By Chaplain (1st Lt.) Craig McDonald
Change is such an interesting part of life — it is often when we grow in great ways, and yet it can be the source of pain and discomfort.
The summer is a great change for many of us in the Army community. There is the summer surge in our basic training environment and what I like to call ‘the great exodus,’ many permanent party members going onto the next part of their journey. It can be a difficult time as we say goodbye to friends and coworkers, having invested a piece of ourselves in our unit’s Soldiers. It is also an exciting time as we move onto what is next, ready for new challenges, adventures and personal growth.
Even for those of us who find ourselves planted for the next few months or years, our environment is changing around us. COVID-19 has created new challenges, expectations and tasks as we continue to adapt to our new environment. This has created new obstacles for us as service members in how we take care of ourselves. Many of us are unable to travel to see family or friends that are important pillars of our mental and emotional health. Organizations where groups of people gather — like faith communities, volunteer groups, even trivia nights — are often not options for us right now, yet we see resilience and adaptability as more of us are engaging our family and friends through online platforms.
We have been able to apply technology in our workplaces and foster creative practices in training and work environments. Our environment is clearly changing, but there are some things that will forever remain; our need for human interaction and the need to complete the mission.
While we recognize our need for support and interaction, we also see the need in our community. New families and Soldiers are moving in and looking for ways to plug themselves or their families into this installation. It is an opportunity to reach out and invest in one of the greatest assets of our Army: community.
(Editor’s note: McDonald is the 3rd Battalion, 10th Infantry Regiment chaplain.)