Sometimes it seems almost silly that nearly eighteen years into Pete's military career, he and I still struggle with the stay in/get out decision every few years. Thankfully, he's *mostly* taken my thoughts and concerns into consideration when extending his military career, but this time just seems...I don't know, so FINAL. He's two years away from that twenty-year mark when everyone usually starts making plans to hang up the camouflage and move into a civilian life. Yet here we are, at another crossroads. It's crunch time for him to make a major decision that will affect not only his career, but the next seven or eight years of our family's life. Apply for Warrant Officer Candidate School, or just ride out the next few years and hang it all up?
When it's all said and done, if he's accepted for the Warrant Officer program, it will mean just an additional two and a half years tacked on to what he's already going to be serving. Both of us are admittedly weary of the high op-tempo and constant uncertainty. It seems like things never truly "slow down" for Pete, and it would be wonderful to have roots for once; we just don't feel like we have a "home". My parents have moved away from the only hometown I've ever known, his parents have divorced and moved to separate ends of the state, we've sold the only house we ever owned...life just feels so disjointed! But of course, this is the only life we've ever known since our family began almost eighteen years ago. Neither of us has a clue what spending more than three years in any one place feels like. How would we handle it? Will we need to pack up everything we own into a U-Haul van and drive it around the block every few years? Repaint and remodel? What does "home" even feel like?
Of course, the obvious question is why does all of this even "scare" us? We've always looked longingly toward Pete's military retirement. We've dreamed of settling down, building a house, and starting a "normal" life for years. God has blessed us richly and He will use the experiences we've had over the years for something wonderful, I'm sure...but are we "done"? Is that extra few hundred dollars a month (okay, close to a thousand) we'll get in his retirement check worth two and a half more years? Why does THAT scare us? After nearly twenty, what's two and a half more years?
I suppose God's answer would be pretty clear--if He doesn't want Pete to spend the extra time in the military, it just wouldn't happen. Talk about your leaps of faith!