On New Chapters


ON NEW CHAPTERS • 09.06.15

A little over seven years ago, I received a phone call that changed everything.

"Beth, what would you think if I joined the Marine Corps?"

Just like that, for a brief moment, time stood still, his words hanging in the air. I had no way to know that my answer, his decision, would inevitably change the paths of both our lives, yet I knew that exactly.

We had only been dating for six weeks.

It was the first of many crossroads we'd face together—the moments throughout our relationship that determined what came next. Two roads diverged, both with pros and cons, both with great uncertainty and great promise, both marking the start of a new chapter. It's the ultimate "Choose Your Own Adventure" book, this life, minus the skipping-ahead-to-read-both-scenarios-before-making-a-choice part.

I didn't need to skip ahead to see how the story unfolded. I chose him.

––

I chose him four years later, his enlistment in the military drawing to a close. Two duty stations, a combat deployment, multiple promotions and medals and ribbons, all leading up to yet another life-defining choice, another new chapter.

"Beth, what would you think if went to college and got my degree in criminal justice?"

The question had changed, but my answer had not.

I may not have known exactly where our lives were headed, but all over again, I chose him.

––

I chose him a year ago, the days ticking down to graduation. Countless papers, exams, a semester-long project involving a decaying pig corpse (don't ask), all culminating in such a familiar–although entirely unfamiliar–crossroad. One chapter was ending, for certain, but the new chapter was his to write and the possibilities as to what came next were limitless.

"Beth, what would you think if I pursued a career in law enforcement?"

I had a lot of thoughts, that's for sure. Some fears, some concerns, some selfish, some not so much. But ultimately, I thought it such a privilege to be in this position, to watch the man I love more than anything work so hard to turn his dreams into reality, to swell with pride as he accomplishes his goals, to support him as he pursues a job in a field he is passionate about.

I chose him–and I continued to choose him–this past year. Through tests, through interviews, through psychological profiles, through background investigations. Through an unexpected situation this summer when we thought his journey had ended before it had even begun, and through the weeks that followed as he fought to overcome the odds, refusing to give up his dreams based on a technicality.

And guess what? It paid off. It always pays off to believe in the people you love, to stand by them through whatever adventures life throws your way, to be their biggest fan as they figure out what their new chapter looks like. Hundreds and hundreds of applicants for thirty-some recruits. And he's one of them.

––

So that's where we're at right now. Not much is different for the time being. There are still months of training, tests to pass, miles to run. At the same time, though, everything is different. It might not feel like it now, but one day we'll look back on this past week as the moment that everything changed, the first page of a new chapter.

And what a chapter it's going to be.