God Has Other Plans For You, Young Lady.

Much has been said in the past few years about Facebook bringing people together who had been lost to each other for a long time. Sometimes it brings people together who’d never met.

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In the case of new people meeting, few tales could be stranger than an elite group of veterans (the cryptologic community) taking a new recruit under their wings. Spooks (that’s what we call ourselves) are not generally all that outgoing toward newcomers. I very distinctly remember one old salt ripping my Cryptologic Technician ball cap off of my head. He threw it down and said that I had to earn the thing, I couldn’t just buy it in the store. He was right. I did have to earn it.

That’s why it seemed so bizarre that a new recruit to the Navy was accepted with open arms on one of the spook sites of Facebook. The members gave her advice, encouragement, and some remote parenting. When she went off to boot camp she probably had the largest bunch of Top Secret cleared cheerleaders of any kid ever.

It was with sadness that we found out that she’d been medically discharged from basic training because of migraines. I have migraines but didn’t know that’s what they were until just a few years ago. Medically disqualifying. Good thing nobody ever diagnosed me or I would have missed out on my life as it is right now. Then again, what else would God have put before me? And was his allowing me to be ignorant of the cause of those “eyeball headaches” a blessing that He simply didn’t pass on to this young lady?

On the odd chance that she’s reading this blog today (I hope she is,) I have some words of advice that apply to her situation. They apply to everyone who has had a disappointment of any major magnitude in their lives.

Today you’re feeling pretty bad about failing. You’re young (or old) and you’ve never had a kick in the teeth quite like this one. It hurts. Physically. You probably feel like life is over, you’re not going to amount to much.

I’ve been there myself. I’ve failed spectacularly in more than one pursuit. Sometimes with lasting consequences. Sometimes with a shrug. The simple fact is that God had something else for me to do in this life. The path I’d chosen wasn’t the one He had in mind. He wanted me to get some more seasoning. He wanted me to be humbled. He wanted me to pick myself up, dust off the filth of failure, and move on to a new goal.

In the course of those failures I’ve learned a lot of good lessons. I’ve become more compassionate. I’ve learned new skills that have paid my mortgage and gassed up my car. I’ve written books and fought for my life. I’ve loved and been loved. And, most importantly, I’m not done failing yet.

All of us fail all of the time. Anyone who claims to be immune from failure is lying to themselves. It’s what you do with that failure that matters. Do you improve your skills? Do you help others who have failed? Do you isolate and die or do you strike out on a new path and flourish?

It’s all up to you. Today seems pretty dark. I know that and you have my sympathy. But you’re alive and have another shot at the whole world. Take some time to heal. Pray for guidance. And get up tomorrow morning and take a walk around the neighborhood. It’s pretty much like you left it a few weeks ago. You have changed, hopefully for the better. You have one more significant life experience than you did before you got on the bus for Great Lakes.

Notch that belt. Think fondly of your fellow recruits and pray for them. Write a letter to your bunkie and encourage them.

You are a new creature in Jesus. Enjoy that sense of renewal and move on to the new you.

That is all.

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