[author’s note: from our time of preparation and deployment to Iraq.]
May 23 , 2010 Pentecost
This last week I got a haircut. Those who saw me before I left probably think that I didn’t need a haircut but believe me in the Army short hair is happiness. My hair was almost up to three quarters of an inch long—a hippy or other ne’er-do-well by Army standards. JJ, my principal agent of hair style, doesn’t do house calls to Ft. Hood. So I went to the local yokel barber on the Fort. I distinctly remember saying “short on the sides and a bit shorter on the top.” What he must have heard me say is “Chop it all off,” which he proceeded to do. Somewhere during the alleged haircut I felt my head getting colder and colder. Soon there was nothing but dandruff flakes left on my head. At that point I look around to see if there was a barber’s license on the wall. I only found a notice that the barber in question had come in last in his class in lawn care. The barber did mention that he hoped to be a surgeon someday; I told him he was halfway there with the kind of cutting he does on hair.
Apart from such lamentable incidents things have slowed down considerably. We have passed our major training exercise and now we spend the next few weeks making up various requirements the new Soldiers have missed and various other odds and ends. The bottom line here is that everyone is ready to go. We’ve trained in Des Moines, we’ve trained in Ft. Lee VA, we’ve trained at Ft. Hunter-Liggett CA and finally at North Fort Hood TX. All the trainers say we are among the best they’ve seen at doing what we do—logistics. Everyone is anxious to do the job we are mobilized to do in Iraq. So we are antsy, chomping at the bit and ready to go. Many are becoming impatient because only the Army can sandwich two weeks of training into five weeks.
What about the feeling of the Apostles, the women and others with them in the room at Pentecost? You could say their training was the three years they spent with Our Lord, but they were far from ready to go. They were afraid and not certain about what would happen next. They had no plan, no expectations and little motivation. It was then, Pentecost that the promised Spirit fell upon them. “Fell upon” is the appropriate phrase for the Holy Spirit was sent from the ascended Christ to be the Advocate and Guide. He fell upon the people in that room like a ton of bricks (I don’t think this description of the Holy Spirit will catch on like fire, wind and dove have). With the Holy Spirit they had a plan—to preach to the nations; they had expectations—the divine aid of the Holy Spirit; and they had the motivation—the love of God. This same Spirit is still with the Church, with us. With the power of the Spirit we can do all things in Christ and for the Father, no matter the length of our hair.