In response to an invitation to join a one-sided conversation on love and life:

Dearest Distant Friend,

I know you aren’t that far away, but it feels that we’ve grown so far apart. I miss you. I’ve often thought that there are two things I regret about leaving for the Air Force. One was not being there when grandpa died, and the other was not seeing you grow up. I wish so bad that I could go back and be there for you. Sometimes when I came home on leave, I didn’t even recognize you – you had changed so much.

There is so much about me that you don’t know. I think the reason is that you were just a kid when I left, and now that you aren’t I don’t know how to really talk with you, or maybe it’s that I’m just afraid.

I don’t regret everything about leaving. I found my wife, and really found God. It is hard because it feels like while I was off growing closer to God, those I cared about most were falling away. Had I not left, I know that I would not be in a position to help anyone. God has really changed me.

Please don’t think I’m coming down on you for how you are living. Like I told you in the car, I love you no matter what. Nothing will change that. It’s because I care about you so much that I don’t want to see you hurt. I’m not claiming to have all the answers either. God knows all that I’ve messed up while acting out of my own wisdom skewed by desire.

All I’ll claim is that Jesus loves you, and if you surrender to him you can have the most fulfilling life. I wish I knew how to share this with you easier. Sometimes the most important conversations never happen, because they are difficult, and this is where I suppose I lack strength. I don’t want to put if off any more. It is long past the time to start rebuilding what we once had. I hope it’s not too late; I don’t think it is. I can’t use that as an excuse to wait any longer though. I don’t want it to become too late.

I think I’ll wait until school is out, though. I don’t want to add extra burden to finals.