By Chaplain (Capt.) Vance Awa
Labor Day is a day of rest, a day to relax and a break from our formally busy lives. We are starting to get a sense of what our new normal is like but one thing that is certain is that the Army goes rolling along. (If you don’t believe me, ask any drill sergeant and/or any family member of a drill sergeant.) It seems that along with the constant of change is the feeling like we need to constantly work.
The God of the Hebrew Bible recognized this need in the nation of Israel and instituted a Sabbath day. Genesis 2: 1-3 says that God finished working on the seventh day because the work was completed. This institution is little different than when Labor Day became an official holiday in the United States in 1894. We need to celebrate our labors with a time of rest.
But there is a conflict — it seems as though the work that we do never comes to an end. So, how do we celebrate our labors? We find a time to rest, to take off the hat or take off the uniform and enjoy the life that we have crafted. That does not have to be on any certain day, and it does not have to be done in any certain way. Although Labor Day picnics, weekend getaways and festivals were favorites of mine in the pre-COVID-19 world.
I encourage each of you to take a break from your labors; I encourage you to get out for a hike, lay by the pool, simply step outside, take a moment to be grateful for being alive and take a deep breath. It’s a prescribed practice by our government to celebrate the difficult and never-ending work that you do. Taking a break — even if it is for a moment in the day — is also a practice that will restore your soul.
(Awa is the 2nd Battalion, 48th Infantry Regiment chaplain.)