Posted on April 16, 2020
Military members have a unique view on the world. For example, military members face the following challenges:
Welcome to life in the military! However, it would seem that you now have a little insight into military life due to the current pandemic. Since we have dealt with this for some time, we also have some helpful approaches for those living through the COVID-19 pandemic.
I was disembarking from a ship on my way to Kuwait in preparation for the invasion of Iraq. We were on a flat barge filled with vehicles. As we pulled away from the ship, a junior Marine was watching the ship grow further away. An older, crustier Marine grabbed him and said, “Don’t look back…look forward. Our way home is in front of us!” He knew that we had a job to do, and the only way home was forward.
We are all longing for what we have lost. We can’t go to church like we normally would. We can’t go to movies or sporting events. But, if we can’t do the things we would normally like, think instead about what you can do! Make phone calls to those who may be lonely. Read that next great novel or self-improvement book that you have been putting off. Watch your church service online. Keep looking forward, embracing the situation and learn how you can grow through it.
In the military, you never go anywhere alone. In the field, on liberty (vacation) we always have someone with us. Find your “battle buddies” and keep in contact with them. They watch out for you, and you watch out for them. You can do this by phone calls, video chats, letters (yes, the old fashion letter with pen, paper, envelope and stamp).
We all know that we need to take cover from danger. Follow the recommendations of the CDC. Distance yourself staying at least six feet away from others. Stay home. Eliminate all unessential travel and errands. Order groceries and other household goods online. Don’t touch your eyes, nose, or mouth. Cover your cough and sneezes. Wash your hands. Wash your hands. And of course, wash your hands.
Wave off usually means cancel the approach; used by pilots if the landing is fouled up. Cancel the approach. Don’t go anywhere if you don’t have to. Stay home. Wave off all unnecessary trips and errands. And, wave off too much news. Find one or two reputable news sources and check sparingly.
Usually, you hear a gritty toughened soldier when you hear these words. However, I think back to my childhood and Scholastic Rock. They had a song entitled “Mother Necessity”. We are in our homes with time on our hands. What can we do to better the situation for ourselves and others? If you are handy with a needle and thread, make some fabric masks for your neighbors or local healthcare and senior care facilities. If you have family, friends or neighbors who are at higher risk for infection, offer to order, pick up and deliver their groceries.
For years, the military approach focused on being tough and never asking for help. But in recent years, we have found that if we ask for help, we can get it from our friends, our commanders and other helpers. Don’t try to be the “lone ranger”. God has placed numerous people in our lives to help us.
Remember Paul’s admonition in the last chapter of Galatians: Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ. (Galatians 6:2) When you allow others to care for you, you allow them to grow in their relationship to Christ.
In the midst of all things military, which includes uncertainty, battle, injuries, and death, is the presence of the Holy Spirit. Chaplains bring the Word of God, rich in forgiveness and love to all. Any military approach cannot function without the knowledge that we are not alone. We are in the care of Almighty God, who has given us His Son!
What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? He who did not spare his own Son but gave him up for us all, how will he not also with him graciously give us all things? (Romans 8:31-32)
Remember, Lutheran Family Service stands ready to help! We are just an email or phone call away!
Rev. Michael Moreno, PLMHP
Mental Health and Marriage Counselor for Lutheran Family Service
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