Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Block Leave.......

"Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won't feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It's not just in some of us; it's in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.”

The above passage is a quote from Marianne Williamson who is an acclaimed lecturer and author. The passage is particularly poignant to me in regard to how I am feeling about the next mission. I went home on Block Leave for 10 days, and it was absolutely wonderful...The longer I stayed, the more I wanted to stay...inevitably the tenth day came, and I went through a myriad of emotions. More than anything I can say that the feeling was guilt...not only about leaving my family, but for looking forward to mission challenges. While I was at home, all of my family and friends were telling me about how proud they were of me for what I was about to do, and about the sacrifice I was going to make. While it does feel good to hear those assurances, it made me think about who exactly was making the sacrifice.

Not one person came up to my wife to tell her how proud they were of her for all that she was sacrificing over the next year, or how brave she was to shoulder the task of raising three children by herself for a year. Nobody told my kids that they were brave for adjusting to life without their father for the next year.

I do admit that I am doing the job that I envisioned myself doing when I was a child. I am doing the same thing that my father did before me. The source of pride in all of my accomplishments to date is based upon what I have done, as well as what I and my family have done over these years. But, for the first time in my military career I am questioning myself....not about the validity of the mission, or the moxie that I will need to show over the next few months, but the inexorable desire to be with my wife, my kids, my parents, my sisters.....

This will pass...as other major things in my life...one way or another. But, I keep thinking about whether or not the toll that my career takes on my family is ultimately worth it. Do I do what I do for a paycheck, for God and country, for my my ego, or what? All I know for sure at this moment is that I cherish every moment that I was able to spend with my loved ones....when all of this is over, I am going to do my best to make sure that I never take them for granted again.

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