Think Short-Term

Any success book worth its cover price is going to tell you that you must develop long-term thinking.  That is because success requires a willingness to forgo the immediate reward for the long term desired result.  Thinking beyond today and tomorrow to next week, month, year, or even decade is imperative to applying the daily decisions necessary to shape the future that you want.

But long-term thinking isn’t always a great idea.

In Lone Survivor, the author explains how to make it through Hell Week at seal training camp: live in the moment.

All of Seal training is hard. Hell Week is just the same hard things all close together, over and over. It’s when the current struggle is extrapolated out with expectation that it will continue without end… that’s when the mental state is impaired. That’s when men, who have trained their whole life for the chance to attempt becoming a Seal, will ring the bell and give up on their dream.

The Seals who graduate master the art of being in the moment.

Today was hard. I learned at 3pm of an accident involving my father and at 9pm it was confirmed that he, along with several other members of their church, did not survive.

That wasn’t in the plan.  Where is God now?

My dad who adopted a son of a single mom as if it was his own is dead. My dad who taught Sunday school and AWANA and served the church in every capacity available for as long as I can remember… he’s gone. My dad who behaves like the preteens that he serves and loves… will never see them again.

He’s gone… without a goodbye.

Right now, I’m in Hell Week and I can survive as long as I can keep my focus on the current moment.

I can’t think about a wedding day without my dad to walk me down the aisle.
I can’t think about grandkids that will never know their grandfather.
I can’t think about Christmas or holidays that will be so much harder without my dad.

I can only think about right now, this moment, taking one more breath… and then another.

Will I be at church Sunday?
I don’t know.
When will I go back to work?
I don’t know.
Will I write every day to process or will this be my last post for a long time?
I don’t know.

I know I will wake up tomorrow.

I will wake up and I will go with my mom to claim my father’s body. From the pictures I saw of the wreckage, I don’t know how recognizable my dad will be.  I can’t think right now about how to handle tomorrow. I can just take one more breath. And after that another.

The time will come to dream again. The time will come to think about the future.

Right now, I need to just live in the moment. Be fully here for my mom and not checked out in YouTube or Netflix. I don’t need to be stoic and emotionless… in fact I need to feel.

And that’s hard. Nothing I can write will make it any easier.

Trust me, I’ve tried.

I’m glad to have so many families and I love you all.  I don’t know what we need. I don’t know how you can help. I know you feel as powerless as I did when Sherri lost her husband. Thank you for just loving and supporting and being available.

I will dream again. But first, I will sleep and wake up to a new day with new challenges. The first day of the rest of my life. I will take comfort in knowing where my father is now and that I will see him again.

And I will keep breathing for this moment before I worry about the next.

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38 thoughts on “Think Short-Term

  1. Barbara

    This brought tears to my eyes. I love your dad an mom so very much. Your dad was and always will be a role model for my kids. I lost my mom in April 2016, almost a year ago. I feel your pain and your hurt. The only thing you can do is continue to wake up each day, breathe and trust in GOD. Some days are harder then others. I hurt for you, your mom and your brothers and sisters.

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  2. sarah roberson

    I’m so sorry about the very sudden and unexpected loss of your dad. I am praying for everyone affected this morning and fervently for you and your mom this morning as you go together to do a very difficult thing. Prayers prayers prayers.

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  3. Sallie scott

    We got to know mr Barrett through Kids Academy this year.
    My son Colten absolutely ADORED him and he adored Colten right back. He was always teasing and tasling his hair and then ending in a big old hug. My 8 yr old lost a great friend in your Dad. And the news hit my little man SO HARD. He’s never cried over losing someone like he did last night. I am SO SORRY for your loss. What an amazing man your dad was, that he could take just 2 days a week, and a few hours those days to impact an 8 yr olds life that changed that kid for the BETTER. That’s an amazing testimony to the kind of father, Christian, servant, man Mr Barrett was.
    We prayed for your family last night. And we continue to do so and thank Jesus that because of His great love we will see Mr Barrett again one day in Heaven. Colten said he’ll be doing burpees for him until then.

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  4. Vicki Ashelin

    Absolutely beautiful writing and a true testament on the person he was. I just met your dad in August thru Kids Academy and he truly was an inspiration to me. As a new teacher still discovering the in and outs of teaching , I loved seeing the look on his face as he teased, played around with and just what it was when he was around the kids, you just knew he would not have wanted to be anywhere else. They loved him and he definitely loved them back. Just his presence made all the kids beam. I can’t even imagine the pain and grief you and your family are going thru from this, but I hope you know you have the prayers of a community and beyond and find comfort that your dad is a man that was loved and adored by so so many. His bright smile and his playful spirit will be greatly missed in the halls at Kids Academy.

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  5. Christy Taylor

    What an honor it was to know your father. He was adored by many at FBKA, including my son who couldn’t wait to be in his math class. We pray you and your family are comforted.

    Blessings-

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  6. Maria Escobedo

    It is a sad time , I will remember him being the leader to all the children at Awana, I would tell your mom she needed to control the oldest child then she could everyone to listen. He will be greatly miss, until we see u again brother.❤

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  7. Jacquie Day

    I wish I could say I don’t know how you feel but I do. I lost my father suddenly and I didn’t have a goodbye either and I had so much I still had to say. This will define you for the rest of your life. It will change your life in ways you don’t know yet. Take one minute at a time, breathe and feel what is going on around you. Your Dad is looking over you now, you will feel it when you least expect to. You and your family will be in my prayers.

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  8. Donna Fuqua

    That was so well written. You have described your dad perfectly. He had such an impact on so many and was so passionate about sharing Jesus with young people. There are many that will have an eternal future because of him. My heart is broken. He was a blessing to our family. We are praying for your family.

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  9. Tiffani Sanford

    Oh Jenn, I’m so sorry for your loss. I’m praying for you and your family. I can’t imagine what you are going through. All I can say is lean in to God because that is the only way you can make it through this horrible time.

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  10. Rebekah Davis-Allen

    Jenn,
    We have never met but your father was my math teacher. I cannot imagine the pain you are going through but wanted to send you and your family my condolence. He was an incredibly amazing teacher. I looked forward to his class because of his love and pride for his students!

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  11. Brenda Nagelhout

    Jenn,
    My heart, pain, and feelings are with you. My dad passed two years ago on Good Friday, April 3 2015. Don’t let anyone tell you different…it does not get easier. My dad will not be here for my wedding either. But I know he is in Heaven with our wonderful God. Prayers for you and your mom and the entire family. My father was a admin in education. I know exactly in my heart how many students he touched. You will see this in the coming days with your dad. Smile…because he is up in Heaven!

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  13. A

    these are the times where you need your church family and were God can comfort you .. he left an awesome legacy he was my teacher and his PEMDAS song has stuck with me until college. I spent time getting to know him with at a friend’s house and got to see him having fun at canyon lake taking my sister and brother rides on the boat … prayers and love don’t loose faith

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  14. Rev. Deborah

    Beautiful tribute to your Dad. The Lord bless and comfort you and all your family and friends. You have my church and my prayers.

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  15. JoDawn Brehm (JD)

    My prayers are with you, your mom and your siblings. Your dad was a beautiful ball of fun with Awana. We (Village Parkway Baptist) would compete every year against him and FBCNB in Bible quiz. This year (2 was ago) we were in the book 1 room together for the multiple choice and Murray was SO proud of the girls he was watching. They were struggling but Murray was so encouraging. We then came out and he was coaching the boys and giving them high fives and you could see the LOVE, respect and excitement in those boys eyes toward your dad. Your father was a big kid but one that won the respect of all the kids. We would also run into him on his bus at schlitterbaun. He was always trying to tell jokes and make the ride fun. He was an AMAZING, Godly man. He will be missed and you guys are in our prayers.

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  16. I am so sorry for your loss! Mr. Barrett was my niece and nephew’s teacher. I never met him but I thank him for his part in their lives. I lost my mom in November and I can absolutely relate with you. With being right in the midst of the holiday season (she passed 4 days after Thanksgiving), there wasn’t much time to imagine/prepare for the holidays without her, it just kinda came and went, but it was beyond difficult. And the thought of Mother’s Day and her birthday coming up make me want to crawl in a hole and hide from the world. I tell you these things not to depress you even more, but to let you know that it’s ok to feel whatever you feel. I was completely numb the first 12 hours (that first day waking up afterwards was the hardest! I cried so hard I couldn’t even sit myself up in bed). There’s no “right” way to grieve. There’s no instruction booklet or how-to video. The ONLY way to make it is to take it one day at a time, one moment at a time, one step at a time. So keep doing that! God bless you and your family! You all have my prayers!

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  17. Prayers for you, your family, your church, and New Braunfels. My dad died at the age of 48 from a heart attack. I was 21 and away at school. Take one step at a time, grieve and lean on the Lord.

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  18. Ricky Kyles

    Often times we want to share some clever expression or eloquent montage. Unfortunately, I am emotionally spent. All I can muster is Christ is more than enough, in fact He is the only remedy for what ails the human soul.

    I am with you, my dear sister. Just trying to live in the moment. That is what Christ tells us anyway. It is just crystallizing for me now.

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  19. Pam Wells

    I remember your whole famiky from FBC San Marcos years ago (Zumwalt at the time) and more recently i came to know your dad again through his substitute work at Canyon Middle School where i was, at that time, their bookkeeper. A loving and caring man of others with positivity and a smile that would lift anyone from their “pit” of a bad day. Im so sorry for your loss. It is a great, big loss. All we have is today. All we have is this moment in time, really. Your words are a great inspiration and i hope you continue lifting people up with your honesty. I am so grateful to have known your family and especially the passion in which your parents approached life.

    With much regret for your loss, i still praise God fir givibg His son in sacrifice so we would have a choice for eternity.

    In His Holy Name, i will continue to pray for your whole family,
    Pam Wells (formerly Zumwalt) parent od Ashlea Zumwalt.

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  20. Nicole Carroll

    We’ve never met but your dad subbed for me a few times. This past October was the last time that he subbed for me. I was pregnant with my fourth boy and I remember your dad beaming and telling me that I was just going to love having four kids! Your dad’s kind words will never be forgotten. I will continue to pray for you and your family, as well as, all the other victims families.

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  21. Mark Romero

    My thoughts are with you. I lost my wife of almost 22 years to cancer last June. Unlike you, I knew her death was coming. But it still didn’t prepare me for it. I spoke to her the night before and the next afternoon she was gone. I try to take comfort in the fact that she lived a full life. We had many many wonderful times together. She is in a better place and I look forward to seeing her again. I don’t know how much longer I have on this Earth but I will think of her everyday for the rest of my life.

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  27. My heart was so crushed when I heard the news report of the wreck that killed all those beautiful Christian brothers and sisters. May our God continue to wrap his loving comforting arms around each of you. Prayers, blessings, and love from Texas!

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