• Ian Sparkman

Beautiful Unity Through Chaos



Military life is one of experience and livelihood. It is truly one of the most unique experiences that one can have, especially when you are raised into it. Something I've noticed over the past couple of days is how different and complicated every military experience is. All of us have a different story, and through sharing those stories among each other as a community, it builds our character and shares wisdom. I was talking to my friends the other night about our paths to military life and the tears of both joy and sadness that have been shed as we walk our paths. It's poetic, in a way, how our paths cross and intertwine, forming strong bonds.


My dad joined the Army at an older age than most, so I remember life before his enlistment. We were living in a trailer park; three kids and two parents in one small trailer. It was rough. When my dad joined the Army, it got us out of that trailer and sent us on an adventure we never would have known without it.


I have never felt alone on my journey either, which is something I'm immensely grateful for. The love shown to me by my amazing mom and siblings as well as the great friends I've made has made my life way better than I could imagine. It's crazy, really, the way this crazy life has brought us all together and forged bonds for life. I've really thought about it before, but the way the chaos of our lives has brought us close is something to behold; a beam of light in the darkness.


When I was hearing about my friends’ parents’ “enlistment testimonies”, if you will, it was all the more intriguing in comparison to my own journey. I heard about a man joining right after high school carrying family lineage with him serving for over 30 years. I heard about a new father seeing his beautiful baby daughter for the first time, landing home after basic, and even a dad serving in the National Guard before enlisting in the Army to better support his family. We all had different stories about deployments and how the military has affected our relationships with our parents both positively and negatively.


It’s really interesting, and I feel that in a way, it makes me appreciate the path I've walked even more. Even though most of us did not choose this path (our parents did), we can step back and appreciate how it has positively impacted our lives. The people I've met on my journey are some of the best people in the world and I can't imagine life without them. I wouldn't trade my military experience for anything. It’s part of who I am, and I'm excited to find out what else it has in store for me.


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