October Chaplain's Reflections
By Chaplain (Capt.) Matthew Gray, 169th Fighter Wing
/ Published October 01, 2020
MCENTIRE JOINT NATIONAL GUARD BASE, S.C. --
Hello Swamp Fox Family!
I hope you are doing well and have gotten to enjoy some of this fall weather we have been having. Relaxation is so important and yet doesn’t come easy to me. I’m a doer. So much so that I feel like I am wasting my time if I don’t do anything. Maybe you are the same way. If so, I have a question for you. According to the book of Genesis, how many days did it take for God to create the heavens and the earth? It’s a trick question. The answer is six! We commonly think that it took seven days but forget that God created the world in six days and rested on the seventh. If God rested on the seventh day and saw that it was good, why don’t we?
We give our best in our military service and career so much so that our families only see our worst when we return home. That’s because we don’t take time for own health and well-being. Augusten Burroughs, author of Running with Scissors, said “When you have your health, you have everything. When you do not have your health, nothing else matters at all.” Isn’t that the truth? Lack of rest gnaws away at our health and well-being if we let it.
As a priest I am often blessed to be at the bedside of a dying person. It is usually a peaceful time of reflection when I get to visit with them. If the conversation lends itself, I ask them if they have any regrets. You know, I have never had anyone say to me they regretted not spending more time in the office, not making more money, not worrying more, and so on. They always say the thing they regret most is not spending time enjoying life with their family.
We might imagine the scene in Luke 10:40-42 where Martha is worried and anxious about many things. She is busy in the kitchen and probably upset that all of her friends are relaxing in the next room. Jesus says that all too familiar verse “Martha Martha, you are worried and anxious about many things. But only one thing is necessary. Mary has chosen the better part, and it will not be take away from her.” Mary chose to rest. In resting, she found lasting peace that would not go away. That’s not to say that she would never work but that she put her faith and family first in her life.
At our annual Joint Chaplain Corps training this past month, Maj. Gen. Van McCarty and Brig. Gen. Jeff Jones both drove this point home. They work hard but they never neglect themselves and their relationships. When they find themselves stretched thin, they purposefully set aside time to rest, recover, renew, and restore.
Faith and family should come first in our lives. Work is necessary. But it is more powerful and productive when we are well rested. If God rested, why can’t you?