How much patience does it take to wait through wasted time while your kids wait for you over 7000 miles away?
How much patience does it take to wait for days to do ten minutes worth of out processing and then wait for days to do the next little bit?
How much patience does it take to out process at a place that you never in processed, just so that an intermediate command can assert its authority?
How much patience does it take to spend three days to go to that intermediate command to do their dog and pony show before you can finally go to the final authority and get your ass out of the country?
Less than I've got.
I'm sure that there will be more back at Ft Riley. There I will take my time and make sure that my medical stuff is straight and I have my I's dotted and my T's crossed as best I can.
Here, I will stand on my head, spit nickels, and sing patriotic songs if they want for me to. I know that it all leads to one place; home. It all leads back to my kids, and it has become like water... it all flows towards that sea.
There is a part of me that already misses being operational. There is a part of me that feels a sense of having abandoned the Afghans that I was working with. There is part of me that will forever remain here in the dust, mountains, fields, villages, khalats, district centers, and FOB's of Afghanistan.
There is part of me that will remain forever in the moment of recognition of the young man with half of his head gone; a moment of heartbreak and anger and powerlessness and denial and acceptance. So real that it will never go away.
There are other moments that will hold a part of me forever.
But those moments are also part of me now, too. Am I diminished by leaving a part of myself here or am I more than I was before by virtue of the same?
This is not the end.
In the meantime, there is patience.