For 9 years, my husband was an officer in the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (Reserve). During his time in the service, among other things, he helped build a medical center in Guatemala, jumped out of airplanes 7 times (on purpose!) and served a 14-month tour at the beginning of the war in Iraq, after which he resigned his commission and became a civilian.
There are many wonderful things about serving in the Army, from the pride, confidence, and discipline it instills to the feeling of being part of something larger than yourself. And, as any soldier will tell you, there are also at least as many baffling, terrifying, and frustrating things about serving.
What does any of this have to do with Fresh Living? Why, everything! Because when I read Valerie’s heartfelt post about her crying-on-a-pile-of-laundry moment, (been there, blog sister!), I immediately thought of my favorite thing about the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers: its motto, “Essayons,” which is French for “Let us try.”
“Let us try.” Not “do it or else,” not “be perfect the first time,” just “let us try.” So take a chill pill, Yoda, with your “do or do not – there is no try” guilt trip. All we are asked to do is try. And then try again, if necessary.
It works so well as the motto for Army engineers, who are tasked with building bridges and airfields in all sorts of weird, unknown conditions. In situations like that, there has to be a certain mental freedom–not to “try” carelessly, but to experiment confidently, knowing that you’re faced with a problem that has a solution, you just have to figure out what that solution is.
It also works as a personal life motto. Many–many!–times, I have muttered “essayons” to myself as a way of bringing myself back to center, back to forward motion, away from the guilt of not being “there” yet and back to the solid, safe “castle” of my heart. During Rob’s 14 month deployment, I said it multiple times a day. “I don’t know how we’ll ever get through this,” I’d think, journal, write, or sob. “But essayons. Let us try.”
Do you have a life motto, something that helps you crawl out of the Bad Place when you fall–or get pushed–into it?