May 5, 2017

Chaplain’s thoughts …

Courtesy of Chaplain (Lt. Col.) Larry Fowler
56th Fighter Wing Chapel

A great quote and some random thoughts

“Everybody can be great. Because anybody can serve. You don’t have to have a college degree to serve. You don’t have to make your subject and your verb agree to serve. You don’t have to know the second theory of thermodynamics in physics to serve. You only need a heart full of grace. A soul generated by love.”

— Martin Luther King, Jr.

Each of us have times in our lives when we experience something that is really quite mundane yet somehow, in the moment, it takes on a depth meaning that wakes us from a stupor to experience something profound. It could be a memory, or a thought, that somehow reaches the core and touches the spirit in a profound way. Some examples:

Recently I heard a man speak about famous last words. He waxed eloquently about heroes and friends whose last words were profound or ironic. As he spoke, my mind quickly wandered off to thoughts and memories of my mother, her life of service to her family and church, and our last encounter together. I was stationed at RAF Lakenheath, England, and just prior to a deployment I was sent TDY stateside. Thankfully, the trip allowed me the opportunity to visit my mom whose health and mental condition were fading. When I came to her room I was pleased she recognized me. She began to cry uncontrollably, which was uncharacteristic for my mom. Though her ability to speak was compromised, her tears spoke volumes. In that moment, I painfully yet joyfully experienced her love in a new way. Her tears conveyed the truth that I was known and loved, which was enough.

Just a day or two ago, the chapel had an event, with food. Note: the chapel loves events with food; indeed our unofficial motto is “If we ain’t eatin,’ we ain’t meetin. As I went through the serving line, I saw Father Ron Metha, our priest. He was behind the table serving up potatoes. I had a whirl of thoughts that centered on this idea: here was a man whose hands bless and break the bread, they administer the mysteries of the Eucharist to the faithful each week. There he was dishing up potatoes. Though a revered and respected leader of our Catholic Parish, he was not above serving in a way that many would consider beneath him. His action conveyed the fundamental truth that all service is meaningful, even sacred.

Dr. King was right; our greatness is found in service. I invite you to serve and as you do, seek to have “a heart full of grace and a soul generated by love.”

Thank you for your service and sacrifice.

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