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Chappy’s corner “What to do with a stinky attitude?”

A C-130 was scheduled to leave Thule Air Base, Greenland .During pre-flight check, the pilot; an Air Force Major discovers that the latrine holding tank is still full from the last flight. So a message is sent to the base and an airman who was off duty is called out to take care of it. The young man gets to the air base and makes his way to the aircraft only to find that the latrine pump-truck is frozen solid, so he must find another one in the hangar, which takes even more time. He returns to the aircraft and is less than enthusiastic about what he has to do. Nevertheless, he goes about the pumping job deliberately and carefully (and slowly) so as not to risk criticism later.  As he's leaving the plane, the pilot stops him and says, 'Son, your performance has caused this flight to be late and I'm going to personally see to it that you are not just reprimanded but punished.' Shivering in the cold, his task finished, he takes a deep breath, and says, 'Sir, with all due respect, I'm not your son; I'm an Airman in the United States Air Force. I've been in Greenland, for a year without any leave. I have one stripe; it's 2:30 in the morning, it is 40 degrees below zero, and my job here is to pump “#%*@” out of an aircraft. Now, just exactly what form of punishment did you have in mind?'

A very good friend, Dan, shared that story with me and I share it with you today because no matter what you do in life, there will be times when life stinks. Bad things happen and as I tell some folks every job requires shoveling some manure now and then.  Even Jesus dealt with some rotten times in his life on earth. He was persecuted, ridiculed, whipped and eventually crucified. But he didn’t let any of that stop him from doing what He came to do. He faced it because He knew that was the only way He could save us.  God’s plan was for Jesus to suffer the full punishment we deserved so our debt of sin could be forgiven and we can have eternal life.  That’s the message of Good Friday and Easter.  Jesus dies to save us and rises to give us eternal life! The Christian faith calls that good news and we need good news in this world filled with heartache and hardships. 

In the earlier story both men were having a bad time. One took the attitude of trying to do the best he could, the officer’s attitude was trying to use his power to inflict more hardship onto the other. That office had a choice in dealing with the airman, and like that officer we have a choice. We can “dump” our anger frustrations and troubles on our friends, family and co workers, or we can choose to have a different attitude. An attitude that realizes that at times life stinks, but we don’t’ have to make everyone around us feel lousy too. Instead we can trust that we will get through it with the help God provides.

That help may be you right now in the lives of others. Our job in this “stinky” world is to be one of those who rise up to help and serve others as Jesus did. To help folks as they face those dark and difficult days.  To help them as others have helped us in the past. On a personal note, I can honestly say, I would not be where I am today without the help of friends, family and coworkers.  As I celebrate a milestone in my own career this next Saturday I am truly thankful for those that the Lord has brought into my life. Without those folks I would not be where I am today and so  I pray that I may be a servant throughout my life to others too!

Just my thoughts on this Good Friday afternoon from this sunny SE corner of South Dakota!

CH (COL) David Gunderson

JFHQ Chaplain of the SDARNG