By Chaplain (Col.) Jonathan Wade
/ Published March 24, 2020
(U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Travis Beihl)
I’m not sure what your reaction has been to the current times, but mine has been a gentle astonishment at the empty grocery shelves, the closed beaches and restaurants and the fears and anxieties of my friends and neighbors.
I have to confess I too experienced fear and anxiety – especially for the wellbeing of those I love and for the life I lead and enjoy so much. But something I experienced this past week stopped me in my tracks and changed my outlook.
One of our Team Eglin family members, whose beloved spouse is deployed, shared about an act of kindness shown to her: a little light in a time of shadows.
Facing all the ‘what-ifs’ of illnesses, quarantines, closed schools and more, this deployed spouse wondered what she would do if she ran out of essentials and how she would be able to get more. A neighbor, not even an acquaintance, just someone living near-by, checked up on her.
In the course of the conversation, this neighbor brought her to her home and showed her what supplies she had and then offered anything she had to the military spouse, if she ever needed help.
Light. Not an explosion of light, but a simple flame of strength and courage on the part of a neighbor that dispelled some very deep darkness shrouding another human being. It made me think about whether I am being a source of light, or just adding to the darkness as I walk through my own valley of shadowy fears and concerns.
It’s pretty easy to add to the negativity – to keep the darkness dark. In times like these, decisions made by friends, neighbors and leaders here and across the country may get our minds racing into the darkness of doubt, conjecture, complaint and the all too present ‘what-ifs.’
However, as a military family, we have never in our history allowed darkness to win the day. From the World Wars to this present day, we engaged strength and courage, hope and faith to burn away the darkness with the brilliance of our unshakeable care and concern for our brothers and sisters in arms and their precious families.
As for me, I’ve decided to be a source of light, maybe a flickering match-light, but a light nonetheless. I encourage you to be a light to anyone and everyone too.
A few lights here and there soon become a blazing fire, chasing darkness to the far corners and lifting the hearts and souls of our fellow military members, families, friends, neighbors and even the strangers that cross our paths.
When history looks back upon how we took on this darkness, let them see the brilliance of our light and speak thankful words that we never failed each other or the nation we so love.