March 19, 2012

Do Unto Others

Hi! My name is Stephanie and I am a Facebook addict! Hahahaha!

I keep in touch with most of my friends that way now, since we live on opposite sides of the planet from each other, and it's not always convenient to schedule a phone call or Skype date. What is daytime for me is the middle of the night for them.

Several days ago while I was adding some pictures, updating statuses, and perusing the latest exploits of friends, new and old, I came across a particular page. I will not share the name of the page in this blog because I don't feel that their message is a positive one, nor do they need or deserve anymore traffic directed toward them. Anyway, I came across a page directed toward military wives. It possibly began as a humor page, attempting to give us spouses some comic relief in the sometimes overly serious world of military life. The title of the page seemed promising. Maybe the creator's intentions were good. I don't know.

I dug into the page looking for a laugh, because lets face it. These days, under these particular circumstances, I am wound tighter than a spring. I am very sensitive to much of what I see, hear, or do, and sometimes a misdirected comment, a photograph, or a story on the news is like a dagger jammed right into my heart. Even when I try to keep my emotions in check, some days are very overwhelming and it just can't be helped.

As I wandered around this particular Facebook page looking at the posts and comments, I found some things that were remarkably true, and a bit humorous. I added a comment or two about my own blunders as a military wife. But as the days went by and I looked again and again, I found nothing remotely funny about what was happening in front of my eyes. What I saw didn't make me angry, only sad. It seems that this page was created for military wives who want nothing to do with the military and abhor everything about being a military wife. I consider myself a pretty open minded person, so if the patrons of this page feel that way, and it works for them, then more power to them. They have every right to live as they choose.

But here is where the problem lies. In my mind, and in my heart, I know that what they are doing is wrong. The things being posted and said are very inconsiderate and rude. They make a specific point of degrading and belittling other military wives who do not fall in line with their method of thinking, or living. The entire thing exists only to be hateful toward a specific group of people. Some of the things mentioned on this page deal with women who "wear their husband's rank" or feel they deserve special treatment because of their husband's rank, demand discounts, and otherwise use and abuse their privileges as a military spouse. Perhaps a valid grievance to air, but then it got worse. Also mentioned, or more specifically targeted are over weight women, and unemployed women, with many comments being made with the assumption that they are all lazy, and mooching off of their husbands. *sigh

I too have my own opinion of spouses who DO use their husband's rank, cheat on their husbands while they're away, and otherwise "mooch", so to speak. But I am of the mind that a PFC's wife and children should be treated with the same consideration and respect as a Colonel's wife and children. Regardless of rank, appearance, or employment status, each family deserves at least that much. There is no difference between us. We are all in the same boat. In my own experience I find that it is easier to surround myself with people I respect, and who respect me, people who I enjoy, and who bring out the best in me. It doesn't hurt me any to let the rest go about their lives their way.

But no matter how much I disagree with something someone does, I do not spend gross quantities of my time lumping all spouses with certain characteristics, physical or otherwise, into one large group, and proceed to make fun of them. The actions of a spouse, appearance of oneself, and the rearing of children is between a soldier and their spouse. It is not my place to judge. I don't feel the need to point out what I believe to be the shortcomings of others simply because it is not how I choose to live my life. I do not need to belittle anyone, and in my opinion, those that do belittle others do it because there is something lacking within themselves.

It doesn't matter which kind of community you live in. Rich, or poor, New York City, or Ely Iowa, there is always going to be ignorance, arrogance, people you'd rather not spend time with, and people who don't subscribe to the same set of values as you do. That doesn't mean that they are less human than you. It doesn't mean they don't have feelings. It doesn't mean they aren't fighting some sort of daily battle. It just truly disheartens me that there is this kind of negativity going on in a community that should be of all things, supportive of each other. Sometimes all we have is each other.

I am a proud military wife. I am proud of all the things my husband has accomplished. For he has done so by his own strength and ambition, and the loving support of his family. What affects him affects me and our children. It is not within my makeup to pretend that this portion of my life does not exist. I proudly wear his unit insignia as a pendant around my neck. I live in base housing. I am a stay at home mom with a small business of my own. I wear my workout clothes to the commissary! Judge me if you must, but know that I don't care. I know in my heart what kind of wife I am to my husband, what kind of mother I am to my children, and what kind of person I am to this world. I also know what kind of person I don't  want to be. I strive to be better for my husband, for my children, and for myself.

I've been making a conscious effort to eliminate negativity from my life. In that spirit, I chose to disentangle myself from anyone or anything having to do with this page. There is nothing good that can come from consciously demeaning others. This has made me ever more mindful of how I publicly treat other people. Even if I'm having a bad day, even if the checkout line at the commissary is slow because a slightly overweight woman in sweatpants is taking too long to count out her coupons. No one has the right to make her feel like she's less. There is only one who will judge us. I will be held accountable for my actions in this world, both the good I've done, and the many mistakes I've made.

Luke 6:13. "And as you wish that others would do to you, do so to them.".

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