rough day, but doing better
By jhamilton75
11/30/2009 8:57:44 AM
I've been back in Iraq for a week now. Honestly, being here isn't too difficult. Working with the Iraqis my team and I advise isn't too bad. Even the weather is pretty nice now.

But I honestly cannot stand most of my co-workers. That is, the other soldiers on my team. I've never had this much animosity toward (and from) a group I was a part of. It really makes staying clean hard.

Yesterday at church (yes, we do have church services here) we watched a talk from President Monson on "School Thy Feelings" where he talked about being aware of and controlling one's anger. He said, "Can one be angry and not sin?" and "It is a foolish man who takes offense where none was intended". I honestly feel he could have been giving that talk directly to me. So I'm praying now for patience and a softened heart and to feel less anger.

Anyway, I'm still clean, and feeling a little better. It's going to take time. It's one thing to hear and believe the words of the Prophet, it's another to live them. But I'm trying.

I don't think I'll ever be best buddies with any of these guys. And when this deployment is over (4 more months, thank goodness) I doubt I'll be writing letters to any of them.

But, I don't have to hate them. I can learn to love them as Christ loves them, even if I don't necessarily like them.

Hanging in there.



"I've found at times my relationships with others have given cause for me to act out. When I'm frustrated with others, often times the unhealthy way to deal with the stress and frustration is to act out. Look for ways to deal with your co-workers in a healthy way. I find that if I confront them head on and speak openly then I feel much better than harboring bad feelings and allowing the stress to mount up. Sometimes I'll make a personal challenge to make a friend out of the one I like the least, offer to buy lunch, shoot the breeze, or whatever to get to know the person behind the "mask."

Thanks for your post it has helped me recognize in myself my own flaws... this was probably more for me than for anyone.

Also, thanks for serving our Country. You are an amazing person and I respect you more than you may know for your service. Good luck with your journey."
posted at 11:09:52 on November 30, 2009 by aug7change
thanks for the encouragement    
"I want to say thanks to everyone's words of encouragement.

A little more about my situation here: I'm the boss. Yeah, this sounds strange, particularly to those who may not have experience with the military. But, it is very possible to be the guy in charge and still feel like an outsider. I'm the OIC (officer in charge) of an 11-man combat advisor team. We work with and advise the ISF (Iraqi Security Forces). My team is made up of senior NCO's and officers.

Part of it is, I think, I have almost nothing in common with any of them. I don't drink. I'm the only one who goes to church regularly. I'm the only LDS member. I don't appreciate (or allow) pornography on the walls in our office. I have no tattoos. I don't condone inappropriate fraternization between ranks.

And, I actually am committed to doing our mission. Not because I necessarily agree with it, or find it particulaly fun. But, when given a mission, I go do it. Period. No complaining or whining. Just do it.

And, yet, all this comes together to create a situation where I feel largely ostracized from the team. Most of them have bluntly stated they have no interest in doing our mission, and their actions show that they will use any excuse to avoid it. I think the part I really dislike is their arrogance combined with their laziness.

I've been in the Army over 12 years now. I usually get along well with groups I'm in. I've spent many years as a commander or leader without this kind of conflict. Perhaps it's just a confluence of personalities. Or maybe I've grown and drifted away from how most of the mainstream Army feels.

Aside from this is the situtation that my team is in; we don't work much with others. We're fairly isolated due to the work we do. Just the way it is. So, if someone doesn't get along well with the rest of their team, they're pretty much alone. I find myself eating alone a lot, and I usually run and work out alone. That's fine; I'm mostly an introvert. But it does bring up the question as to why.

I actually like the Army. I like doing my job. I like the fact that I do a job most people can't or won't do, and I do it without complaint. My belief is, if you disagree with the Army's mission, or don't like getting deployed, then get out. It's hypocritical to constantly whine and disparage the Army, then continue to stay in and take an Army paycheck. And, for some reason, that makes me so different than most of the people I'm around. They're entitled to their opinions and I don't belittle them for it. I've never ostracized anyone for being different, and I've always tried to include others. But it's just not working out that way, this time.

I know some of this is rambling, and that most of it has nothing to do with my addiction. I'm trying and praying not to feel so much anger toward these guys. But it's hard.

posted at 04:18:13 on December 3, 2009 by jhamilton75
No judgement here    
"That's tough, J. Thanks for sharing. I'll pray for you.

I feel like mentioning that, while you may feel alone and without friends, we are all here for you. More importantly, so is the Savior.

But it is still hard when your only friendly companionship is spiritual. I'm sure He understands just how hard it is. "Eli Eli lama sabachthani?""
posted at 10:12:15 on December 3, 2009 by BeClean
Leadership can be challenging    
"I don't envy your situation, J. It sounds like your team has united itself against a common enemy, the army, and you got left out somehow. I have no idea about what you can do to better your situation over there, but I want you to know that I'll keep you in my prayers.

Regardless of how your team feels about you, you're still a good person who's doing honest work, so I would bet that you won't be in such a bad situation for very long."
posted at 03:28:31 on December 4, 2009 by ETTE
on the other hand, things I'm thankful for    
"Thanks everyone for the words of encouragement. But, lest I be remiss, I have to say a few things I'm thankful for:
- I have a wonderful, beautiful, patient wife who knows exactly who I am, and accepts me anyway.
- I have an intelligent, kindhearted son (8 yrs) who is turning out to be a great big brother.
- I have two daughters (twins, yes) who, even though I've only lived with them for a total of 6 months, still scream happily "Daddy!" when they hear my voice on the phone.
- My job isn't too tough and it isn't too dangerous. There are soldiers out there with much worse jobs, and they still do them 24/7. EOD and Route Clearance - you guys rock.
- I'm blessed to have grown up in the true gospel and to have a testimony of the prophets and the scriptures.
- My teammates, even if we don't always like each other, still will risk our lives for each other, 'cause we're all on the same team.

So, I guess the last day or two has been better. We'll see how tomorrow goes. One day at a time.

posted at 06:58:24 on December 4, 2009 by jhamilton75

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"I will speak briefly of the principle of repentance. How grateful I am for the understanding we have of this great principle. It is not a harsh principle, as I thought when I was a boy. It is kind and merciful. The Hebrew root of the word means, simply, "to turn," or to return, to God. Jehovah pled with the children of Israel: "Return . . . and I will not cause mine anger to fall upon you: for I am merciful . . . and I will not keep anger for ever. Only acknowledge thine iniquity, that thou hast transgressed against the Lord thy God." When we acknowledge our sins, confess them and forsake them, and turn to God, He will forgive us."

— Richard G. Hinckley

General Conference April 2006