The links that form the chain

  • Published
  • By Lt. Col. Jeffrey L. Neuberger
  • 92nd Air Refueling Wing Chaplain
Several times this week I encountered a word that led me to today's commentary. That word is "link."

Earlier this week I received my monthly 92nd Services Squadron publication called "Link," which contains helpful information regarding Services events and generous coupons. Through this publication a connection was established between me and the services of Services.

In a staff meeting I listened as we discussed the pluses and minuses of the internet, notably the real possibility that operations security can be compromised when people post sensitive information online. In that conversation, the word "link" was spoken again, this time referring to the computer term, also known as a hyperlink, defined as a reference or navigation element which connects two locations to each other. Technically speaking, a link has two ends, the anchor and the direction.

As the saying goes, "the shortest distance between two points is a straight line," and the link is that invisible straight line to a destination often known as a URL or Uniform Resource Locator, i.e. an address on the World Wide Web.

When you want to visit an internet address, you simply select the link, click and you're there. Without the uniform computer language, navigation on the internet is impossible. It's all very fascinating and can be extremely helpful, however, the technology can also link you to a Web site that is totally inappropriate. Enough said!

This talk of linkage made me think about our spiritual lives, especially the word "religion," which comes from the Latin word for ligament, ligare, meaning to tie or bind one thing to another. We're most familiar with ligaments as connecting bone to bone. When used in the word "religion" it refers to that which we bind ourselves to. Webster's New World Dictionary defines religion, in part, as "any specific system of belief, worship, conduct, etc. often involving a code of ethics and a philosophy."

There are many ways we are bound to one another through important links. We are bound to our family members by blood, to our friends by shared experiences, to the Air Force by our oaths of office, and to our nation by the words of our Constitution and the freedoms we share. We can also be bound to God in our beliefs which shape our ethics and our values.

The truth is, we are linked to one another in many ways on our journey through life. It's said that a chain is only as strong as its weakest link. If that's true, we must remember the important linkages in life and do everything we can to keep them strong.