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September Chaplain's Reflections

U.S. Air Force portrait of Lt. Col. Brian Bohlman, a chaplain assigned to the 169th Fighter Wing, April 27, 2016. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Airman 1st Class Megan Floyd)

U.S. Air Force portrait of Lt. Col. Brian Bohlman, a chaplain assigned to the 169th Fighter Wing, April 27, 2016. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Airman 1st Class Megan Floyd)

MCENTIRE JOINT NATIONAL GUARD BASE, S.C. --

 “There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens: a time to be born and a time to die, a time to plant and a time to uproot, a time to kill and a time to heal, a time to tear down and a time to build, a time to weep and a time to laugh, a time to mourn and a time to dance, a time to scatter stones and a time to gather them, a time to embrace and a time to refrain from embracing, a time to search and a time to give up, a time to keep and a time to throw away, a time to tear and a time to mend, a time to be silent and a time to speak, a time to love and a time to hate, a time for war and a time for peace.” --King Solomon, Ecclesiastes 3:1-8

 

This passage contains many golden nuggets of ancient wisdom in regards to recognizing the times and seasons in our lives. In my experience, when I’ve taken time to pause and reflect on where I’ve been, it has helped me better navigate where I’m going. However, this practice of “reflection” is becoming a lost art in a society that thrives on a 24/7 news cycle and stays connected to social media to avoid the fear of missing out (FOMO) on a post, tweet, or text.

 

So, I invite you to take a moment to pause and think deeply on the following reflection questions based on a football and farming analogy: What quarter of life am I presently in? Is it halftime? What is the score? If losing, do I have faith for a comeback? If winning, how do I maintain my lead? What season of life am I in? What is the condition of my soil? Do I need to plant, water, uproot or harvest?

 

Taking time to reflect on and recognize the times and seasons in your life is a valuable skill to  develop as a leader. When facing a crossroad, take the time to discern and weigh your courses of action carefully and how they might affect your future. Never limit your future by limiting your options. It is also wise to seek advice from other leaders in order to gain wisdom in the midst of counselors. Then, take courage to act and don’t look back. Face your future with faith and hope as you pioneer a

new path into uncharted territory. Retired General Colin Powell once said, “There are no secrets to success. It is the result of preparation, hard work, and learning from failure.”

 

Renowned British explorer, Sir Ernest Shackleton, in his book South: A Memoir of the Endurance Voyage took time to reflect back on his failed Antarctic expedition by crediting God’s divine intervention for the miraculous survival of 27 crew members who braved nearly two years stranded in the Antarctic when their expedition ship was trapped and then crushed in the pack ice of the Weddell Sea. In his memoir, Shackleton said, “When I look back at those days I have no doubt that Providence guided us, not only across those snowfields, but across the storm-white sea that separated Elephant Island from our landing-place on South Georgia. I know that during that long and racking march of thirty-six hours over the unnamed mountains and glaciers of South Georgia it seemed to me often that we were four, not three.” This quote reminds us of the power of faith during times of failure and reminds us that we are never alone!

 

As I transfer to another ANG unit next month and begin a new O-CONUS special duty assignment, I want to thank God, my family, civilian employers, and Swamp Fox leadership for every opportunity that I’ve been given to support the homeland, warfight, and partnership over the last 19 years. It has been an exciting adventure that has literally taken me to every continent! Whether at home station or downrange, it has been an honor to care for the soul of the Swamp Fox as “Rev” in the valleys of the shadow of death and on mountaintop experiences. I am a better staff officer and chaplain from my time as a Swamp Fox and I will take our Semper Primus/Always First ethos into my new assignments.

 

May God continue to bless you and your families in the years to come and may each of you leave a legacy when your time comes to pass the baton to the next generation of leadership. Most of all, may you take time to reflect on and recognize the times and seasons in your life and face your future with faith and hope. With God’s help, do your part to preserve our tradition of honor and legacy of valor as an American Airman! Godspeed! “Rev”

 

** RSVP NLT 17 September **

STRONG BONDS FAMILIES & MARRIED COUPLES EVENTS
28-30 SEPTEMBER IN HILTON HEAD, SC


Call 803-647-8265 or email Christina.P.Pittman.mil@mail.mil for more information