Wednesday, December 19, 2012

12 Pearls of Christmas | Day 6 - Year of Adversity Brings Joy by Leslie Gould

12 Pearls of Christmas - Day 6  
Year of Adversity Brings Joy by Leslie Gould

12 Pearls of Christmas series

Welcome to the 12 Pearls of Christmas blog series!

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Year of Adversity Brings Joy

By Leslie Gould

I’ve  been  writing  Amish  fiction  for  nearly  three  years  now— telling  stories  about non-resistant people who live a simple life. It’s a nice reprieve from my own life.

When my husband, Peter, joined the Army Reserve  back  in  the  mid  1980s,  I  wasn’t thrilled about it. Nor did I believe him when he said he’d probably never see action. Sure, the Cold War was ending and—for a short time—all seemed well in the world, but I had a degree in history. I knew better. I didn’t want to be a controlling wife (as new to the job as I was!) and come out and say he absolutely couldn’t do  it.  And  it did  help that  he  was joining a medical unit. Still I had my reservations.

We’ve been far more fortunate than many military families, but still it’s been  quite  a  ride. The first exciting episode began in 1990 when Peter flew to Germany on Christmas Eve to work in an Army hospital during Desert  Storm,  leaving  me  behind  with  our  two  young sons. During the next twenty years, Peter  went  from  being  a  Lt.  to  being  a  Col.  and commanding a unit. Countless maneuvers and a mobilization occurred   during  that  time, but his Army Reserve career culminated in his deployment to Afghanistan in 2011.

My days throughout last year were an odd combination of hearing the daily news from  a war zone via Skype and then writing about the plain life of the Amish. By last December I was working on my third Amish novel of the year while, in  contrast,  Peter  and  his  field hospital staff had cared for hundreds of NATO soldiers and Afghan nationals, endured ten months of rocket fire, and continued to grieve the killing of one of their own.

Surprisingly, what seemed like it might be our worst Christmas ever, even harder than in 1990, wasn’t. Our four children (one teen and three  young  adults  now)  rallied  to  help make it a memorable day. We counted our blessings—Peter  was  well,  we  had  all  we needed, and God was at work in the life of our family. The result was an  underlying  joy, deeper than what we’d felt during past Christmases.

In reflection, I wrote: When it started, I thought 2011 might be one of our worst years. But it hasn’t been. Sure, it’s been one of our hardest, but a lot of good has come from it.

That was evident on Christmas morning as we Skyped with Peter. We were so thankful for the good connection and for all of us to be “together” that we hardly noticed we really weren’t.

This December, Peter is back at his civilian job (as a manager for a hospital corporation) and also commanding a nearby Army Reserve unit, which means one weekend a  month and plenty of evenings—but no rockets or causalities.

I’m working on a new Amish novel and still enjoying  my  “time”  with  those  who  practice non-resistance, which doesn’t discount the  appreciation I have for my husband’s service. I’ve even grown to the place where I’m thankful he joined the military. They’ve served each other well.

Our year of adversity resulted in a deep  joy.  I’m  pretty  sure  it  will  carry  over  to  this Christmas as well.
Leslie Gould is the award-winning author of fifteen novels, including the #1 bestseller and Christy Award winner The Amish Midwife, co-written with Mindy Starns Clark. Her latest release is Courting Cate, a retelling of the “Taming of the Shrew.” Leslie lives in Portland, Oregon with her husband, Peter, and their four children.



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