If you want to find something, begin to look for it

  • Published
  • By Chaplain (Lt. Col.) Mike Gilbert
  • 341st Missile Wing Chaplain
Can you find the North Star in the night sky? That may be a lost art in our age of GPS. I have read that being able to do this simple thing is one of the top basic survival skills. I will admit that I have had to relearn this ability more than once. Since moving to Montana, I have spent quite a bit of time in the evenings becoming reacquainted with the movements of the heavens. It is a comfort to be able to point, without hesitation, to the North Star. 

Compared to all the other stars, the North Star is not much of a standout - not even the brightest. But, it has a quality that makes it unique. When seen from our vantage point it doesn't appear to move. All the other stars in our Montana sky slowly rotate around this one point of light. It is this stationary quality which makes it very useful. Once you know how to locate them, you will always be able to know which way is north. 

Is there anyone who has never felt lost? We don't plan on getting lost. We become lost by surprise and usually at a very inconvenient time. When we are lost is not the time to figure out basic navigation skills. It would be frustrating in a time of crisis to look up and be forced to pick out one certain star from the multitude. The time to develop your navigation skill is before you need it. The best time is the present. 

While we experience being lost in a physical sense, human beings also lose their way in an emotional and spiritual sense. Whether it is a time of sudden crisis or just a gradual losing of ourselves to the business of life; either way we find ourselves without direction. We look around and are either overwhelmed at the multitude of choices or the feeling that there are no choices at all. 

The Air Force offers a constellation of wellness that includes the physical, emotional, social and spiritual. The belief is that if a person is healthy in each of these areas they will be better equipped not only to enjoy life, but also be prepared in time of crisis. Each of these areas are best developed over time; as anyone who has ever taken a PT test can bear witness. 

As chaplains, we take on the challenge of trying to understand Spiritual Fitness. Here is my shot at it; I believe Spirituality, at its most basic, is the journey of discovering the ultimate, unchanging direction in life. Spiritual Fitness is the practice of connecting with that discovery. I look forward to hearing your point of view. 

I have read, "if you don't want to find something - don't look." I'd like to turn that statement around and say, "if you want to find something - begin to look for it." I believe every person has a spiritual side. I also believe that everyone is on a journey to discover their personal expression of that dimension. Your chapel staff is available to join you on that journey. 

Enjoy the night sky and point out the North Star to a friend!