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Collins: Something to be said for having a little solitude
State Rep. Doug Collins

Editor’s note: State Rep. Doug Collins, R-Gainesville, currently is in Iraq as a U.S. Air Force Reserve chaplain. He began his service there earlier this month. He is reporting weekly on the activities at his location. His e-mail address is

Since I am blessed to be a father of three, I am used to having a house that is full of activity, with quiet time often being at a premium.

However, I never realized how refreshing it was to walk out into my front yard or into the woods and just be by myself. Listening to birds, or better yet the sound of silence.

Well, that ability to be by myself is the thing that I have found I miss the most while stationed here. Everywhere you go, from your bunk to your work site to the chow hall to the gym and even to the shower and the bathroom, you are never alone. I say that in jest, but it truly is one of the comforts of home that I hear so many people talk about.

The other night I was getting ready for my shift, and I made my way out of my room with my shower kit and towel. I was heading to the shower trailer. The shower trailer is a long metal building that has about eight sinks on one end and about eight shower stalls lined up side by side on the other.

Please do not misunderstand me. I am not complaining. We have hot showers and for that I am thankful. I have experienced no shower missions and cold water missions. We are blessed. However, you never seem to go in there without there always being four or five people using the facility.

Well, the other night as I made my way in I notice that no one was at the sinks, so I made my way down to one so I could start to shave. After a few minutes, I noticed that no one else had come in, and it was then that I noticed I was the only one in the building. At first I was concerned. Had something happened and I missed it? Did they make a call and say the first ones to the plane can go home early?

After I resolved myself to the fact that those thoughts were coming from a mind that had too little sleep I realized that by chance I was all alone in the shower trailer. I am pleased to say that no one came in the whole time I was there. Only when I was leaving did someone else come in. For just a moment I was back in Gainesville in my own bathroom with nothing but the sound of running water, excluding the fact that I could only shower for 3 minutes total.

When I stepped out of the trailer it seemed as if everything jumped back to life with the loud sounds of aircraft and people passing by. And for a moment, I thought how sweet silence can be.

I know for some of you this sounds pretty normal in your house. Everyone is always going and time alone may seem to never come. Well, it is the same over here. But every now and then over here it would be nice to just to have some time to be alone. The men and women serving over here talk about a lot of things. Family and friends are the topics that come up often along with sports and hobbies. But when all is said, and if given a wish, many would choose a quiet trip to the bathroom or shower by themselves.

War makes us thankful for the little things in life. I hope that you have a wonderful week and know that your support is appreciated by all of us over here.