Deployment

I hear myself say it a lot: “I’m going…”
I’m going to the store.
I’m going to lunch.
I’m going to the beach.

Usually there’s some reason for me to go where I’m going, but often it’s an everyday errand or just for fun. I spend minimal time preparing, then hop in the car and just… go.

But sometimes the “going” has a greater significance.

Our older son Eric, a Second Lieutenant in the US Army, will go to Iraq before long. He has — or will have — orders to perform a specific mission for our country. They call this “deployment.” The very word carries more weight than “going,” as does “mission” compared to “errand.” As Eric’s deployment approaches, the sight of a young man in digital camo can tighten my throat from fifty yards away.

But deployment is not just for the military. While Eric is overseas, his wife Heather will spend several weeks in Europe, teaching English under the auspices of a Christian university. She will have lesson plans and structure to guide her through the course. Heather could have simply stayed home or perhaps gone to visit her parents. Using her time intentionally to serve others in this way, however, elevates her trip to a deployment.

Then there’s Heather’s younger brother Brynn. An International Studies major at Texas A&M University, he studies under a US Marine contract. Brynn left for Morocco last month to spend the summer with a host family, learning Arabic. Very little classroom time for him; mostly he operates in full language immersion, which gives me the heebie-jeebies just to think about. It’s an adventure and he is having a good time, but he remains serious about the higher purpose behind the adventure. Brynn did not just go; he was deployed.

Brent and our younger son Greg went to Oklahoma last week to play paintball in the Oklahoma D-Day reenactment game. Not your ordinary paintball game, this annual week-long event normally pulls in around 3000 players. Brent has been taking both boys (as they are available) to participate for ten years in a row. Yes, they go for recreation, and they always come home with happy smiles—not to mention fatigue, bug bites and some impressive paintball welts.

Even as they play, though, they cannot help hearing echoes of those heroic voices from nearly 70 years ago. Besides, they get to interact with a real D-Day veteran. These experiences have given our sons a great appreciation for the sacrifices that soldiers are prepared to make. More importantly, perhaps, the years of tradition have built increasingly strong father/son bonds. Enough purpose has developed during these trips that, in their own way, they count as deployments.

What about me? Well, surely you don’t think I have just been sitting around. This week I attended the 2011 Christian Writers’ Workshop at Glen Eyrie Conference Center in Colorado Springs. The scenery and atmosphere alone would have made the trip worthwhile as a vacation. But I was looking for more. My family responsibilities and my writing have butted heads a lot lately, and I find myself at a crossroads. I came to the Workshop without orders, without a lesson plan, without a program to immerse myself in. No manuscript in progress, no specific writing goals, no idea which direction to go next. All I could bring was a sense of calling and a willingness to gain further guidance.

That appears to have been enough. I listened to other people who have a calling but must still depend on God to guide them step by step into specific projects. I received godly counsel that helped me make a couple of major decisions about my career. The faculty gave us clear principles and tools not only for storytelling, but for living and writing with faith and purpose. As I had hoped, I made some new friends. We already love and support each other, a community scattered in many directions but, at the same time, as close as the Internet. And all those things are just what I needed right now. I came here with a purpose, however vague it may have seemed to me when I packed my bag.

I deployed myself, too.

As near as I can figure, if I approach each day by looking for the purpose it holds, the Lord can change more of my “going” into “deploying.”

Thanks for reading!
Jan

Woo hoo, this is the 100th post I have deployed! I hope each one has served its purpose of bringing you a laugh, a bit of hope, or just a sense of being understood. Thank you for reading.

Really.
jj

Advertisements
This entry was posted in A Page From My Journal, Near As I Can Figure.... Bookmark the permalink.

14 Responses to Deployment

  1. Savannah Page says:

    Congrats on 100 posts, Jan! That’s impressive!! Great work and love the photos– very sweet 🙂

    Hugs from Berlin xoxo

    Like

  2. Kelly C says:

    Congratulations on your 100th post, but most importantly for your successful trip. I’m glad you got just what you needed right now. God’s timing is always right.

    Like

  3. Jeannine or Grandma Johnson says:

    Jan
    What a beautiful job on your 100th post
    Enjoyed reading about yours and my family. I am so proud of all of you.
    May God Bless all as they go their separate ways. Jan, thanks for another
    great article. Love to all, Mom

    Like

  4. I like these thoughts of deployment — what courageous children you have. Thanks for sharing as well about your trip to Colorado. I have read about the writing conferences. It is recommended to have a work-in-progress at least. I’m glad you mentioned that you went with a vague sense of mission to find it. Perhaps I will venture forth to a conference even before I have completed a work.

    Congrats on your 100th post! I would enjoy hearing more about what you have gained from your writer’s conference if you are so inclined to share.

    Like

    • Jan says:

      Hi, Kathleen! Mine was a “Workshop,” with specific instruction and practice assignments. I’ll email you with more info, and plan to post soon about what I took away from the workshop.
      Thanks for commenting.

      Like

  5. jennibell says:

    Beautiful! Thanks so much for sharing. What a proud (and scared) momma you must be, knowing how far away your son will be. What an honor it must be, to have a son serving his country, however painful and difficult it may be for his family.

    Like

  6. Dan Gise says:

    When Eric deploys, I am sure your heart will deploy with him

    Like

  7. Carol Hodges says:

    thanks for the very interesting and informative look into your family happenings. Will pray for all of you!
    Carol

    Like

  8. Cindy Gise says:

    Thank you for taking us on your journey. I look forward to your posts to hear of your latest adventure or ah-ha moment. Every post is uplifting and encouraging. I am right there with you on the deployment issue. There are so many young men you and I know who are overseas or soon will be. I pray for each one of them. While mine is still state-side, I know one day he will deployed and my prayers will be many. God Bless all our troops!

    Like

  9. Melanie Endert says:

    Love your insights, Jan…. I look to you as a mentor and someone with strength and insights to family relationships, and one who has “been there”…. Thank you for telling us what you know!! : ) – Melanie

    Like

  10. Zoanna says:

    I got got all choked up looking at that first picture. The love, the pride, the wanting to hold him and never let him go, but knowing you can’t. It undoes me to see men in military uniform. I am so thankful for them. And for the families who sacrifice much to support them. Thank you.

    Like

  11. Jan says:

    I appreciate everyone’s kind comments. It’s good to know that many of us can relate to and encourage each other.

    Like

  12. Kathy Falley says:

    Steve was deployed 8 times while he was on the FBM submarine USS George Washington Carver 644 Groton,Ct. Each patrol was 109 days and only 2 family grams of 45 words per patrol.His R and R was 30 days,then back to the temp office for the sub.He also did several patrols on Uss George Wash Carver-same rotation.
    My prays are with you all!Loved your pictures! BTW I’m in Flower Mound Texas till June 26th!Being Grandma is the best Deployment!! When are you free? This week sometime? Kath

    Like

  13. Barbara Koob says:

    WoW! 100 posts and still counting. Sweet blessings on your deployment.

    Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s