Keith and I have been friends since we went to high school together in Fort Campbell, Kentucky. We only knew each other a year before I had to move away, but like most kids who grew up in the Army, we kept in touch. Keith and I have always had somewhat paralell lives, and I can't even try to explain what that means.
Also like most kids who grew up in the Army, Keith ended up in uniform as an infantry officer. He got in touch last week a couple of days before he was heading to Iraq for a 15-month deployment. I decided maybe I should make an effort at correspondence, and we decided to be pen-pals during his time abroad.
Only two e-mails have passed between us so far, and its already reinforcing my belief in how lucky I am. And it's not about combat and life-or-death situations (yet); it's about distance and the people. His (very) serious relationship has to survive fifteen straight months of separation, while I sometimes lament the mere weeks that pass without seeing Jesse.
But we also know that this is why we're so adaptable to these situations - it's how we grew up. A question we're also hesitantly pondering: do we seek these types of relationships out? We've separated from our best friends and loved ones over and over again since we were old enough to realize its brevity - but, have we grown so accustomed to it that it's more comfortable?
I have to answer absolutely not. It's not more comfortable at all. At least for me it comes down to the fact that something might be too good to give up on because of separation. They're not indefinite pockets of separation, they are defined and measurable in comparison to the bigger picture. Besides, in the end, the right people can overpower any distance.
I should wrap this up.
In conclusion, Keith will always be a beacon of perspective: