Well, if all had gone as planned, I'd have been back in the States a couple of days already at this point.
CONUS, in Army-speak.
That's "CONtinental United States" for everyone else.
I'm still not sure how to use the acronym in a sentence, because it seems as though it ought to take a definite article ("the CONUS"). I've never heard that phrase used, however.
In any event, after more than two years of being mobilized/deployed, and after having watched the two units for whom I served as Chaplain leave ahead of me, I was really looking forward to being back in the States according to schedule!
However, this is the Army, and as I'd been telling people rather consistently, "just stay in the present moment -- don't live in a future that may never happen."
It seems the plane which was originally scheduled to have picked us up developed some sort of mechanical problem, and had to land in a country other than Kosovo for repairs.
We found this out after having schlepped our bags to the staging area (for me, this was at some significant distance, and my duffel, ruck, and day pack weighed over 140 pounds -- *that* did a number on my knees and left ankle as I was-- very slowly -- making my way across the ever-present gravel!) at 0200, enduring the Customs inspection which started at 0300, being told we were "on hold" at 0400, and finally having been apprised at 0545 that we'd have to collect our luggage and repeat the drill 24 hours later.
We later learned that the delay would be an additional 4.5 hours longer than that.
It was a *huge* disappointment to me that all this meant I wouldn't be able to see my Aviators one more time before they departed for New York, Kentucky, Virginia, and South Carolina.
But it is what it is, and by not having dwelt in a future which can now never happen, I seemed not to have experienced as much Angst as some of those around me who'd approached the situation differently.
I guess my friends who go to a lot of those AA and Al-Anon meetings are on to something, because they've been telling me, for three decades now (one day at a time), that I might just want to try living in the moment....
No matter what it took to get here, it's good to be CONUS!
Even if I'm not quite home yet.
Blessings and peace to one and all,
Fr. Tim, SJ