What’s Next?

  • Published
  • By Lt. Col. Jeffrey L. Neuberger
  • 92nd Air Refueling Wing chaplain
Sequels: sometimes we love them, sometimes we don't. The word sequel comes from the Latin 'sequi,' meaning to follow. Therefore, a sequel is something that comes as a result of something else. We're most familiar with sequels in the movie industry, for instance "Star Wars" and the "Indiana Jones" series are sequels. There are even 'prequels' or stories before the stories.

I've walked out of those movies at times asking myself "what was that all about?" In some places the story didn't follow what I thought to be a logical train of thought or conclusion. But then I remember: life is like that sometimes.

We like sequels because they keep the story going. A good story--so I'm told--leaves me wanting more. The next James Bond movie, #22, begins about 20-minutes after the end of the last movie and thus keeps the story, and thus the franchise, going.

Life itself is a story that keeps on going, day after day, event by event. Each of us is challenged to write the script with our choices, sometimes good and sometimes not. As we've begun the '101 Critical Days of Summer' we are reminded to make good decisions about safety in our summer recreation choices. We're reminded that a seat belt properly used when driving can provide "room to live" in an accident.

There are a host of other choices we face in life, as well--choices about who we are and not just what we do. I can choose to love, to be kind, to think about and care for others; in a word, I can choose to be selfless and not selfish. These choices have their consequences as well, for good or for ill.

There are times I share the sentiment of poet Louisa Tarkington when she wrote, "I wish there was some wonderful place called the Land of Beginning Again, where all of our past mistakes and heartaches, and all of our poor selfish grief, could be dropped like a shabby old coat at the door and never be put on again."

In my ministry as a chaplain I have counseled many people who wanted and needed a 're-do' or 'do-over' in life. One of my favorite quotes captures the essence of life from a personal, spiritual and moral standpoint: "there is no saint without a past, and no sinner without a future."

This quote reminds me that we all face times of regret, disappointment and failure. We've all been there, saint and sinner. But, it also reminds me that with each new day we're given the opportunity to write a sequel, hopefully a better one that carries the story forward to a happy and fulfilling end. One question remains: what's next for you?

Editor's Note: Chaplain Neuberger is retiring and this is his last commentary for the Fairchild E-connection. When asked "what's next," he replied, "Let's go forward and find out!"