Three weeks down

Wow! Has it been three weeks already? So far it has been the most challenging thing I have ever had the privilege of doing. I am tired. But physically, my 46 year old body is changing – for the better. I still have a long way to go before I reach my goals, but the Army program will get me there. They used to say “in the Army, we do more before 9am than most people do in a day.” I can tell you that is true!

So far I have learned basic level Army land navigation, the radio phonetic alphabet, radio communications, battlefield first aid and basic life saving techniques, protecting myself from chemical and biological weapons attack, manuevering down single rope bridges and across a long field safely under gunfire, using body armor correctly, marching and ceremony, and new PT techniques for increasing my pushup and situp outputs and decreasing my run times. Also learning the Army culture, the pluralism approach to religion in the Army, and how to be who I am in the chapel and in the field services. All in three weeks. The pace is unbelievable, but somehow, as a team, as a squad, with my battle buddy, and with God’s help, I’m making it. I’m just getting started – a raw recruit, but whoever said the Army Chaplaincy is the toughest job I’ll ever love is spot on. I get a bit emotional every day because I’m discovering a classroom full of chaplains in training like me, who have been broken in the past, gone through incredibly challenging life experiences, or are going through them now, and somehow have the sheer determination and guts to survive. God called some humbled, rough-around-the-edges men and women to this Chaplain Corps. We are discovering classmates who have overcome incredible odds. Several like myself who lost all kinds of weight. Who did whatever was necessary to get here, to answer that call to serve with soldiers. We have the best ministers I have ever seen in the Chaplains who are the instructors here. Incredible, battlefield-tested wisdom. If you ever hear anyone anywhere say that “they’re taking God out of the military” … I don’t care what ‘evidence’ they put forth….it’s a lie. From where I sit, God is alive and well and working hard, nonstop, in the miltary. Taking broken men and women, making them strong, and giving them opportunities to minister in real, tangible ways to our nation’s soldiers. This is why I get emotional often here. Because every day something happens to show me God’s hand all over this place. God’s heart breaks over war. But God doesn’t abandon it. God is right there. And the United States government allows EVERYONE the right to practice (or not practice) their faith. And provides Chaplains from all walks of life to assist to ensure those rights are protected. I’m not sure how long I will ever get to serve as a Chaplain in the Army, but I am grateful for each and every day of it. And like a Vulcan, I now bleed green!

By the way, I have been able to reopen my facebook acct with added security settings. I’ve posted some photos there. Enjoy. It’s under CH Beaver.

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