Building spiritual muscles
May 26, 2010
Fort Hood, Texas-Anyone in the military can attest that physical fitness is essential to good health and success in the Army.
However, fitness isn't just acquired; Soldiers must work hard to develop their bodies. The same effort is needed to develop a Soldier's spiritual fitness.
The troops of the 41st Fires Brigade go the extra distance to ensure Soldiers within the brigade receive the opportunity to work out their spiritual physique. Chaplain (Capt.) James Ward, a Stoneville, N.C. native, with 1st Battalion, 21st Field Artillery Regiment, 41st Fires Bde., hosted a spiritual fitness luncheon for the Soldiers and command at Club Hood, here, May 11.
"As the spirit goes up, we stay motivated, on-point, think more clearly; we're just a better equipped team-oriented people when our spirits are right," said Ward.
Units use spiritual fitness luncheons to bond with one another and also to strengthen its spirituality together, said Staff Sgt. John Ocasio Juanadiaz, from Puerto Rico, a chaplain's assistant for Headquarters and Headquarters Battery, 41st Fires Bde.
"This is a quality event because we get to explore the mind and spirit," he said. "The brigade gets a chance to come together to learn and understand as well as to grow spiritually with each other."
More than 240 Soldiers throughout the brigade and 1st Cavalry Division showed up to participate in the luncheon. Guest speaker, Chaplain (Lt. Col.) Barbara Sherer, from Springfield, Mo., chaplain for the 1st Cavalry Division presented the theme "Move with a Purpose".
A chaplain for close to 26 years with multiple deployments, Sherer stated she knows all too well what it means to move with a purpose.
"If you don't have a purpose or anything to focus on then you're just all over the map," she said. "You need a focus, guide, and a reason for what you do. Moving with a purpose embodies spiritual fitness. You have to be fit to do things of a Soldier. Spiritual fitness is part of the overall picture of what makes the Soldier fit. You have to be mentally fit, but I believe spirituality brings it all together."
Sherer gave the Soldiers time to reflect on the individual meaning of spiritual fitness and where they are spiritually.
"You would not want to deploy with someone who's physically incapable, so how could you be prepared to deploy with someone whose mind and spirit is unbalanced," said Spc. Santana Darby, from Andrews, S.C.
The balance between physical fitness and spiritual fitness is an important relationship in a Soldier's good health. Exercising both areas well have beneficial rewards.