a somewhat silly milestone
Monday September 25th 2006, 8:16 am
Filed under: personal

for frequent fliers, ’status’ with the airline means all kinds of perks: better seats, upgrades, shorter lines, more free miles for free tickets, and more. i’ve been a ‘1k’ with united for a handful of years (which means i fly more than 100,000 miles each year). but there was one milestone still out there: being a one-million-miler with united. when a flier reaches 1,000,000 actual miles, lifetime, united grants ‘premiere executive’ (their middle of three tiers) for the rest of your life.

i passed the 1,000,000 mile mark last night, flying to ft. wayne, indiana, for a couple promotional lunches for our national youth workers conventions. i’ll be at lunches at hungtington college and bethel college today and tomorrow (i can’t remember which is first).

this is a strange, bittersweet milemarker. it means more perks when i fly, and it means i’ll get good seats on united for the rest of my life. but it’s also an indication of the fact that my quantity of travel is still something i haven’t figured out. there’s a weird paradox here: my travel is critical for ys, for my job. and i love most of what i travel for. not going on most of these trips would have an adverse impact on ys. but, being gone as much as i am isn’t healthy for my family; and, in the truer part of the paradox, leaves me more out-of-touch with the staff of ys (which descreases my effectiveness). i’m psyched about reaching this silly milestone, but immediately, within a split-second of that feeling, move to guilt and frustration over my apparent inability to figure out this elusive balance.

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I am not, obviously, there to see your day to day life and what your family values look like lived out, but as a reader of this blog and someone who has seen the pictures of family vacations and your kids tagging along on some of your trips, I am encouraged. I know that youth ministry means that I will gone over the summer and will have late night meetings and Bible studies from time to time, but your example encourages me. My kids don’t have to be the stereotypical minister’s kids. Sometimes they will miss me, and sometimes they will tag along. I know that, ultimately, God has at least as much concern for my kids as I do, and if I continue to point them towards Him, then my prescence, or lack of prescence, will be of less consequence.

I say all that, but I only have a few thousand FF miles and my kids are 2 and 4. But still, I think, from this perspective, that you are doing a great job of balancing your responsibilities. It’s good that you worry that you are not, though, becasue it will keep you from becoming complacent and thinking you have it all covered.

Comment by Chris Marsden 09.25.06 @ 9:49 am

From someone who absolutely detests flying, I don’t know whether to say “congratulations” or “I am so sorry.”

I am very upset I will be missing NYWC for only the second time during my time in youth ministry. The staff is coming, but sadly, I am being sent to another event by church leadership. I will miss you guys. Thanks so much for all you do!

Comment by David Alexander 09.25.06 @ 2:00 pm

Marko, I appreciate this perspective. Yesterday I was thinking through all of the “alternative” choices I could have made (stay single, work professionally at the church, not go to Bible college, etc), and was realizing how much guidance God simply gives us in the basics of life. No choice is without both pro’s & con’s. God is the One who determines right, though. I appreciate your perspective.

Comment by Andrew Northern 09.25.06 @ 7:17 pm

thanks for reminding me that every choice for God will not always seem like the best, but you do it for Him. I needed that reminder, and thanks to Andrew for a GREAT comment!

Comment by Chad Miller 09.26.06 @ 8:37 am

How can we get a site like yours? Did you have someone design it or did you do it yourself?

Comment by Dave P 09.26.06 @ 9:00 am

dave p — i just found a site that had a whole bunch of free wordpress (the blogging software i use) templates. it took about 10 minutes.

Comment by marko 09.26.06 @ 9:06 am

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