With that being said, this recent trip reminded me of a decision that I was faced with several years ago. After a medical issue sidelined an attempt to join the military in my late teens, I began looking for ways that I could serve without having to enlist. Between my personal reasoning and the concrete truths of The Bourne Identity, I decided that any position with CIA would be right up my alley.
Now, fast forward a few years. I had graduated college, was happily married, and was preparing for my second daughter. With the sobering nature of “real life,” I had all but walked away from any thought of achieving this adolescent dream. Then it happened! An email from a recruiter at CIA popped up in my inbox. It politely invited me to fly out to Virginia to go through a barrage of tests, interviews, and a background check that was kind of frightening…even for a relatively good kid. Needless to say, I thought I hit the lottery!
The hilarious point to this is that I was ready to say yes to anything and I didn’t even know the exact details of the position for which I would be interviewed. Under the wise and somewhat frantic counsel of my wife, I read the detailed description of the position. Instead of a nice 8-5 office job, I discovered that I would have been required to “deploy” anywhere in the world without much notice. If that wasn’t enough, I would have had to leave my family behind if the deployment was less than a year in length!
After my wife came to, we had a good conversation about the “reality” of what this would mean for our family had I been selected. Truthfully, it was a gut wrenching decision. I was face to face with a dream that I had never really anticipated coming true. But, I thank the Lord that the thought of missing huge sections of my daughter’s lives was simply too heavy. I declined the invitation….and that was that.
During this past week I have envisioned how I would have coped had things been different. Having been intricately weaved in to the daily life of my family, I honestly had a hard time imagining me not catching those first words or missing those manic hugs that I get hit with when I come home every night. More than that, I thought of all those dads out there that don’t get to experience these things because of seemingly benign choices. Just one decision, absent any ill intent, can make that difference between watching your kids grow up or watching your kids grow away.
I just continue to pray that I don’t sacrifice long-term connectedness for short-term gains.