Thanksgiving is a time for family gatherings, delicious meals, and celebrations. And for me, on five separate occasions, Thanksgiving has been a significant time of coming home.
COMING HOME FROM WAR
I remember first my homecoming from Iraq on November 18, 2005. The day was the Friday before Thanksgiving that year.
The year I spent in Iraq was challenging, heartbreaking at the loss of life, rewarding for the bonds of friendship. I grew to love the men I worked with as brothers. I cherished the beautiful Iraqi people we fought hard to protect.
After a year in their beautiful country, I was very grateful to come home to my country, America, and return home to my family.
SONS COMING HOME FROM WAR
All three of our boys have been in the military; Cody is in the Army, Clint is a veteran of the Marine Corps, and Brenin is a veteran of the Air Force.
Cody and Clint both served in a combat zone, Cody in Iraq and Clint in Afghanistan, and both returned home safely. Ironically, Cody returned home on November 18, 2011, six years to the day after I came home from Iraq.
Each time we sent a son to war, we prayed in hope and faith we would see them again. I’m grateful they did return home safely and for the ease of communication we enjoyed while they were deployed. I’m also grateful for their commanders and senior NCOs who led with wisdom and confident courage.
HOME FROM MISSIONARY SERVICE
Thirty-six years ago on November 25, 1987, the day before Thanksgiving that year, I returned home after serving as a missionary in central Florida for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
I had left Utah two years earlier in a winter blizzard and returned home to Utah to another winter blizzard.
After two years of riding bikes under the Floridian sunshine, snow was actually a pleasant treat. More pleasant were the cherished memories of families and friends who changed my life as I sought to strengthen theirs.
On two other occasions, this beautiful time of year has also been a time of spiritual homecoming. While not a physical change of location, the spiritual transformation has proved to be more significant then any of my physical homecomings. Ironically, both of these spiritual homecoming days were on November 18th of their respective years.
Homecomings can be much more than just returning to a physical place we call home.
A great homecoming could be a reconnecting phone call or email with someone you haven’t talked with in a long time. It could be a lingering chat with a next-door neighbor who you hardly get to see.
A most beautiful homecoming could be extending the gift of forgiveness, to yourself or to others. It could also be asking for forgiveness.
The best homecomings are those quiet moments reconnecting with God.
Whatever your homecomings are during this season of gratitude and joy, may they bless you with the gift of an outstretched hand of hope, a word of kindness, and a smile of peace.
Have a good Monday! Thanks for letting me share.
p.s. Take 13 minutes today to create a homecoming moment of your own.
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