Having a high viewpoint helps you keep your bearings

  • Published
  • By Chaplain (Lt. Col.) Michael Gilbert
  • 71st Flying Training Wing
I like the feeling of knowing where I am.

When I first came to Vance, almost three short years ago, I could quickly get my bearings by looking up and finding our landmark water tower. Have you ever given directions to a new person on base and started by pointing to the water tower and saying "first you look for that..." There is something in us that instinctively looks for a high point when we need to get our bearings.

Being alive means having to find our way in this world. Life is so large and normally offers us many options for staying busy. I've learned that staying busy isn't the same as heading in a meaningful direction. I admit that once in a while time gets away from me and I notice that I've not stopped to take a good bearing on my life's reference point.

But life has a way of getting our attention. This usually happens in a time of crisis. In crisis, our world can suddenly get very small and offer few options. During times like this it is common to feel lost. The size of the world has not changed. The sense of smallness and being lost comes from within. The gift in any crisis is the opportunity to once again look up and get a fresh sighting of your life's reference point.

We are created to have a high viewpoint. I know this because our eyes are not on our feet! There is comfort and clarity when we keep our eyes on the highest landmark. The expanse of our vision really effects what we can accomplish. For example, I know our student pilots keep a close eye on the weather: as it closes in, their flying options get restricted. What a difference it makes for them when the skies open again and there is no ceiling.

I get to work in another landmark high point on base, the old chapel. There is no other building on base like it. It is such a great place to work; people are happy when they have a window in their office - how would you like to work in one with stained glass! I know the chapel is a high reference point for many because of the people I meet who walk in here during a crisis. There is something in them that instinctively seeks out the comfort symbolized by the unique architecture. I marvel at the difference in people when they come in consumed by an issue and leave with a bigger sense of life.

If your world has shrunk to the size of a cell phone screen, take heart, life is much larger! If you are in crisis, there is hope; you are close to receiving a gift from life. If you know someone in crisis be the person who can point up and say "First you look for that..."

Since we are a joint base let me share a favorite quote "I must go down to the sea again, to the lonely sea and the sky; and all I ask is a tall ship and a star to steer her by."

And since I am a chaplain let me point higher still and also add Psalms 121 "I lift up my eyes to the hills..."