As I write this, my sister is on a plane headed to Texas, where she and my nephew will join her husband for their new life in the Air Force. I've been anticipating and grieving this day for four years and it's finally come. Through lots of tears, we said goodbye and reminded each other that her summer visit is just around the corner. And while my mind turns over each level of her move that is difficult to swallow, I am also reminded of the wise words my grandfather shared towards the end of his life. She told this story at his funeral last December - I'm sure my paraphrase will not do justice to the richness with which he spoke. Kimberly had gone to visit him and asked, "Papa, do you think I'll like being a military wife?"
She probably expected him to pull the same line most people do. They say things like, "Oh it will be such an adventure! You'll love life on the base and the places you'll see!"
In the great wisdom he earned by years of living life well, he looked at her and said, "Well, I suppose that depends entirely on how you look at it. If you think you're going to hate it, you'll hate it. If you choose to embrace it, you'll love it and have wonderful experiences."
Already resisting the day she would leave, hearing her tell this story challenged me to reconsider how I approached this new season for our family. They have a ten year commitment to the Air Force. How I process the next decade of living so far apart is going to be affected entirely my how I choose to look at it.
Thank you Papa for living with such powerful reflection and allowing us to benefit from your wisdom.
Instead of dwelling on the thoughts that bring back tears, I'm going to look forward to the trips to the airport and reunions outside terminals, cross-country trips for four+ Joyners on the way to a base, and a long exchange of texts and Skype dates that close the miles and keep relationships alive.
Have fun in Texas sweet sister! The Air Force is lucky to have you!