“Take Courage” – An Advent Reflection

mary_jesusMatthew 14:27
But Jesus spoke to them at once. “Don’t be afraid,” he said. “Take courage. I am here!”
A wise spiritual director once told me, “Tension and discomfort are usually signs that change in your life is imminent.” I think she was right. The end of the year always seems to bring “change” into the forefront of our lives. As a new year emerges, companies re-align their strategies, countries install new leaders, and organizations re-think how they will operate, how they will allocate resources, and how they will function in the new year. All of those decisions impact the lives of people outside the strategic plans of large organizations.
Throughout my business career, I saw year-end changes in companies that affected so many people. In my own life, change came when it was least expected. I am sure some of you are feeling the discomfort of imminent change, whether it is the impending nationwide changes that will occur with this new White House administration, or maybe you are contemplating a new employment situation or possibly there is a change coming in your life of which, you are not even aware.
I encourage you as we enter this time of expectant waiting, to listen to the words of Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, “Don’t be afraid, take courage, I am here.” God never abandons us. God is with us. God is waiting with open arms to receive the anxiety and uncertainties of our lives. Take courage.

“Wisdom” 12/1/16

fork-in-the-roadSometimes, we have to live quietly, patiently, and faithfully in the ambiguity of life and trust that God’s in charge. Other times, we must take a stand, face what is ahead, and walk toward the unknown with courage, boldness, and decisiveness and yes, even then, trust that God is in charge. Lord, give us the wisdom to know that YOU are the Creator, Redeemer, and Sustainer, and we are the created, redeemed, and sustained.

 

Eric Cooter

“Integrity” A Civil Air Patrol Core Value

by Ch. Maj. Eric Cooter, CAP Group 5 flyingChaplain/Unit Chaplain

Merriam Webster Dictionary defines “Integrity” both as “the quality of being honest and fair,” as well as “the state of being complete or whole.”  When most of us think of integrity, the characteristics of honesty and fairness usually come to mind.  However, a life of honesty and fairness requires us to be emotionally, physically, as well as spiritually whole.  Wholeness means that we are living in a state of “not lacking or leaving out any part.”

Life’s circumstance can often leave us lacking.  When we are physically ill or we experience an injury, our entire state of wholeness shifts.  Our mental state becomes challenged, we may become despondent, and our spirit focuses on the negative. When our emotional state is challenged because of stress, we often feel that emotion in our guts or for some of us, our immune system becomes compromised and we catch a cold or some other minor illness.  When we overlook our spiritual practices, or we fail to care for our spiritual selves, we may experience the emotions of despondency, fear, or a lack of peace.

Alternatively, when we exercise and eat properly, when we take time for meditation, prayer, or other spiritual/religious practices, and when we spend quality time with friends and family, our health tends to improve, we focus more on the positive, and we feel more connected to others and the world around us.  An online Mayo Clinic article states, “Taking the path less traveled by exploring your spirituality can lead to a clearer life purpose, better personal relationships and enhanced stress management skills.”(1)

We are a whole person that cannot be divided.  We are more than mere mental and physical functions. We are intelligent, emotional, and spiritual beings, who require balance in order to be whole.   An aircraft engine requires fuel, air, and spark to run properly, and if any of those things are out of balance, the engine does not run at its optimum level.

Accomplishing our individual mission tasks and working together as a team, to insure we accomplish our team mission requires all of us to function at our optimum level.

Living the core values of CAP can be a challenge for all of us, but achieving our goals, accomplishing the mission, and living a life of “honesty and fairness,” living as a person of integrity requires each of us to be whole.  Like packing up your “mission bag” with MRE’s and water purification tablets, or conducting a pre-flight before starting the engine, begin the practice of taking care of yourself and your mission readiness.  Eat well, get plenty of rest, have fun and play, spend time with your family and friends, study and work to improve your skills, and take care of your spirit.  Pray, meditate, and consider committing to a frequent observance of the religious practices of your faith tradition.  Commit to be your whole self, your balanced self, and your best self.  Live with integrity!

(1)http://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/stress-management/in-depth/stress-relief/art-20044464