I remember a creative writing assignment I did once in sixth grade. The teacher was fun, but a little gruff at times. This particular day he had started the class by telling us that a spaceship full of seemingly harmless aliens had landed in our neighborhood and extended an invitation to any and all, to go with them to their planet.
"You will spend the rest of the class period writing your response." He said. Then he proceeded to pull out a golf ball and club and practiced his putting while we wrote!
With about ten minutes left in the period, he collected our papers and began to read a few aloud. I had written that I would love to go and see a new world if I could then return to my family. When he got to my paper, he read silently for a moment, then put it aside saying, "I won't bother reading this one. This person said 'IF'. You have to commit to going or not without conditions."
Well, EXCUUUSE ME! I don't remember that being mentioned as part of the assignment. And that one condition alone would change my decision in a New York minute! I mean, is there anything more important than family?
Imagine my surprise when I realized that ??? years later, I am still having trouble with that particular aspect of my 'Life Assignment'. The army is gearing us up for another move. No biggie. After all these years I could move in my sleep. But here's the problem. When the choice is ours, where do we choose to go?
For Joey and I, one of the first considerations is still family.
A few years ago, we had the opportunity to go to Europe. We could have been driving through the hills of Tuscany, boating in Venice, touring castles and cathedrals in Germany, standing in the Colosseum in Rome!
We went to Kentucky instead. Why? Because it was only seven and a half hours 'home' from there. Don't get me wrong, we love to travel! But when I say family is important to us, I ain't just whistling Dixie! Joey is in constant contact with his mom. I talk to mom and Paddy by cell every day. We e-mail, text, send pictures, whatever it takes to stay caught up on each others lives. I start sinking fast if I go more than three months without a visit. And I wouldn't have it any other way!
So what do we do about that other part of us that wants to see all of God's big beautiful world while we still have the chance? Our parents, I know, would be the first to encourage us to follow our hearts. We could still see them maybe once or twice a year. (Unless flying is involved. There aren't enough tranquilizers in the world to get my mother-in-law on a plane!)
We have six years left in this man's army, and we are really thinking and praying about where to spend it. Italy? Germany? Hawaii? Alaska?
Joey is pushing 40. I'm 35 - with 5 years experience:) My girls are old enough now to write to the Grandma's and Poppy. And since they are already petitioning for their own cell phones, I know we would never really be out of touch with family! I guess if we were ever going to take the leap, the time is now.
"And God saw all that He had made. And behold, it was very good." Genesis 1:31
Wow. What an understatement.