By Chaplain (Capt.) Ariel Castillo
The season of fall is, once again, quickly becoming my favorite season of the year. As a child, believe it or not, I dreaded the thought of fall.
It signified the end of summer, freedom and sun — not to mention the beginning of school, cooler days and longer nights. Perhaps it was just me, but I even found people to be a bit less cordial toward one another in the fall months. Neighbors seemed more distant, spending less time together as families, preparing to hunker down in preparation for the colder weeks to come.
In short, in an earlier part of my life, I was a fall hater.
Yet, when I think about the excitement on the faces of my kids as they prepare to trick-or-treat with friends, or when I anticipate thankfully sharing a well baked (or fried) turkey with my wife over the football games, that negative delusion of fall tends to go away.
For many, too, the fall represents some good hunting, great tailgating and awesome opportunities for quality time with loved ones over warm soup, hot chocolate or toasty campfires. With all of this in mind, I am reminded why the fall is so beautiful.
For some, fall may be a time when it is hard to find the beauty that lies within. This fall may promise to bring a crucible in life, be a time of challenge or maybe even a season of uncertainty.
If this is the case, in this season of your life, allow yourself to be made stronger by whatever may come. By the same token, however, ensure you keep the door open for joy, recovery and peace when it’s there to grab hold of. Hold your loved ones a little tighter this season, invite or accept an invitation for a nice and warm Thanksgiving meal, and always be ready to forgive yourself and your neighbor.
The bottom line is this: Fall is what you make it. Fall can be a gift to you and the Fort Leonard Wood community if you desire to receive it as such. This year, let’s choose to receive everything this season promises us — the dreadful and the beautiful — and make this fall one to remember.
(Editor’s note: Castillo is the 3rd Battalion, 10th Infantry Regiment chaplain.)