Be All I Can Be

Charlene - Yarmouth, Maine
Entered on November 11, 2008
Age Group: 50 - 65

“Do what you can, where you are, and with what you have” is a quote from Teddy Roosevelt. My belief is similar, stated as “Be all I can be.” My belief evolved for me as an Army Reservist and as a civilian. The Army Reserves gave me structure as an adult, elementary school teacher, mother, and week-end warrior. It taught me to challenge existing modes. I, as a young woman in the 70’s, was a novelty in a combat arms training command. Recruited in a special program in need of clerical help, the only participation I was allowed was in a clerical capacity and later in teaching first aide on a general subjects committee. I persevered. Mission over men was the rule of combat. I considered it sad but true. I was naive to racism, bigotry, and distrust. Basic training, military law and order and race relations classes, drill and ceremony, and military operational skills opened my eyes to concepts I never considered. I close my eyes and I can still see the field alter to celebrate Mass while on training exercises. My personal mission was to survive as a new recruit and as a single parent, protect the children I brought inot this world and find personal peace with my expanded awareness. Through the years I found my guidance in my faith’s master manual, the Bible, a master manual that has many interpretations and misinterpretations.

“I asked and I received.” I asked for guidance. My guardian angel, my spirit, had its workload increaded. I need to love myself and go the road less traveled despite my failed first marriage. It took me years to learn and listen for lesson plans that gave me answers.

“I sought and I found.” My faith grew. I learned forgiveness. I was a mother with a a teaching career as a public school teacher and as an Army Reserve instructor. My civilian and military roles helped to continually refine my patience, kindness, sympathy, and empathy toward others. My two work roles constantly taught me humility, consideration, order, and perseverance.

“I knocked and I entered” into daily communication with my God. By the grace of God I’m blessed with love: insight from the maternal side of my family growing up from my grandmother Nena, my mother, and my two sisters. My second husband, two beautiful children, two wonderful grandchildren, and my extended family gave me more love and especially insight. I can be all I can be with my supreme commander-in-chief in charge. I believe I am in His Army although strict religious rules on divorce and remarriage bar me from complete participation in my preferred support unit.