Aviate, Navigate, Communicate

I love flying.  I’m not a pilot, but I’ve flown a handful of times and absolutely love it.  I’ve been fortunate enough to see inside that world a time or two, and I have picked up some of the mantras along the way.  This is one of them.

Priority of tasks while flying:  Aviate, Navigate, Communicate.

What good is knowing where we are going, and communicating with other pilots, air traffic control, or passengers, if the aircraft has lost the ability to stay aloft and is plummeting to the earth?  Gotta keep the plane in the air first and foremost… Aviate!

Before spending time and energy communicating, we need to know where we are going.  There is only so much fuel onboard and we only have so much time to get on course, or to find a safe place to land, both of which require us to… Navigate!

Airplane is stable in flight and we are on a safe course?  Awesome!  Lets talk… Communicate!

Part of me wants to apologize for the silence, part of me wants to tell you that we just weathered a tremendous storm and so my focus was on priorities 1 and 2.  Sometimes just 1.

Most of me wants to detach even further, drift into the mountains with my family, and never speak of these years again.

Truth is, I know, even if I never speak of these years again, I will feel them forever.

It has been a very rough couple years.  By a “couple” I mean, all the way back from April 2014, that fateful day when we departed the paradise we called Washington State and the family we developed there.  Over the last 4 years we have been through almost 2 years deployed, a death in the family, Lyme disease, a cardiac emergency, a cancer diagnosis, a severely damaged house, sustained loss of rental income, foreclosure, a move overseas, and 1 hospitalized child in a Japanese hospital.  The job I am currently doing is rough…  we’ll leave it there.

The rest of this year is looking every bit as difficult!

Things got heavy enough on me that I would come home from work and sit in my van in front of my house for 45 minutes sometimes.  I felt a crushing cold detachment.  I knew that inside my house was warmth, comfort, solace.  I knew that my kids were a huge source of that warmth!  Their innocence and their love for me is palpable.  I knew that, as soon as I walked inside, I would suck the very life out of room, the very blood from the marrow.  I couldn’t do that, so I would sit in the van trying to get it together.  A couple times I would see window blinds shake and a minute later kids bursting forth from the house and running to the van.

I would paste on a peaceful face and I would smile at them while dying on the inside.  It never failed though, true love drives out fear!  Those kids love me so much!!  I’d go inside with them and would immediately drown in their stories from the day, questions about everything under the sun, and invitations to play.

Who knew that their innocence would save me?  And man alive do I need saving!! Every. Single. Day!

In the midst of these difficult times, I came to see that bringing the poison home, I would infect my family.  Love seems to be stronger than that.  Innocent love seems to work the other way.  I come with my broken heart, my head full of trouble, dripping the poison of the day, and walk into a realm of love, and I am healed, I come out clean, and the love is not diminished a single bit.

So that’s where we’ve been.  While the rest of this year is looking difficult, I am doing MUCH better and the family is doing awesome.  I am so glad I get to be a part of this family.

It got tricky… but we were able to Aviate and Navigate…  now we’ll communicate!

Thanks for reading and, to those who sent messages, thanks for encouraging me to keep my head up and to get back to writing.



2 thoughts on “Aviate, Navigate, Communicate”

  1. Thanks for sharing. I hope the love of your family and God continues to heal the wounds from these last few years.

  2. Michael, I love hearing your heart and even though it is hard to know the turmoil has been so palpable, it lets us enter in with you and know better how to stand in the gap with you as we pray for you, Jessica and the kids. We really love you! Thank you for putting it into words with the gift of writing God has given you.

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