I spent most of my week in Belgium. My lovely wife was able to meet me out there, and it was great to be able to see a bit of that country with her at my side. I returned to Afghanistan Saturday morning, and I am right back into the swing of things here.
I hope you enjoyed conference weekend. It is a blessing to listen to inspired counsel. We work everyday here; Sunday is less hectic since CENTCOM and DC are home for the weekend, but we still have plenty to do. I did get a chance to listen to the morning session from Saturday, and look forward to listening to the rest over the next week or so.
There were many good talks. I enjoyed the one talked about the regrets expressed by many at death and what it should mean as to how we live our lives. It resonated with me where he talked about the regret many express about not having spent more of there time with those that meant the most to them. I think that is something that has to be understood and planned for within the context of each of our lives. As an Air Force officer, I have not had much control over my time. This is not a completely unique situation, and I think it is important to be prayerful about what we are to contribute as professionals as well as what we need to do as husbands, fathers, children and friends. My career has been an interesting one, one which I have fought frequently as I considered doing other things, but as I prayed I received answers that put me on the path I am on. I remember one experience, when I was finishing law school--my daughter asked if I could help her with something the following week, and then answered her own question--"Never mind, you're never here. I'll ask mom." As I thought about that comment and considered the hours involved in a transition to law firm life, I realized that at the stage of life I was at (and my kids were at) 10 years of that would not be compatible with my family goals. It is ironic that since then I have done two remote assignments--one a 15 month rotation in Turkey and now the year here--but it still has worked out that I have been able to maintain quality time with the family.
Quality time means different things to different people, but for one who has been away a lot, quality time for me is really about family home evening, family prayer, family scripture study, and personal conversations with each family member. When you are there, that is the most important thing you can do. When you are away, we do the best we can. We try to skype for prayer everyday. When I was in Turkey and had the privacy of my own office, we would do a short scripture study as well. Kristen keeps up the traditions when I am not there. I try to take turn talking to each one about what they are doing once or twice a week. Sometimes that happens by email. It is the most important thing we can do.
I do look forward to a day when I am less busy and more involved. I imagine that is one of the reasons that grandparents are so significant in the lives of their grandchildren--they finally have the time. One of my favorite hymns is "Homeward Bound" where the vocalist sings "When adventure’s lost its meaning, I’ll be homeward bound in time. Bind me not to the pasture, chain me not to the plow. Set me free to find my calling and I’ll return to you somehow." That is our journey--homeward bound.