Footsteps in Faith: Chaplain finds growth through prism of a volcano

| October 21, 2016 | 0 Comments
VOLCANOES NATIONAL PARK, Hawaii — Shown is a brief overflow of KilaueaÕs summit lava lake on Oct. 15.

VOLCANOES NATIONAL PARK, Hawaii — Shown is a brief overflow of Kilauea’s summit lava lake on Oct. 15.


coenChaplain (Maj.) Marshall Coen

Integrated Religious Support Team
SCHOFIELD BARRACKS — Last week, my family and I went to the Big Island to enjoy everything that Hawaii has to offer.

We saw some pretty amazing things.

We explored the Hilo and Kona sides of the island. We drove past the Pohakuloa Training Area, or PTA – quickly I might add – and looked in awe and wonder at the beauty that is represented on that island.

What I found so amazing was this beauty began thousands of years ago with an eruption deep within the Pacific Ocean and continues to this day.

This volcanic eruption, over time, slowly rose from the depths of the ocean and formed land. Once land formed, life rooted itself within a difficult terrain and found a way to not only survive but to thrive.

The island is lush with vegetation. There are beautiful waterfalls and some breathtaking views.

As we enjoyed the island, I found myself on many occasions forgetting that this island is still active. The truly amazing thing is, the Big Island is only getting bigger and it is changing every day.

Growth through difficulty
Many times as a chaplain, I have listened to the stories of couples that struggle to make their relationships work. I see the pain and frustration in their eyes and hear their words of disappointment and anger.

Marriage can be difficult. Marriage can be frustrating. But marriage can also be beautiful, joyful, harmonious and thriving.

Marriage takes time. It takes time to grow and become stronger.

This past week, I was reminded that growth has its painful moments. Those painful moments are different for every couple. But for some, those moments are like volcanoes.

Relational volcanoes forget the beauty of marital bliss and simply lay waste to whatever is in the way. Some marriages, sadly, never fully recover, and yet others find a way to not only survive but to thrive.

Those couples who thrive understand that, although life may influence relationships, love ultimately determines the direction and reason for making marriage work.

The Big Island, like many relationships, shows the scars of eruptions. These scars run deep and for miles; yet, despite the destruction of eruption, life like love finds a way.
As my family and I walked through a dried up lava field and through a lava tunnel, we were humbled by the power of an eruption. So, the next time you find yourself frustrated and ready to erupt, just remember once an eruption starts, it takes time to end and even longer to heal.
(Editor’s note: Coen works in Plans and Operations, 25th Infantry Division/U.S. Army Garrison-Hawaii.)


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Category: Community, Footsteps in Faith

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