Spring has Come to Arlington

The weather has warmed considerably here, and Spring has certainly arrived. The cemetery is awash in color from Cherry Blossoms to the first flowers of the season.

This first picture I call "Law and Gospel". In my faith tradition we have this complimentary dichotomy in our theology. The "law" refers to that in God's Word which shows our shortcomings and sin. The Gospel is that which in God's Word declares God's love and forgiveness found in Jesus Christ and what He accomplished in His death and resurrection. The picture at the right expresses the the hope that I have and many of the folks have who I minister to here at Arlington. In the midst of the reality of death (the law) there blooms the hope of life as the cold dead season of winter gives way to the incredible beauty of spring.

As Chaplains, we are surrounded by the reality of death every day here at Arlington. Each person we bury and every family member we minister to is a unique person. There are so many incredible lives that we honor. I've held services for men and women who have served their country in such amazingly difficult and demanding situations and did so with honor and sacrifice, who then went on to lead amazing lives in the civilian world as well. I gain a very unique perspective on our military community here as I am allowed the privilege of one coming to know to some small degree these amazing heroes and as I am allowed to participate in the ceremony that assists the families with bringing closure and come to see in some small degree just how much their loved on meant to them. It is very humbling to serve at Arlington.

But death is the reality. Yet there are so many encouraging stories. So many things to bring a smile to one's face. I rejoice when I see loved one's whose faces light up with hope as I share the promises of God with them. For me, even the cemetery itself cries out hope, as the trees and flowers come to life. Here the dead are honored and remembered, but hope is also flourishing.

There are certain spots in the cemetery that are especially meaningful to me. The spot near the Pentagon where the memorial to the victims of Sept 11th sits and many of the dead are buried, is a place I like to view and meditate upon. It reminds me of one of the key motivators that lead me to put the uniform on again. It reminds me of why victory must be won and freedom must triumph.

And finally, I had to give you one good shot of the famous Cherry Blossoms of the DC area. These are from Fort Meyer, which sits adjacent to the cemetery. It is there that we do most of our grocery shopping, where I get my gas, and go to the gym, most of the time.

The pace has picked up with Spring coming on. Monday I had 6, but my boss took a couple of them from me, so I dropped to 4. Week after next though, I am on temporary duty down to Atlanta for training in "SafeTalk" a new suicide awareness and intervention program. I'll come back as a trainer. The other big program that I've been managing should wrap up this week. It was not bad at all because I had some really great folks working with me and they made this happen.

Have a great spring!