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Chaplain's Corner

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Inner Peace in the Midst of Outer Chaos

16 Feb 2023 | Lt. Aaron J. Wright Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune

In the midst of a chaotic world that seems to be in a constant crunch for time, everyone young man and woman goes through some kind of existential identity crisis revolving around deeply personal questions: who am I, what kind of person do I want to become, how am I going to become this person, and why does it all matter? It’s impossible to answer these thought provoking questions without considering two fundamental questions: Who am I as a person, and to whom do I belong to – both in this life and in the life to come?

Answering the first question, “who am I,” requires reflection on one’s childhood, past victories and failures, trauma and healing, and a moral compass for what is right and wrong. For those that have been in a family or culture that encourages self-critical thinking, these are still challenging because more questions arise: how did I end up where I am today, and am I satisfied with the person I am becoming?

Answering the second question, to whom do I belong to, requires existential and even a religious reflection on who has ownership over my actions and outcomes, both those that I can control and those that are out of my control. In seeking to answer this question, one reflects on the past but also considers how the past and present is shaping the future and the ultimate question: “when this life comes to an end, what then?”

As an Evangelical Episcopal Priest, these questions require a centering on how I have seen and continue to see my God at work in life within me and all around me. These existential crises of faith find their root and hope for me in the consolation that my God has given me stewardship over a very small slice of His eternal plans. In light of these considerations, God regularly reminds me that my life is not my own, and that I am completely dependent on His constant love and grace in my life. Indeed, for me as a man who is seeking to continue to grow as a man, a husband, and a father of five currently, I must first and foremost see myself in light of how God sees me, and then secondly, how His ownership over my life directs the course of my thoughts, words, and actions toward my fellow human.

As chaplain to so many young Marines going through the training pipeline, I am called to challenge each Marine to consider who they are and who they belong to in this life and the life to come. Knowing who you are and who you belong to allows one to know peace that passes all understanding in the midst of a time-demanding and, seemingly infinitely chaotic world.

The Chaplain’s Corner covers everything faith related. Facts not attributed are purely the opinion of the writer.