. I know that feeling when it's your child. I have gone through it and am still in it somewhat. I do know that God is sovereign and He does everything for His glory and our good. I believe that and so I keep praying and trusting for God's best for my child as I do for your son. I will continue to lift your family up in my prayers.

Rick Gray said...

Waiting is such a double edged sword. When there is great anticipation for something we desire to do or to happen, it seems that we are waiting forever. If we are waiting to be punished, it seems that there is no wait at all. Caleb's wait is certainly different. The bad has happened and he knows the outcome. Now he wants to get on with his life and he is stuck in limbo. None of us know why this has happened, but from your writings I know one great thing that has happened to Caleb is that he has gained maturity in a very short time that many never gain in a life time. You have one special son there in Caleb. You, Gary and Seth have supported him in his unfair treatment. Your family will never be the same in so many ways, but one positive note is that your family is closer than it has ever been before. That is one pot of gold at the end of the rainbow. Caleb will find other pots of gold. Soon this will be behind Caleb and he will come home with that sparkle in his eye. You will sit down at your table and listen to Caleb as he tells you of something new and exciting.

Rebekah Trittipoe said...

Lola- Thank you for sharing in our anguish. I shall remember to pray for your family as well. And Rick, I look forward to sitting with Caleb at dinner to understand the heart changes and see the personal growth for myself. Thanks so much for caring for us all!

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