People must find balance in their lives

  • Published
  • By Chaplain (Lt. Col.) Mike Gilbert
  • Wing Chaplain
When I first moved to Oklahoma, I was told there are only two seasons here - green and brown. I am enjoying the coming of the green season, especially as the dogwood trees come alive with their white flowers. I am enjoying opening my windows at home and the sound of my furnace not running. It is easy to see that green is good, but it is the contrast from the brown that really helps us appreciate it. 

Life is much the same. We have our seasons of ease and joy, but there are also times of hardship and sadness. The one seems to give meaning to the other. I was so impressed with the athletes at the Area VI Special Olympics. They seem to have found a way to balance the greens and browns that life offers. There were some with such obvious hardships, and yet they exhibited such joy and enthusiasm. They have found something bigger than their hardship and I was inspired by their example. 

It's hard to believe, but chaplains have tough days too! Who does a chaplain go to see? If I am in a hard situation, I want to have people around me who have learned the secret of balancing the greens and browns. My cure is to visit people on the flight line and the security posts. There is something that happens inside someone when they have dedicated themselves to getting the mission done - no matter the weather. Sometimes I think the worse the weather gets, the more cheerful our security forces members get. They have found something bigger than their hardships, and I always leave inspired by these men and women. 

We have many examples from the past and present available to us. I recently attended the funeral for Army Staff Sgt. Chris Hake at the Oklahoma Bible Academy. The funeral was a balance of mourning a loss while honoring a hope. When faced with an ultimate hardship, the only answer that can stand is something ultimately big. It was inspiring to join with these people who have found something bigger than their hardship. 

A part of spirituality is finding that "something bigger." If you have found yourself in a tough place, surround yourself with people who have learned the secret of balancing the greens and the browns - I invite you to volunteer at the next Special Olympics, talk to a security forces member (especially when it's raining), or visit with a chaplain. 

Holocaust survivor Victor Frankl once said, "If there is a meaning in life at all, then there must be a meaning in suffering. Suffering is an ineradicable part of life, even as fate and death. Without suffering and death, human life cannot be complete." 

By the way, I come from Minnesota where the two seasons are winter and road repair ... I wonder what meaning there is in that?