May 28, 2012
Potato Bars & Coffee, ME Newsletter, Vol. 5, Issue 22
Grief therapy introduced me to a new concept today – one step at a time. The secret of getting ahead is getting started. The secret of getting started is breaking complex overwhelming tasks into small manageable tasks, and then starting on the first one. Akin to baby steps, the suggested course of action regarding reintegrating work-outs into my daily routine begins as such: Day 1 – gather gym clothes. Day 2 – find a gym back and place clothes in it. Day 3 – place the gym bag by the door. Later, when the mood strikes, move the bag into the car. Eventually take it from the car into the office. Consider dressing for the gym – maybe put just one sneaker on and then call it good. I laugh at that. “Now you’re being ridiculous,” I say. But, yeah, I can do that. I can see myself surmounting small plans, so I believe I can. I’m already way ahead of schedule. It’s just day three and the clothes are under my work desk. I’ve been considering putting them on some day and then actually making it to the gym another. But I can’t do that. That’s a silly separation, so I finally just decide.
It still wasn’t easy. I had to battle myself to make it. When I pulled into clubhouse there was a huge sign announcing Valentine's Baked Potato Buffet Party 5 PM - 7 PM. It was 4:40. I sat for a moment, considered the effort it took to get his far, considered backing out of my parking space and the self- commitment. Despite that, I put it into park, and forced myself off of the relative warmth into the cold winded-snow-mist. At first it appeared that each piece of equipment was in use, but then I spotted the one open treadmill. I stepped back from looking in only long enough to grab the door handle, forge on.
Clumsy, because I am shedding my coat and keys and sweater quickly, I’m hoping no one with less outer clothing than I arrives before I ‘m done, usurping my machine. I made it to the treadmill, upped the incline at 10 min, boxed at 15 min, began cool down at 20 min. Day one done, I re-coated , and made a beeline for the door, avoiding people and potatoes and was pretty proud of myself.
At home, on the couch, another Facebook sidebar advert catches my attention. I wander into it wondering what it’s all about, and suddenly I understand. It’s a really simple troop support program, allowing for anonymity, or not. My heart wants to go there, so I consider the options, planning to say nothing much but thank you for being where you are. Before I know it though, I’ve revealed the crux of the matter, where my heart is tonight, where it’s been. I sit for a few moments more, wondering if it’s ridiculously inappropriate to share. I know where it’s going is worse than where I am. I’m sure it’s even worse than where I was. And since I can’t wrap my head around either of our situations, I just let it go, and hit send.
"Dear Cup of Joe recipient:
This is my 5th Valentine's Day without my husband. Everything this year has been the "5th" so I've been searching for the perfect something significant to mark the time. When I came across the Cup of Joe for a Joe project, I realized significant isn't a size: it's time. It's about doing something now for someone in need of a little extra care. So, along with your cup, that's what I'm sending: a little extra care, a whole lot of respect, patriotic gratitude and the sincere hope that next year, you will be home for Valentine's Day."
I figure, that’s that, and hope at best it makes a little difference to someone, and at worst it’s just a free cup of coffee. Two days later, two emails show up in my inbox. The subject line of each reads: Our Troops Say Thanks for the COJ. Expecting a simple system burp, I open the first, and realize it’s not at all what I thought. Near as I can tell, the COJ gifts have an immediately destination life, and over the next week, replies come in. Five replies for five cups of coffee given.
Cup of Joe #1
Thank you so much, Jodi. And, hang in there. Javier serving at CFC Eggers in Afghanistan.
Cup of Joe #2
Absolutely wonderful, Jodi! Thank you so much. I love the extra thought you put into it. It's great that you can share something with us and still feel something for your husband as well. We all appreciate it...thanks. A Service Member serving at Arcent USO (406) - Camp As Sayliah in Qatar.
Cup of Joe #3
Thank you for the cup of coffee, and more importantly thank you for your love and support for me and my joes over here. I'm sorry to hear this is your 5th Valentine's day without your husband. I really hope things get better for you and that you have a Blessed year this year. Thanks again and may God bless you and keep you. Adam, a Service Member serving at Sharana in Afghanistan.
Cup of Joe #4
Thank you Ms. Korte for the kind words and the Cup of Joe! I sincerely appreciate this. v/r SMSgt Fragoza, Andrea 455 EAPS/PAX Superintendent BAGRAM AF, Afghanistan. * There is a special notation at the bottom of this message that says: (Andrea has asked to be a COJ PEN PAL with you.) Through email, I discover Andrea is from California, originating at Travis AFB. With a total of 24 years’ service 24 April 12, deployed since late August 2011, Andrea is scheduled to return back home sometime in March. In my ridiculous medication fog, I missed a lot of February, all of March and most of April. I wrote her again in May, hoping that she is home, and my email reaches her there, but so far have had no reply. *
The last arrival is the one I’d been unwittingly waiting for: the one worth way more than $2.00 a cup; the one worth way more than 10 minutes time; the one worth exposing my heart for:
Cup of Joe #5
Jodi Ann, Thanks for the coffee and the incredibly thoughtful note. I'm humbled by your kind message. Sorry to hear of your loss. You've reminded me to send a message to a widowed wife of one of my former peers who was killed 04 Jul 2007. This will be her 5th Valentine's Day without him, too. Take care, James Thamer, serving at CFC Eggers in Afghanistan.
Posted by jaselin at May 28, 2012 08:35 PM