December Chaplain's Reflection
By Capt. Christina Pittman, 169th Fighter Wing
/ Published November 26, 2014
MCENTIRE JOINT NATIONAL GUARD BASE, S.C. --
"National strength lies only in the hearts and spirits of men."
"Gaining Strength in the Holiday Season"
-General George C. Marshall
I remember reading the quote above from General Marshall in the manual the Chaplain Corps uses for Spiritual Resiliency and Relationships Course. As I reflected on the words and meaning I realized the wisdom embodied in this phrase. How true is the correlation between strength of a person and his/her heart and spirit? As an emotional and spiritual caregiver I find this relationship to be real and reflective of a person's resiliency. If this is the case then how does an Airman achieve heart and spiritual resiliency to be ready for the mission?
The quote from General Marshall appears in the curriculum section, "Developing Emotional Strength Through Your Spirituality." Many who attend the course have a spiritual belief system which guides his/her life. Others are just being introduced to the idea he/she is a spiritual person with a soul and heart full of emotions. Personalities are different in emotional expressions and soul connections; giving attention and time to the heart of who a person is as a spiritual and emotional being is important.
How does one give this much needed attention to his/her heart? I would like to look to an array of events and reflections which strengthen the spirit. As the holiday season approaches, reflect on the symbols of your faith and memories from past family gatherings that brought you joy and gladness in your heart. Do you think about a loved one you shared a meal with or a service you attended with uplifting music? Maybe your memory is of a trip or taking part in lighting candles or decorating a tree? If these traditions are absent from your current life I encourage you to include them again. Find a way to have a special meal with a friend or family member even if your loved one is no longer with you.
When care is given to the passions of the heart, strength in spirit is discovered. What are your passions which make you resilient? If time is greater than your ability to recall what ignites your passion, talk about it with someone. There may be a certain grief from death of a loved one to a failed relationship which has robbed you of joy. Work through it with a person you trust whether personal or professional and watch how new positive memories replace old painful ones. No matter the situation you have a choice, stay where you are or make decisions toward change.
We as a Chaplain Corps welcome each of you with listening ears to help bring wholeness and strengthen to your heart and spirit through this holiday season. Then as General Marshal so poignantly stated, the strength of our nation will go on in our hearts and spirits to face each day as a new fresh beginning with presents of hope and joy along the way.