I’ve been moving around the Battalion AO (Area of Operations) for about a month now staying little more then 2 days in any one place. We have a multitude of positions ranging from FOBs (Forward Operating Bases) that support 500+ personal to OP (Observation Posts) that have a few handfuls of Marines and being one of one I care for them all. RP (my assistant/bodyguard) and I are the wandering gypsies of the tribe, sleeping where-ever we can stretch out and eating whatever is served – where-ever it is served. We travel light.
A back pack filled with the essentials:
- A sleeping bag
- A fresh T-shirt (great for a rolled up pillow)
- A toothbrush, and razor (fieldd hygiene is not really about smelling good as it is about looking good)
- A Bible
- A kit for communion
- A crossword puzzle book (for boredom)
- And I bring my iPad
Food and water we get where we can. And about once or twice a week we are at a place where we can shower, and get into a fresh set of clothing so it’s not all bad. And I love this life of a vagabond. I get antsy after a day or two in one place. Typically when I arrive at a new location I hold a Service or Bible-study for the men there and then proceed to “hang-out” usually wandering over to the designated smoking area (I don’t smoke cigarettes but the conversation is worth it). Then as our time wears on guys seek me out for a word of encouragement or advice and we are off again. Strapping on a vest that digs into your shoulders, cramming a helmet that was not designed for comfort we climb into a vehicle that appears designed for the moon (and seat that are made for people that are 4ft tall) and we creep across the desert to the next point in our destination, which I might add is not entirely up to me. I am the proverbial hitchhiker, asking every convoy moving – where are you going and can I come.
The answer is usually a resounding yes – something about a chaplain’s presence – probably has to do with the comic relief I provide to the men doing the real work. I have never been so content in my life. I need for nothing. MY life has become based on simplicity and I think I thrive on it. I have settled in, spiritually, to this life of doing without, and I’m content know that those things in this life that matter most to me are in far more capable hands than mine. My children are loved and protected by their Father in Heaven and my wife is encouraged and built up by the arms of her Savior. What more can I ask for – but Joy for today and bright Hope for tomorrow.
Life is good, because He is good.
In His Grips