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Embrace opportunities, turn them into moments of greatness

  • Published
  • By Chap. (Capt.) David B. Knight, Jr.
  • 451st Air Expeditionary Wing chaplain
I am beginning my third deployment in eight years as I enter this six-month tour at Kanddahar Airfield, Afghanistan. Like many of you, I have often heard the mantra during my previous deployments, "don't count the days, make the days count." However, how are we able to do this when we get caught up in the routine of daily deployment life? What is the means to making the days count? I believe making the days count begins with seeing every day as a new opportunity to make a difference.

The former U.S. Olympics hockey team coach, Herb Brooks said, "Great moments are born from great opportunities." His team of young players did the unthinkable when they defeated a superior Soviet hockey team in the 1980 Winter Olympics. Their upset victory is widely considered the greatest sporting feat in American sports history. It was a moment of greatness achieved because his players seized the opportunity, in the days and months prior to that event, to give a total team effort.

Each of us is facing an opportunity to do something great during our deployment here at KAF. The struggle we face is to see beyond the mundane of the everyday routine and see this experience as an opportunity for greatness. It is tempting to allow ourselves to become numb to the reality that we can make a difference here. We can go through the motions of everyday life and fail to see that our lives are intended to have purpose.

The key elements in achieving greatness are the choices we make each day. We have to choose to see the opportunities before us in order to make a positive contribution. The opportunity may be the mission we plan or fly which saves the lives of our comrades in arms. The opportunity may be the encouragement we provide to a fellow troop who is struggling in their own work situation. It may be the supervision we provide which helps to bring out the best in someone else. There are numerous opportunities here to build lasting friendships as we face a common struggle together for the cause of freedom.
My faith tells me God has given us the capability to make wise choices. The writer of Proverbs gives us this insight in Proverbs 2:10-11, "For wisdom will enter your heart and knowledge will fill you with joy. Wise choices will watch over you. Understanding will keep you safe." I hope the truth of this passage will be experienced by all of us here at KAF as we face our daily opportunities.

Perhaps you are wondering, "What is the opportunity for me to have a great moment this day? I pray that you will embrace that opportunity, and that it would turn into a moment of greatness that defines the rest of your life.