Happy Monday Everyone!
Not only happy Monday, but happy Memorial Day. Thank you to all who have served in the armed forces and who are currently servicing. It is a job and a life that can never be repaid and deserves as much honor as possible. I come from a family that has been individuals who have served, though none are currently serving.
My grandfather (Poppa) served in WWII, as a Morse code radio operator. Even to this day, all these years later, he still remembers the code (he’s ninety-three, by the way). I remember when he and my grandma came to visit my mother and me one time and we went to a museum. They had the telegraph there because the Navajo were from that region (They typed it all in Navajo rather than in English in case someone intercepted the call. No one was ever able to “break” the code.) He sat me down, I think I was eight at the time, and taught me how to type my name out.
My father served in the Army during the Vietnam War. He wasn’t drafted; he was enlisted. He was a helicopter mechanic, so he never saw the front lines. What I remember about my dad, was that he always went to great the soldiers at the local base whenever they got home from a tour. Later my mom told me this was because no one was there to greet him; they were there to boo him and yell at him for going in the first place.
My dad’s brother was in the Coast Guard and the Air Force. He hasn’t until recently started to tell me about his adventures in either, but I’m definitely there to listen whenever we get together. The last time we talked, it was mostly about boot camp and the shenanigans he got into.
My cousin on my father’s side is the most recent addition to armed forces in my family. He’s in the Army National Guard and did two tours in Afghanistan. He came off of active duty in 2010.
My cousin on my mother’s side is a Marine. I remember him going to boot camp and training for years before going on active duty. He never went on a tour overseas, and he is no longer on active duty. Now he works as a paramedic and firefighter in Connecticut.
Throughout all of this, when I was first deciding what I wanted to do with my life, it had something to do with helping people. I looked into law enforcement (I worked alongside the Pierce County Sheriff’s Department for four years when I worked security for my school), I looked into the military, specifically the Army and the Air Force, but it never seemed right. I’ve always had this call to ministry from God, and I really don’t know if you’ve ever tried to say no to God, but it never seems to go over very well. I just get laughed at in the face.
One thing I knew was that I didn’t want to be a parish minister. I have been to too many churches who have not been healthy and had too many pastors who have hurt me in the process of seeking out my calling. When I was in college and working with PCSD, I discovered the world of chaplaincy outside of the hospital. One of my fellow co-worker’s father was a Deputy until he became the chaplain for the force. This was what I wanted to do.
I came to school to start learning, but the more I looked into law enforcement chaplaincy, the more I felt drawn to military chaplaincy. I looked into the Army and was mostly set, but it never quite felt right. I looked into the Air Force, and I had found my place. The Air Force offers a program called the Chaplain Candidacy Program, where for two summers we train to take on the job that we want to do.
Now…it’s summer and I’m still here. Well, things didn’t work out quite as planned. I will have to wait until after graduation and ordination to pursue a career in military chaplaincy due to mitigating circumstances, but it still is and will probably always be on my radar.
To our armed forces and the service men and women who strive for honor each day. Happy Memorial Day!