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February Chaplain's Reflections

1st Lt. Kirby Whitley, a chaplain assigned to the 169th Fighter Wing

U.S. Air Force 1st Lt. Kirby Whitley, a chaplain assigned to the 169th Fighter Wing, at McEntire Joint National Guard Base, S.C., May 3, 2019. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Staff Sgt. Megan Floyd)

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

Before I joined the Air National Guard in 2012, my weekends were consumed with hauling lawn mowers around town and working many hours cutting grass. This was the result of learning the industry while I was younger. During my middle school and high school years, the summers were filled with helping the baseball coach cut the school and ball fields during the summer breaks. This is where I gained my on-the-job training.  The skills I learned during those early years carried me into the adventure of owning my own business and taking on the responsibility of maintaining residential yards. There was one thing I did learn throughout my years performing lawn maintenance: people are particular about their yards! The curb 'appeal' is where I made my mark, especially in small neighborhoods where I would end up with two to three houses in a row to maintain.

My business was called Blades and I took pride in my work and continued to improve upon the skills provided to me by my baseball coach. As we continue to propel ourselves into this new year, may I ask, “What is propelling you?”  When I mowed yards, I focused on keeping the mower straight. When I changed directions I gently turned it without making a 'wheel mark' in the grass. In our lives we face a multitude of changes to include, cars, jobs, relationships, and recently for me, smart phones. I challenge you as you face obstacles in your life to control the 'wheel mark' as you switch directions, focus on getting your path straight, and not looking back at the stripe you have left in the grass but view it as you switch direction again. This provides the perspective of the positive change you made when you cross paths with prior decisions.

Looking back on those lawn maintenance days of my past, I reminisce of the smell of freshly cut grass, the sound of the large zero-turn mower (add Tim Allen “grunt”), the long straight stripes created by the mowing deck and conversations with my assistants who were riding with me between job sites. These are the moments which add fulfillment and a sense of peace to my life. Where do you find your fulfillment or peace?  I challenge you this year to continue to look forward, press on towards the goal and see it through to the finish line. As one of your Swamp Fox chaplains, I can attest that the SCANG Chaplain Corps is rooting you on and available to provide the necessary resources needed for you to succeed. Thank you for all you do!

"But as for you, be strong and do not give up, for your work will be rewarded." 2 Chronicles 5:7

If you desire more information or support on spiritual strength or religious provisions, please call the SCANG Chaplain Corps office at 803-647-8265