Rise and shine

28 And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those (A)who are the called according to His purpose.  –Romans 8:28  (NKJV)

army authority drill instructor group
Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

No Company Commander, nor Drill Sergeant ever whispered a gentle wake-up to new recruits in basic training or boot camp during my time in the service.   The whole point of basic training for recruits is to completely change mindsets and hearts to hear and obey, instantly, the calling.   It isn’t the Lord’s voice that one responds to the best of their ability,  but to His representative on Earth during that time: the Drill Sergeant or Company Commander.    The “encouragement” that a recruit, fresh off the farm, the beach, or the street  receives during the first several weeks of military service, instills instinctive responses, physical prowess, self-discipline, and a basic knowledge of the traditions, responsibilities and expectations of each member of a team.  At a certain point,  each military member makes the decision to embrace that way of  life,  engage fully, remain devoted, and give one’s best efforts to the team.   Or they part company, either expeditiously before the end of recruit training, or after three, four or more years.

 11 Light shines[a] on the righteous
    and joy on the upright in heart.
12 Rejoice in the Lord, you who are righteous,
    and praise his holy name.   –Psalm 97: 11 -12

For those who have been through the maturation process of military training,  and thrived,  the recognition of authority, wielding it,  and being instilled with a single-focused purpose of a spiritual life, is more natural.   I think that is why a lot of the imagery in the Bible, Old Testament and New, involves soldiers.  As a disciple of Jesus,  in my own life experience I understand rigorous training, discipline, and obedience to authority.  We have the tools, the teamwork, and the mission to execute.  But I am grateful that my christian missteps do not result in “marching parties”,  “demerits”,  or being found in the receiving end of some  “fan-room counseling”.

Thank God that Jesus speaks Truth in Love.  If we all respond to that,  the hurled trash can “attention-getter” in the barracks hall might not be a wake-up tool anymore.

Pos-Mo

Every day, people serve their neighbors and our nation in many different ways, from helping a child learn and easing the loneliness of those without a family to defending our freedom overseas. It is in this spirit of dedication to others and to our country that I believe service should be broadly and deeply encouraged. John McCain

Forty years ago, when I spent my nine weeks of training in Navy bootcamp,  we were subjected to a process that converted young undisciplined civilians into a military unit.  It was not without some individuals who resisted authority, discipline, and the team-building, but were not unsalvageable.   Bootcamp had a “special” company, the purpose of which was to “help” adjust attitudes and the focus of Recruits who had such difficulties, by a regimen of additional exercise, training, and group motivation separate from their more readily-molded peers.  For those who became humble to the goals of the Recruit Training process,   “Pos-Mo“,  Positive Motivation, was a tool that did not negatively impact their future Navy employment. Many became effective Sailors.

 

If you are going to achieve excellence in big things, you develop the habit in little matters. Excellence is not an exception, it is a prevailing attitude. Colin Powell

The United States of America is, if you listen to its critics, pundits, and shrill voices in social media, coming apart at the seams.  But the cloud of negative thinking that thunders out of car radios, social media, and pervades like-minded associations of people, is not universal.   Rather, it is a shadow in an otherwise sunny landscape.   But something negative we are exposed to daily takes a conscious life-change in perspective, a fresh, positive, mental discipline, and as I have learned, a devotion to something greater than the physical world.

This morning, Saturday, a group of friends, members of my church fellowship participated in an class that over the next several weeks will examine the Book of Acts.  Our teacher is a well-known educator and theologian, whose work in apologetics has helped a wide audience.   In a series of lessons we will refresh our appreciation of how faith in the resurrected Jesus, helped a small group of uneducated Aramaic-speaking Israelites, enabled by the Spirit of God, change the course of the world two thousand years ago.  Modeled on the teachings of Jesus, this continues today.   This positive reinforcement bears great dividends to those of us who are working to live out the teachings of Jesus, and for those who are desperately seeking relief from the constant negativity in society.

 

There are plenty of difficult obstacles in your path. Don’t allow yourself to become one of them. Ralph Marston

 

No, I did not sail with Noah

“Memories which someday will become all beautiful when the last annoyance that encumbers them shall have faded out of our minds.”
Mark Twain, The Innocents Abroad

I am reading my letters written in boot camp forty years ago. As an eighteen year old enlisted sailor,  I entered the training gate by military bus at four in the morning of 3 October, 1977.  This was my first real separation from family.  I wanted to share my adventures.  It is not gripping prose. 

27 October, 1977

Dear Mom,

Payday!  I went to cash my paycheck. After deductions for the ditty bag ( personal items, toiletries and shave kit, $65) and taxes, I have $173 for two weeks.  I am sending you $163 in a money order.  Use it for bills or put it in the bank for me.

We got big news today which made our Company Commander very happy: we earned a 4.0 mark on our barracks inspection which means the inspectors found nothing to report.  And we began a competition between companies which will mean a lot in the coming weeks.  After the barracks inspection, we had a personal inspection – uniforms, gear, shave and such.  In our third week, we took a test that I had been worried about.  It was very easy and I nearly aced it.

At our classification interview – to select which career I would follow, I went for the CRYPTOLOGIC TECHNICIAN, MAINTENANCE ……..  It seems I have been preliminary accepted into this field – part of the Advanced Electronics Field I signed up for.  But it means a COMPLETE security check as I would be dealing with ….. equipment.  I will be sending home a document to for you to completely fill out and return to me as soon as possible. I hope I can get into this “hush, hush” rating.  I sure hope that the investigators will not dig up anything to disqualify me.  …. the Navy will spend five months investigating me.  They will uncover everything and find and talk to everyone I was in contact with.   And five months of schooling.   According to the classification brief, school will pack two weeks of high school electronics training into a single 8-hour day!  If I should fail school I will be screwing up a six-year commitment and become a barnacle-scrubber!

Please thank Nana and Robin for their letters. They help a lot.  I will write again, probably on 4- 4 day next week when we cross the bridge into advanced training.  Movies, recreation room, and a Baskin-Robbins and hamburger joint available to us on our liberty time.  The hitch is that the Company Commander decides whether we earn a pass to visit these things.  Tell Senorita I miss her and not to bug Buttercup too much.

P.S.  Please send postage stamps as it is hard to obtain them here in RTC and I like to keep up a running commentary.    After all the physical training, you will see a definite change when you come here for my graduation.

I miss you a lot. Tons of love,