In light of the Army-Navy game this weekend, I’ve been feeling nostalgic about our time thus far as a Navy family. (Did I just say “thus far?”) This is Part 2 of our journey to join the Navy. If you haven’t read Part 1 of this story, stop what you’re doing and read it now. If you have already read it, then THANKS for coming back. Here’s the second part!
So, I thought I had made my peace with the idea of Ben joining the military, but maybe that’s all it was… just an idea. Once he shared that it was on his heart and mind, I knew I couldn’t be the one to tell God “No way,
Jose Jesus” if He was laying it on my husband’s heart. I knew it would be tough for me to step back and give away control.
Baby steps. We decided to start by gathering information and taking the process slowly. As far as we knew, he might not even be eligible. I spent time in between classes researching jobs, locations, benefits, etc. and Ben gave the Coast Guard a call. He figured that’s the branch he originally was going to join due to his love of water and desire to become a rescue swimmer (The Kevin Costner/ Ashton Kutcher movie “The Guardian” may have had something to do with it, too).
The phone conversation went like this…
Ben: Hi, I’m interested in enlisting.
CG: How old are you?
Ben: I just turned 32 a couple of months ago.
CG: I’m sorry. You’re too old. I can’t even talk to you.
I selfishly started thinking that maybe that was the end of this “military talk.”
While he was somewhat disheartened at the knowledge he was too old, he brushed it off and said, “Let’s check out the Navy.” I’ll be honest that I started trying to steer him toward the Air Force. I heard their reputation for being very family oriented and full of “older/ more mature” men and women than any other branch. Nope. The Coast Guard dream may have been over, but his heart was now set on the Navy. I think it’s a water thing?
I was reminded of how I claimed I was going to trust God 100%, and knew this is when I needed that faith. In this resolve, I told Ben he should go ahead and call a Navy recruiter to ask more questions, including the age factor.
One week later – June 15th, 2009
I think we both were nervous. We walked into the recruiting office unsure of what to expect. In the office, we found our recruiter who introduced himself and started to talk with us about the Navy, expectations of recruits, but most importantly to me what it typically is like for a family. I silently thanked God that He brought us to a married recruiter who could give that side of things. Ben told him we had time to take the practice ASVAB test there, and I spent that time drilling the recruiter with questions.
He gave us paperwork to complete if we decided to pursue the Navy any further and wished us the best as we figured things out. I said before that I was unsure what to expect, but I guess in the back of my mind I thought he’d be pushy and persistently trying to get Ben to sign the dotted line right then and there. Of course, he did paint a good picture on a lot of things, but he also talked about the times we’d be apart and other things that were hard for him and his wife to adjust to. I appreciated his giving it to me straight.
The drive home consisted of us discussing the meeting and praying. In keeping with the faith lesson, I told Ben I would support him if he felt led in this direction, but I still found it scary.
Joining the Navy
The phone rang 15 minutes after we arrived home. It was his current employer.
Ben was laid off… again.
Okay God, we prayed for you to close a door to give us direction, but I was
selfishly kinda hoping you would close the door on the military?
Well, you gave us an answer. That’s it, no more wishy-washy faith. If this is going to happen, I want to be fully on board.
It was still a process, but that’s when I started to get excited about the possibilities of a new adventure with my husband and the Navy. Excitement I had no idea would grow to what it is today.