Life is a Journey – Not a Destination

Life is a Journey – Not a Destination



I’ve been to boot camp. Oh, not the kind where I have to wear combat boots and have drill sergeants or company commanders charging through the barracks screaming, “Fire! Fire! Fire!” at Zero dark thirty, but the kind where I watch my college graduate honor student pack a bag with the barest necessities, get sworn in, loaded on a bus, and then flown cross country to a place I’ve never been. Then the horrible, scripted phone call. “Hi, Mom, I can’t talk, they’re taking my phone away for eight weeks, but I’m there. Bye.”


I lived on the computer, haunting the company facebook page for news of my son. Read the company journals – in fact I haunted that page every Monday, anxiously waiting for news of what the recruits had done that week. I waited for the mailman, waiting for a hoped for letter or postcard and mourned when one didn’t come.


I panicked every time the phone rang, especially when some mothers said, “I got the dreaded phone call… my recruit has been reverted.” And I prayed harder for my recruit, imagining my baby boy crying into his pillow at night and wondering what he’d gotten himself into. (By the way, he didn’t do that, he said.)


Then week five, the phone rang, and it was from the recruit training center. My heart was in my throat. I answered, so excited to hear my recruit’s voice, but scared senseless when he said “I don’t know how to say this, but…”


What!? “Are you okay? Were you reverted?”


“Mom! No! Wow, that hurt!”


“Sorry, but when you start a phone call that way, I fear the worst. What’s going on?”


It was good news. He’d gotten his orders. Okay, his top choice was Alaska, and he didn’t get that, and his second choice was “Michigan” and he didn’t get that and his third choice was “anywhere near Arkansas” and he didn’t get that – but he did get his fourth choice “Anywhere on the Great Lakes.” I’m happy for him, but sad for me since he’s going so far away. Much closer than Alaska, but I’m not going to be able to drive over and visit him on weekends.


My recruit has graduated from boot camp now, he’s home on five days leave, and then he’s leaving for his first post. And we survived a missed flight, lost luggage, and then a frantic all day search for a new-to-him vehicle because his old beater pickup (circa 1999) would never make a trip across the country. Not when it broke down and had convulsions after a three hour drive. Oh and I LOVE his new vehicle! It has Blue Tooth, a backup camera, GPS, heated leather seats, and a sunroof plus many other amenities too numerous to mention. Too small for my family of seven, but big enough for one single military man who needed a reliable workhorse vehicle.


I told my husband I am so proud of my son, but I’m scared to death for him. I’m excited at all the possibilities he’ll experience and worried sick that he’ll be out of my reach – not for eight long weeks of boot camp this time, but for an extended time. “At least I’ll still have my phone, Mom. They aren’t taking it away again and I can call you every night.” And maybe he will. For awhile.


I have cried so many tears this summer, and will continue crying so many more into the fall as I adjust, but now I have an excuse to go on vacation someplace I’ve only been to once (and then, during a blizzard!) I have an invite to stop by my Pittsburg publisher’s office when I go to visit my son, and yes, I’m looking forward to it.


Live the adventure.


My verse God gave me this year is Joshua 1:7 – “Be strong and very courageous…” And those who’ve read my posts know that I’ve struggled mightily through many things this year. Issues with my oldest son. A book that really ripped my heart out. Stolen money. A wrecked car. So much more.


As I was sitting at the loan officer’s desk this afternoon, discussing the terms of Michael’s loan and other Mom questions my son and I needed to know, I saw a sign on the desk. “Life is a journey. Not a destination.” It included a reference to a Bible verse. And as I looked around the bank office I saw so many Christian symbols of the faith. Such a blessing to have a banker who is not ashamed of the gospel of Christ. And one who gave me a topic for this blog post.


“The LORD himself goes before you and will be with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged.”

Deuteronomy 31:8


Lord, thank you for going with me on this journey. Help me not to be afraid or discouraged. Amen.


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Laura Hilton About Laura Hilton

Laura Hilton lives and writes in Arkansas, surrounded by her husband and five children. The author of inspirational novels about the Amish, she is also a book reviewer. Find Laura online at: her blog or Facebook page.


  1. Tina Dorward says:

    May God bless and protect Michael and please thank him for his willingness to serve. God’s strength and peace be with you and your husband.


  2. Janet K Brown says:

    I love this, Laura. Thanks for your realism.


  3. Laura Hilton says:

    thank you, Tina.


  4. Laura Hilton says:

    Thanks, Janet!


  5. Laura, I can empathize. We sent my oldest son to what amounted to a six-month boot camp when he entered Virginia Military Institute. We all had several days of tears. He made it through, looks back on those years as a victory and the building of his character. He’s been in the military for fifteen years now. Yes, it’s a journey, not a destination. The same with my other children, all grown now, as they have married, had children, followed careers. Praying for you this year with all the changes.


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