Written and Shared by: Chaplain Chris Belfield
When I was a young child, I never really liked roller coaster rides. Something about disrupting my equilibrium and the natural order of things just didn't sit well. Twenty years later, the United States Air Force taught me to fly as a navigator. Going up, flying straight and level, and landing seemed alright. However, the training included a hefty dose of what I refer to as the "roller coaster" effect. You had to know what to do in the case of an emergency. This was meant to ensure that we would automatically defer to our training, rather than our emotions, during unexpected events. It must have taken and worked as I am still here.
This past week has seemed like the proverbial roller-coaster for sure. Cathy and I are on day 10 of our self-quarantine due to her traveling back from Spain. High point: no symptoms at all and looking forward to getting back to humanity in only four short days. Actually, 84.5 hours, but who is counting. Low point: national news regarding political differences, ugh. Cathy wisely suggested a new job announcement for the nation’s capital: Wanted: Experienced kindergarten teacher to supervise several hundred adults. But I digress. On Tuesday. I was interviewed by Minnesota Public Radio to get a veteran’s perspective on what it’s like to self-quarantine, and any observations about how veterans are reacting and possible recommendations. An excellent opportunity to stress community, cooperation, and reliance on God. Right after the interview, I actually had an incredibly embarrassing "Polar Express" moment. Remember when the train is pulling into the North Pole, and there is a close-up of one of the children pointing out the window and screaming, "ELVES!" I looked out the front window and saw the first ship of the season. I screamed out, "SHIP!" Cathy thought I said something else, but quickly discerned what I had said. The James L. Oberstar was traveling from Duluth to Chicago. A little thing like seeing a ship on Lake Superior took me up to an unbelievable high on the roller coaster.
If we look, and it's not too hard at all, there are many examples of people helping one another and exhibiting the best that humanity has to offer. Am I an eternal optimist that ignores the reality of an incredibly bad situation? No, I am not. A very wise pastor, and friend, once told the congregation, "Our lives are a roller coaster. When at the very top and all is looking well, prepare for the descent that will come. When at the very bottom, and all looks bad, know that the coaster goes back up."
The title reference for this week, Happy Days, does not refer to the 1970s comedy, but to the song, “Happy Days are Here Again.” Published in 1929, at the beginning of the Great Depression, the song became Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s campaign theme song in 1932. There will be happy days again. God promises it. We seem to be at the bottom of the roller coaster right now. How are we preparing for the ride back to the top? A recent Facebook posting stated, "Also highly contagious is kindness, patience, love, enthusiasm, and a positive attitude. Don't wait to catch it from others; be the carrier.”
Our encouragement verses for this week:
Psalm 121:8 (NIV)
“The Lord will watch over your coming and going both now and forevermore.”
May you be blessed by God’s word.