Rebecca Adling, an Air Force wife, writes a weekly column in Cannon Connections, our weekly military publication. Here is her latest effort:
A few years back, while stationed in Germany, a young mother and her family moved into our neighborhood. Her husband was thrilled at the chance to learn a new job, but she was resentful of being away from her small hometown and family. There was no joy in the adventure of Europe for her. I just didn't get it. For me, and most people it was the dream assignment. There were castles to explore, new foods to eat, and beautiful greenery and rolling hills. In addition, Paris, Amsterdam, Venice, and London were a car drive away. Because of a medical problem, their time was cut short and her wish of returning home to her family became reality.
When we found out our next assignment was to Cannon AFB in Clovis, the general reaction of people towards us was one of offering condolences. It was almost as if we were being sent to a prison camp. I dismissed those people and thought to myself cheerfully, "It can't be that bad. It is what you make of it!" Then we arrived in the spring, and within the first week encountered some of the more interesting characteristics of Clovis. The winds blew like I had never experienced before. And when the winds didn't blow, this stench of cow seemed to cover everything.
Honestly, it was hard to stay positive. But then something changed. One night I walked outside to put the garbage out and stopped dead in my tracks. There right above my head was the most beautiful star-filled night sky I had ever seen. I had been so busy lamenting the things I was missing that I didn't notice what was right above me. Then I started looking during the day at what was around me; a wonderful zoo, low-traffic volume, Hatch green chiles on whatever you want, a wonderful school for my kids to attend, and the YMCA to give me a break while I exercise. But most of all, I found other people to enjoy life with. If we are always spending our time concentrating on what we're missing or what we don't like, it's easy to miss all the joy that is around us. A place isn't only what you make of it but also what you decided to see in it!