What makes something ordinary – Reflections on a son’s deployment to Afghanistan

Tonight is Wednesday, October 12, 2016 and I am sitting in my son’s home on an army base in Fort Hood, TX.

Lee’s three kiddies are down for the night and the other adults are somewhere with their own thoughts and it’s just me sitting here at Lee and Jennifer’s table reflecting on the fact that tomorrow my son, an Army Chaplain, will be heading out to Afghanistan with his “company” (or whatever it’s called; I’m not up-to-date on the correct “pecking order” for Lee’s new world).

It’s all kind of surreal.

Sonja and I have been blessed to be with Lee and his family since Monday.  And as you can imagine, there have been a lot of mixed emotions and special memories that have been recorded in our hearts during these precious few hours we have had with our children.

There’s one takeaway that particularly stands out.

With Thursday’s deployment date looming, I’ve noticed that Lee has taken every moment available to be with his family.

Furthermore, with the paths our lives have taken, I know that over the span of my remaining life there will only be a very few precious days that I will get to share physically in the life and activities of Lee and his family.

Thus, when it comes time to take the kids to school, we all load up and go.  When it is time to pick them up—we are all there waving, taking pictures, and celebrating like we’ve won the lottery or put a man on the moon for the first time.

Dinner time, bath time, brushing your teeth time, play time, any time is a memorable event and pictures and videos must be taken and memories recorded on the canvas of our hearts.

Matter of fact, when a husband and father knows he is going into a war zone and, at best, will not see his wife and children for months; when a “papa and nana” know they will seldom see their son, daughter-in-law and grandchildren (and knows those grands grow up so fast!), then every moment and every event is special; there are no ordinary moments.

Bottom line, I’ve been reminded of what makes an event ordinary: An ordinary event is something you know you can do tomorrow.

Why bother to break away from your favorite television program or the ball game to be with someone you love when you know you can do that tomorrow night.

Why bother to go to your kid’s ball game, go to church as a family, load up and all go to drop off the kids at school, or eat a meal as a family when you know you can catch that event next time.

Why bother to savor any of the ordinary events of life when…well, they’re so ordinary, so regular, so common, so every day.

Why bother?

Because, as I have been reminded this week, there are no guarantees that you will have tomorrow.

Little boys grow up to be soldiers who go off to Afghanistan.  Little girls have a habit of marrying soldiers and together giving their parents and in-laws beautiful grandchildren and then moving off to follow their own destiny and path of life.

“Till death do we part” can come suddenly and unexpectedly.

“Good-byes” can be forever.

There comes a time, a moment, a second that from then on it is too late.

Yes, as I sit here at this table reminiscing, I am reminded…

  • The ONE THING for today: An ordinary event is something you know you can always do tomorrow; there are no ordinary events.


Carpe Diem – “seize the day” // “seize the moment”


James 4:13-14 (NKJV)

13 Come now, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we will go to such and such a city, spend a year there, buy and sell, and make a profit”; 14 whereas you do not know what will happen tomorrow. For what is your life? It is even a vapor that appears for a little time and then vanishes away.



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18 thoughts on “What makes something ordinary – Reflections on a son’s deployment to Afghanistan

    1. God has aloud Jami,Colt and the grands to be a daily part of our lives as Barbara and Jami home schools the two boys, and we are a big part of their daily lives. Colt is a Major Chaplin Here at Ft. Bragg in Fayetteville, NC.

      Liked by 1 person

  1. My goodness, I didn’t think this would happen so quick. Your thoughts are beautiful and so full of truth. Prayers for Lee, Jen, children, you , Sonja and Briana and family that God put a hedge of protection around Lee. Love the Kemp family.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Bless you Debbie. Please keep us in your prayers. As far as it goes, Lee has arrived safely and is doing well. Now we’re just counting the days till he can come home again.


  2. Oh my I had no idea he was leaving. Our thoughts and prayers are with you and your family. Lee is a very special person to us and we think of he and Jen often as well as you and Sonja. We love you all!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. If only we all would consider that tomorrow is not promised, we should all take to heart that family is so much much more than putting off for another day. Thank you for sharing your heart.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. So sorry to hear of Lees mission, but he is being a Good Son following the steps of His Heavenly Father whose Son also went on a mission. “The Calling” I know Lee is following what God wants him to be and do. He will keep him and go with him to all foreign lands and I am confident that God has already walked before him and covered every path that Lee may walk. Be assured Lee is Gods man for this time. As a parent of a son I can only imagine your grief. But rest in God’s promise in HIM there are never forever goodbyes. What a “that a boy”
    to parents to who has raised such an Awesome Son! Prayers for you all!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. As an US Army Infantry veteran, and a church of God pastor, I wanted to say God your son he is a brave rate person. He will help put tramatized souls back together. I was a cold war veteran myself 1979 – 1983. I will be praying for your son. Thanks for sharing this.

    Kerry Collins In Mississippi

    Liked by 1 person

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