Tag Archives: Kuwait

Wednesday Words of Wisdom: Dead Camels

5 Sep

“When you find yourself in need of spiritual nourishment, it is in the opportunities to serve others that you will find the abundance you seek.”
― Steve Maraboli, Life, the Truth, and Being
*********************
On May 25th of this year, I met the most delightful man. “I picked him up at the airport.” Little joke.. that’s what he told his wife. I was on my way to Chicago and had a couple hours before my flight. There were dozens of military personnel scattered about, and I tried to shake hands and thank as many of them as I could for their service. That’s when I met Chaplain Jim, waiting for a flight home to see his family for a few days before deployment. I bought him a “nutritious” McDonalds breakfast and we talked for over an hour.

20130904-201055.jpg
Chaplain Jim and I have been corresponding. He is in Kuwait, serving his country and The Lord. I thought I’d share his words of wisdom with all of you.
**********************

20130904-202809.jpg
UNCLASSIFIED//NONE

Dead Camels
I didn’t spend a lot of time in Kuwait my first two deployments, but enough to have some significant memories seared into my brain. My first time here was in December, 2004, and I distinctly remember the ride from Camp New York where we were staying in to Arifjan where I am now, to consult with the sr. Chaplain here. That first ride in, it seemed like we were driving on the moon, with the ONLY sign of life or human habitation being the road, heading off to the horizon with NOTHING in sight. Then we finally saw the first tree-lonely, all by itself in the distance off to the right. It seemed like forever before we saw that first tree, but it was probably more like 20 minutes driving through nothingness until we hit that first sign of life.

This time around, in the summer of 2013, I do that same ride pretty frequently. The desert is still the same, yet it’s not. Where it had looked like a moonscape, now there are fences, there are Beduin camps that we see, never up close, and never close to each other, but there are quite a few scattered around. There’s trash-mostly plastic bags caught in the fences, occasionally a pile of tires to mark an otherwise indistinguishable route to a camp, sometimes a toilet in the sand, but most remarkable are the dead camels and sheep. I have no idea how these camels and sheep survive out there-well, obviously not all do, but we usually see a lot more LIVE camels than dead ones, but the dead ones are usually right by the road-road kill perhaps?

The difference is dramatic across the almost ten years’ difference between my first and current stays here-and as strange as it may sound, the dead camels are a remarkable sign of life and normalcy. Ten years ago, the desert was the biggest barrier between the instability of Hussein in Iraq, and the fallout that followed. NO ONE wanted to live out there anywhere NEAR Hussein! Now, that there are dead camels, trash, toilets and tires and Beduins in the desert, indicates a new comfort level, a “new normal” as we like to say. The dead critters wouldn’t be there, had they not already been ALIVE and grazing through the sand in a new sense of stability.

Sometimes signs of growth and life can be disguised-like in a dead camel. But IF we are working on growing ourselves and growing our families in our spiritual lives, we will be able to find the fruit of that growth if we look for it. If we don’t find fruit of our spiritual growth-maybe that means we’re not being intentional about nurturing that growth!

Keep on growing!
Rev. Jim-“on assignment” for Family Matters in Kuwait

Chaplain (Major) James R. Lewis
371st Sustainment Brigade
Brigade Chaplain
***************************************
Thank you, Chaplain Jim.