I’m becoming more aware of a larger role I play in the grand scheme of simply living and breathing. SFC Rodriguez would tell me that no matter how few days you have left of something, never allow yourself to become an oxygen thief. Sometimes I don’t realize why things happen. To me, it just is. Later is when the understanding dawns. My former belief in coincidences diminishes further.

Threes: An airport in Atlanta. A chance meeting at my unit. A tech at my house to fix my DSL.

A physician in uniform returning from Iraq was my chance meeting in a bar/restaurant in the Atlanta airport. We spent an hour or so discussing his time in Afghanistan. His frustrations at being unable to save a pilot injured by enemy fire. The fact that he gave up his private practice to serve and the lack of regret which permeated his countenance.

The flight medic who happened to have a class on a day which I happened into my Army unit on my day off. We few, we flight medic few. Unless you have spent part of your soul on others—so they may live—understanding is virtually futile.

My lack of Internet almost drove me crazy. By relenting and scheduling a repair appointment, I met a communications NCO from the National Guard. Not long home, while on deployment he lost as many have. A roommate and a friend who would never again set foot on the soil they gave their lives for.

All three I was destined to meet. All three shared their stories, parts of themselves they will relive until the day they too fade into an unknown.

Maybe not the unknown. Most hopefully not the forgotten.

Definitely not the forgotten.

I recounted the acts of fate and what these encounters meant to me while visiting an old Infantry Soldier, who served in a time before me. It was comforting to realize that a soldier is always a soldier, no matter the time, or the war. Explaining the details and what these experiences did to my soul could be expressed in a few simple sentences.

He just knew.

Knew that I was meant to simply be.

So now, I sit in an unexpected bar at an unexpected moment, leaving myself to the encounters of fate. I sit reflecting on the past year as only a girl, drinking alone in a bar on New Year’s Eve can do. Okay with being alone, in a crowd, knowing without a second of doubt, that the next 365 days are about to be mine. But, also comfortable knowing that my life has never truly been mine alone, but one of service and sacrifice in both small snippets and intense circumstance.

So Others May Live.

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  1. An absolutely wonderful post. It is strange the way things work out. Do we decide our fate, or is it already decided for us? Etc. I could go on for hours with that kind of talk.

    Anyways, this is my first time to comment on your blog but I’ve been lurking for a while. Keep up the great work! I love hearing about your stories as a flight nurse.

  2. Happy New Year Emily!!

    Here’s wishing you new adventures and great fun in 2009.

    As I get my uniform ready to attend the services for MAJ Pryor, I’m reminded that nothing is guaranteed to us. We’re left with no other logical choice but to make the most of the time we have, living fully and contributing to others as best we can.

    Speaking of living- don’t forget Penn Alumni Weekend 2009!

  3. @Chapati—Thanks for the New Year’s wishes. I’m excited for this one!

    @TJ—Let’s spend some time talking circles! Thanks for finally commenting btw…wonder if anyone reads this sometimes.

    @Doc—I wish I could attend with you. Happy New Year to you as well. Am interested in hearing about what you do at Penn exactly. I miss the hood of the Ivy League!!! 😉

  4. Em,

    You know how small the world is? Well that pilot who died in A-stan was a friend of two guys I work with here at Rucker. Small, small world we live in. You touch alot of lives. Don;t you forget that. Best wishes for a great year.

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