2018-09-07 / Chaplain's News

Nourish the light in you

Chaplain (Capt.) Azande Sasa
202nd Military Intelligence Battalion

Have you ever seen the world with fresh eyes? One day while reading, I came across the word, “nourish.” I saw it and paused. My eye was stuck on the first part of the word, “nour” or meaning

... light in Arabic. “Nour-ish?” “Light-ish?” I wondered. Then it clicked. No, silly. “Nourish” as in “to feed.”

But I found the former far more interesting than the latter and couldn’t stop wondering whether there was a connection between “nour” or “nur” as in light and nourish.

From the king and founder of Norway, Nór, to names such as, Eleanor, the word “nur” or “noor” is prevalent worldwide. A dictionary definition of the term, “nourish” includes: to feed, to comfort, to maintain, to encourage, to foster, to cause to grow… and light certainly accomplishes all of the above.

Festivals of light, while distinct in substance, are held throughout diverse religions of the world such as Hanukkah (Judaism), Diwali (Hinduism), and the Christian practice of hanging lights during Christmastime.

Light appears in everyday worship as candles on the altar; or even in the seemingly mundane act of placing candles on a birthday cake. Light is a universal symbol that speaks to the vanquishing of darkness and the life-giving properties of our sun.

Jesus reminds us in Matthew 6:22, “The light of the body is the eye: if therefore thine eye be single, thy whole body shall be full of light.” (King James Version)

What lights up your life?

This week, I had the pleasure of traveling to Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, with 12 other Soldiers to conduct a Strong Bonds training exercise on the Five Love Languages Singles edition.

In his work, the author, Gary Chapman, underscores the need to know what fills your love tank; what nourishes your soul? And while we could have just as easily conducted the training in the field or from the back of a Humvee, being in the idyllic setting by the beach reminded Soldiers how valued and valuable they truly are; and that what they render to the mission is irreplaceable.

The tide at Myrtle Beach left no doubt that everything in nature has an ebb and a flow – a give and a take, a time to charge hard, and a time to recharge. If we do not stop and take the time to replenish and nourish ourselves and those whom we love, the alternative is running a car on an empty tank of gas. And how far will that get us?

Those who do not take the time to nurture and replenish themselves run the risk of burnout, poor decision-making, ethical lapses, harm to self and others, and worse. Sure, a Strong Bonds training may not improve our run time, tighten up our shot group, get us those much sought-after “gains,” increase our board score – or will it? Not taking care of ourselves seems a viable option until it is not.

General George C. Marshall put it best: “ The Soldier’s heart, the Soldier’s spirit, the Soldier’s soul are everything. Unless the Soldier’s soul sustains him, he cannot be relied on and will fail himself, his commander and his country in the end.”

Veterans, Servicemembers, families and civilians alike, may you treasure each opportunity that you have to do what nourishes or sustains you.

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