Spiritual dimension transformation spreads throughout well being

  • Published
  • By Chaplain (Lt. Col.) Michael Gilbert
  • 71st Flying Training Wing Chaplain
As I put these thoughts together, a strong wind is blowing through the leaves outside my office window and floodwater is rushing through downtown Kingfisher, Okla. Our world is being transformed by giant forces beyond our control while our efforts to hold back the changes seem so small. The hopelessness we feel in the face of overwhelming events is both powerful and common.

Fortunately there is a hope-filled side to changes. We can choose to put ourselves into the hands of forces that will bring about transformations in our mind, body and spirit. When I unplug and memorize or learn something new; my brain feels alive. When I put myself under the direction of a physical trainer; my body can do more than I thought possible. When I practice my faith through a new discipline; my spiritual side views life through new windows.

As a chaplain, I have the unique charge to care for the spiritual dimension of each person in our community. I believe a transformation in the spiritual dimension will spread to every area of a person's being; in the same way eating a bit (a lot) of chocolate just makes me feel so much better.

I think it would help if there was a way to evaluate our spiritual side. The Air Force hasn't come up with a spiritual fitness test (probably because of what that uniform would look like) but I can offer a suggestion:

How large is your sense of purpose?
How long can you listen to stillness?
How many repetitions of service for others can you do?

Let me know if you come up with your own version.

You can leave yourself to the forces around you and be shaped by default or choose to put yourself into the hands which will transform by design. If you are stuck for some new ideas to exercise your spirituality, stop by your chapel.

A member of the chapel staff passed on this George Bernard Shaw quote that sums up my thoughts:
         "People are always blaming their circumstances for what they are. I don't believe in 
         circumstances. The people who get on in this world are the people who get up and 
         look for the circumstances they want, and, if they can't find them, make them."