Just a quick update-
Brandon returned home from deployment last week and we have been enjoying the time together. Hooray!
The girls and I had planned to meet him at the airport but he was delayed by several hours. My good friend Gail willingly came over and stayed with the girls – almost until midnight – while I picked Brandon up at the airport. This homecoming was different. He was not in uniform. He traveled alone. There were no crowds or signs, no ceremony. No newspapers or news cameras this time. Just me and him.
It was the best way. The first time he deployed to war over ten years ago it had been just the two of us at an airport… (well, actually my dog Ronald had been there and Rhema was in my belly, but we’re just counting the bipedal adults…).
Now things seemed to come full circle for us. He walked over to me and gave me a hug. He sighed heavily, “We made it another year. No more.” It was a promise. And I simply said, “Ok.”
Two kids, three deployments and what seems to be a lifetime of ups and downs, pains and joys, we were back to just the two of us. Making peace with all the life lived apart and what it cost us. Looking ahead to a new chapter.
The quiet homecoming made me think of a favorite story:
A missionary couple, after years of faithful service overseas, was returning back to the States. They returned to the New York harbor on the same steamship as Teddy Roosevelt. Upon their arrival in the harbor Roosevelt was greeted with great fanfare – a brass band, reporters and photographers, firecrackers were set off. And this aged missionary couple, health broken and spent in their service for Christ, walked off the gangplank and through the crowd, unmet and seemingly unknown. As they walked, a tear trickled down the husband’s cheek.
“What’s wrong?” his wife asked.
“My whole life I’ve given to serving God. We’ve spent ourselves for Jesus and nobody is here to greet us. There’s no bouquet of flowers for you.”
His dear wife thought for a minute and then said, “Honey, we’re not home yet. We’re not home yet.”
In the coming months Brandon will begin the process of retiring from the Army. It will be quite a change for us – I’ve only always known him as a soldier – but it’s a welcome change. I’m thankful, so thankful for the chance to finish and begin again, for whatever God has for us next (we give our lives to Him), to live and love and work together until we’re Home home.
*Thank you so much for the prayers and encouragement this past year!