Chaplain's Corner

BVA Board Member Dale Stamper by Dale Stamper

A farmer, an athlete, and a soldier.

This is not the tag line for a joke beginning something like this: “A farmer, an athlete, and a soldier went into a bar.…”

It is actually three different individuals or occupations mentioned by the Apostle Paul. He used the three to illustrate Biblical life principles. I was thinking about these and thought they could be applied to our lives as visually impaired veterans.

Farmers teach us patience. They prepare the soil and then plant the crops. They water and weed as necessary and wait for the stalks to appear. The precious grain arrives later. 

Athletes teach us hard work and perseverance. They work out in order to get their bodies into excellent shape. They practice over and over the skills needed to perform. We observed the fruits of these qualities at the recent Winter Olympics in Russia.

Soldiers teach us discipline. They know the value of following orders and the benefits of cooperation. For all of us in the military, this started on the first day of basic training. We discarded our civilian clothing and put on a uniform. Then some Drill Instructor began barking out orders and confusion broke out. Eventually, we actually looked and acted as disciplined, competent members of the United States Armed Forces.

I was reflecting on these principles recently as I prepared to attend the American Lake BRC during the month of February. I also knew that I would need to put all of them into practice while being trained in the use of an iPhone. I knew that I would need to be patient in learning all the commands and applications as it would require some hard work to become proficient in using the phone. It struck me that it would also take discipline to learn how to execute these commands consistently.

We can all learn from the farmer, the athlete, and the soldier. I hope that all of us can apply these principles as we confront the challenges of vision loss.