Forced timeout equals bonus time

  • Published
  • By Chaplain David Kreis
  • 944th Fighter Wing Chaplains Office

I am not going to lie, when I heard the NCAA tournament was canceled I was a little bit upset. I am, for the most part, a terrible bracketologist but I still like to try. I thoroughly enjoy filling out all the brackets and watching the scores come in across the ESPN bottomline. With so many things being canceled I am sure many of you have found the only thing entertaining for now is the many memes about toilet paper (oddly enough all the stores I have been to have been out of TP but plenty of oranges and other fruits available). 

Some of you know my family’s story from last summer but I would like share it briefly now because I hope you too will be blessed when life makes you take a forced time out.

I was on extended orders that ended last summer.  At about the same time, I was let go from my civilian job as the temporary position had expired (we had completed our goals about a year ahead of time). On top of that, my wife broke a bone in her back in an accident. We certainly found ourselves on a forced timeout. At first, I had no idea what to do. I felt lost without work to go to everyday. I had been working ‘round the clock keeping up with civilian life and family as well as events on base. My wife and I now suddenly hit a wall and the forced timeout could not have been more timely.

Here’s how the forced timeout blessed us and helped us get back on track with our personal family readiness and spiritual priorities:

  1. We utilized the timeout to seek out couples counseling/mentoring. Our schedule had negatively impacted our ability to meet with friends and mentors so we took advantage of not having work to connect with friends and counselors. 
  2. We changed up our spending habits. Reduced work meant reduced paychecks, but Providence saw to it that we had our needs supplied. We paid off some debt and invested in our house. 
  3. We reemphasized our spiritual connection. We continue to work on this, but as a family, spending time together and with others from our faith tradition has strengthened our spiritual resilience. We consumed hours and hours of various parenting, leadership, family, national security, and religious podcasts. Contact me for a list. 
  4. We restarted some exercise programs and drastically revamped our diet. We discovered some food allergies during this time as well, so changing that portion of our diet has helped in our health and physical activity. We have spent more time outside at the parks and hiking.
  5. Our schedule changed dramatically which improved health and responsiveness from our children. With both my wife and I being home more during our forced timeout, we have managed a much more consistent schedule. This allowed for potty training, story time (and as many of you have teased me already for, yes I completed more books in the recent months), less TV, more parks, flying kites, paddle boating, and hiking which has boosted our family resilience and relationships. 

With no sports, TDYs, school, activities, and travel, we have had to cancel just about everything again but it means fewer distractions. Many of you are working from home with the kids running around you and going from store to store looking for the last bit of supplies you need. We are all impatient for life to “normalize.” I encourage everyone to take advantage of the gift you have been given of a forced timeout to get back to the important parts of life and build your relationships with family and friends even if it has to be remotely or by snail mail (maybe Lysol the envelope first). 

- Chaplain Kreis