Block Leave Memories


At the closeout briefing July 3 our Commander told us to go spend Block Leave safely making memories. “We never know what’s on the backside,” he said. Truer words were never spoken. Living in the present and enjoying the blessings from God are what’s important during Block Leave.

My Block Leave is spent with my family and friends, but especially my children. Without going into details, I will simply say that this past year, actually the past 3 years has been a whirlwind of change in my personal life.

I find myself in an active duty combat unit as an Army Chaplain. At the same time I am caring for my aging father who has many health issues. I’m also now a divorced parent of two wonderful teenagers, whom I share joint custody with my former spouse.

Through it all, with its tremendous highs and lows, God has never abandoned me. He is a God of amazing Grace, to be sure. In an odd way, even though my work-load has greatly increased, I have been able to reconnect with old friends and relatives, and have made a host of new friends, mentors and colleagues. I feel more alive today than I have in a long time. I have no idea what the future holds. I’m learning to not worry about it but to take each day as it comes. Trusting God to guide.

On Father’s Day I took my kids to Florida to reconnect with my relatives and spend a fun day on Panama City Beach. The first part of the first week of July I spent with my daughter at Ft. Benning and at Wild Animal Safari and Stone Mountain. Father-Daughter quality time, making memories. The past three days I spent with my son and his friend on a camping trip to the Pisgah National Forest and the Blue Ridge Parkway in North Carolina. We spent the day at Sliding Rock, swimming and playing under the Looking Glass Falls, and hiking around Mount Mitchell. Topped the day off by my son making an awesome campfire and bed of coals, that was just perfect to make the best Dutch Oven blueberry cobbler I’ve ever made! It was a great first week of Block Leave.

The rest of the time I will spend with old friends and new, and trying to get my Dad feeling healthy enough to visit Ft. Benning, for the first time.

True, I don’t know what’s on the backside of Block Leave. But I am using this one to its fullest by spending time with family and friends, and grabbing some well-deserved rest and renergizing. I’m grateful for how the Army rewards annual leave days and how they structure Block Leave. It can really recharge you for the next run.


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