SUNDAY, JANUARY 9, 2011 12:37 PM, CST
Funny, for the past number of months I have patiently waited for an obvious road sign that would signal a turn to a settled, predictable future. And when I glimpsed the sign, I promised myself that I would write you an update telling you how boring and predictable our lives had become. Yet this isn’t how life works, is it? And truly, when I search deep in my soul, I know that a predictable future is not what I seek.
Not to worry – no terrible misfortune has twisted our path back to hospital visits or life changing pronouncements. It is in challenging and pushing ourselves that keeps each day fresh and interesting. The most significant update surrounds Phillip and his decision to enlist in the Air Force Special Forces. Having met the highly selective requirements to try out for “Superman School” with a dream of becoming a Para-Rescue Jumper, Phil was one of less than 6% of the soldiers that made it through the grueling 10 week Indoc training without quitting or injury.
If you have not yet had a chance to watch Discovery Channel’s segment on “Surviving the Cut: Para Rescue” I would encourage you to check it out. What these men sacrifice for our country is mind numbing.
Unfortunately, of the seven (out of 116) Airmen that made it through Indoc the first time, Phil was one of two who were offered a “set-back” (a chance to retake the course.) The decision, as far as we can tell, is based on his relative youth compared to the other men who have made it through (all of whom had prior military experience in other branches, or who enlisted with a college degree.) And so, beginning January 18th, if his body allows, Phil will begin the unimaginable physical and mental challenge that makes up the hardest training the military can dish out once again. Your continued support for Phil’s dedication to the mission, “That Other’s May Live” is appreciated. You can friend Phil on Facebook or send him letters to:
AMN Whiting, Phillip G.
1080 Apollo Drive
Lackland AFB, TX 78236-9099
Prayers that his body and mind will remain strong are greatly appreciated. It is a noble cause Phil had dedicated himself to, and support beyond his own motivation is key to his continued focus.
Beyond living this surreal “Reality TV” version of Phil’s training, our lives move forward in a predictable, blessed manner. I continue to regain strength, actually able to make it all the way through my four-hour MBA evening classes. My HIV test came back negative a couple weeks ago – reason for celebration indeed! One final procedure to clean up the last of the surgical side affects remains, but I simply can’t bring myself to face an elective procedure yet. I’ll know when the time is right, and until then the pain and discomfort from an entrapped nerve is manageable.
As for Kevin, school is going very well. He is preparing to take the ACT and is beginning to think about where he might like to go to college. He is a junior now, has fantastic friends and suffers the most minimal of lingering side effects from his health issues. Cold and physical strain might always cause an ache inside his abdomen – yet this is an issue that is manageable and intermittent. He is happy. We are close to signing a contract on our book, and expect to get it published in the near future.
Katie is superb. She loves playing her saxaphone, to telemark ski, and to be active in any number of activities. Right now she is in New Orleans with the Little Big Band, having been invited to play at an international jazz convention. Hers was the only band comprised entirely of 13 – 15 year olds that received an invitation, and she and Jeff (travelling as a chaperone) are having a ball.
And Jeff is thriving as well. He skis, he trains for cycling. His business continues to grow. Being able to provide jobs and opportunity is very fulfilling for Jeff, and he is happy that he can help doctors focus on being doctors. He is great friends with his business partner.
With the arrival of 2011, I thought, “This must be the road sign I was waiting for. It’s time to provide an update for all of you that continue to offer your care and support.” Thanks for following our journey. It is my prayer that for each of you 2011 brings a set of happy challenges that keep you motivated and strong.