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I’ve been thinking about time lately.

That photo above…it shows the passage of time, but how much? We really don’t know.

Once, when Rob was just starting his career in the Air Force, I had an answer to a prayer:

“Everything will be okay.”

This was in response to my earnest desire to not spend any more time in Del Rio, TX. And for my hardworking and deserving husband to not have to be a FAIP (First Assignment Instructor Pilot). We had prayed to know what he should do as a career and were very surely directed to the Air Force. He excelled during ROTC. Got Corp Commander as a junior in college. Got Distinguished Graduate (which meant a regular commission instead of the usual reserve officer commission). Got his pilot slot. It was all going according to plan, right?

But then he landed in the pilot training class that would finish at the very end of the fiscal year. When there are not enough fighter aircraft to go around. And what do you get for all your hard work when that happens? Five years as a FAIP in the garden spot of Del Rio with no guarantee that you will get your fighter in the end.

So, yeah, I hated that answer.

This is what followed:

I was called as RS President when I had a 6 month old baby and a husband going to instructor pilot school in San Antonio. I was always alone.

Then the AF decided Rob really wasn’t meant to be an instructor and we waited for months to know where we would go and what he would do. Limbo. Worst thing in the world on a gossipy, small AF base in the middle of nowhere.

Holly was diagnosed with WPW.

We moved to Fort Worth, but all our earthly belongings went to Guam.

Then Holly was diagnosed with Reactive Airway Disease. Which meant she got pneumonia. All. The. Time. I had to learn to recognize when she came down with it, because she never got a fever. That poor little perforated child was constantly getting poked and prodded. Drawing blood from a baby is not fun. The medications she took required that her blood be drawn periodically to make sure she wasn’t overdosing.

Turned out the AF was nothing like ROTC. It’s political, and squadron commanders can be vindictive and little.

I learned it really is a drag when your husband hates his job.

Rob was part of a nuclear mission. That meant he was gone for a week at a time sitting alert. And I was on my own again. I learned to bleed brakes and take apart toilets and mow the lawn and handle tornado warnings and fend off intruders and go to church with little  children and no assistance and work with the young women with two young children always in tow. It was exhausting. And I wasn’t naturally good at any of it.

I often thought back to that “everything will be okay.” I brought it up with God a lot.


So we just carried on.

Then something happened. The Cold War ended. My husband miraculously (truly, it was a miracle) got an early release from the AF and was hired by American Airlines without going a day without work. (I will tell that story another time.)

Everything was finally okay.

It had taken years.

I did not endure with grace. I whined. I endured, but I whined. To God.

What was overwhelming at the time for me, I can now see, was not that big a deal. In the ensuing years, I have watched as several of my friends have struggled with infinitely more difficult trials such a losing their health, and long periods of unemployment. Who have lost their lives or the lives of their children to car accidents, violence, and illness. Some have weathered the storm trusting in God and in the promise that eventually, even if only in the eternities, everything will be okay. They were guided and instructed through their trials by their Father in Heaven. I have watched others, less trusting, or perhaps just angry at the grinding nature of their trials, implode, explode, and they and their families self-destruct. I have learned that:

1. Imploding is a choice. The hardship exists regardless of the individual’s reactions. The implosion only makes matters worse for everyone.

2. Understanding hardships takes perspective. Perspective takes distance. Distance takes time.