May YHWH-God keep watch between you and me when we are away from each other. (Genesis 31:49 NIV)
I have yet to leave. We’re months away from deployment. However, this doesn’t assuage the mounting tension, sorrow, anxiety, and doubt of the looming goodbye.
I cherish each touch, every ‘off-to-work’ kiss, that hidden gaze that embarasses her when discovered, those few Saturday mornings where Gabe’s oversleep allows us to snuggle, and those evening drives to “help Gabe fall asleep” which we use as an excuse for a quick escape to Starbucks. These are momentos which I have too often ignored or shared without cognition. I will miss holding Katherine’s hand…so much comfort, nurture and confidence is there.
I make sure I drop Gabe off at preschool every morning, even if that means I’ll be 15 minutes late into the office. Lately, I’ve left the office early some days so I can pick him up. There’s nothing like seeing the happiness on Gabe’s face when I sneak in to pick him up. I try not to waste a day off when I get one, whether we go to the zoo just to play on the playground and eat a “hotgog” (in Gabe speak), or invade the beach in the big way in which Gabe enters the sand and water. I’ll miss his giggles.
“Compensation” is the term used by the Army Behavioral Heath experts to denote the efforts Soldiers and their family members undertake to make up for time that will be missed. This happens on both ends of a deployment. It can introduce it’s own kind of anxiety and pressure.
Don’t interpret me as bemoaning this deployment. I feel called to this role as my battalion’s chaplain. I embrace it as YHWH-God’s call on my life. I anticipated the potential of a deployment as an acceptable eventuality of being an Army chaplain. However, do not equate “calling” to “easy.” It’s usually just the opposite.
I love God. I love Katherine. I love Gabe. I love my Soldiers. It’s not equal, but symbiotic. Calling is an integrated endeavor.
I can’t help but ask…what is God’s call requesting of you?