Deployments have their ups and downs. One huge “up” is R&R. These days with deployments being shortened to 9 months, not everyone gets it. Those of us lucky(?) enough to still do a year do get that time to reconnect with our spouse. During this particular deployment, R&R came just 4 months in – not exactly ideal if you're trying to break up the time. But God knew this was the perfect time for us. It was over Thanksgiving and just before Christmas, easy enough to celebrate both (which we did). For our little family, this meant a lot of fun packed into 2 weeks. Not only that, but being that we live in a state with bipolar weather patterns, we had days warm enough to go to the zoo and cold enough to play in the snow. The Lord orchestrated every moment, every detail to bring us closer together as a family. If you ever doubt how intimately God is involved in your life, I can give you several examples of how closely connected He is to our goings and comings.
Yet even before R&R started, I dreaded the end. I worried how DD would react to DH leaving again. I stressed over how I would cope and get back to our routine. I bemoaned the fact that we weren't even halfway through this thing, and it would be quite a few more months (double what we'd already done, in fact) before we were reunited. I did not want to miss the joy, the connection, the memories, but my emotions overwhelmed me when I thought beyond the present moment.
Then I realized. I had to live R&R the same way I live every other day of this deployment – one day at a time. There simply is no other way to live, even when it's a “good” time. If I thought of the end, I wouldn't get to experience the elation of the beginning. If I thought of the goodbye, I wouldn't be able to revel in the anticipation of the welcome home. I had to make a conscious effort not to think beyond the present. It was hard, especially for a planner like me. There were times I would have to physically move to change my thoughts. But when I lived that day and that day only, I was so much happier, so much more content, so much more thankful, so much more present. My husband was appreciative too. He doesn't want to be reminded that he has to go back. Who does?!
God continues to teach me (even in the good times) to rely on Him – not on circumstances, not on people, definitely not on feelings, not even on facts. He is the only One who can sustain me through the ebb and flow of life and keep me whole (/sane!) But I have to make the choice to surrender to Him, to look at just what He puts in front of me – not what's behind or 5 days in the future – and I have to look at how His hand never lets go of me, no matter how hard (or easy) it looks. He is the same yesterday, today, and forever (Heb 13:8). And He will never leave me (Deut 31:6). Not when it's good, not when it's bad, not when it's easy, not when it's hard. Not when DH deploys, not during R&R, not when DH goes back, not when DH comes home. Never, never, never.