National Chaplain's Message

Harvey H. Klee
National Chaplain of the American Legion

Daylight Saving Time. Some love it, some hate it.  It was first introduced in the United States a year before the founding of The American Legion. Benjamin Franklin proposed the idea back in 1784, but Franklin also proposed the turkey as our national bird and darn near electrocuted himself while flying a kite in a lightning storm!

I admit it, I'm not a lover of DST. Hawaii and Arizona do not use DST. For the rest of us, we have to live with it as best we can which brought me to wonder, ‘How might I best deal with changing circumstances?’

The I Ching, or the Book of Changes, is the world's oldest philosophical treatise that teaches us that the only thing constant in life is change. So I guess we better get used to it.

American theologian Reinhold Niebuhr had an approach to the question in the “Serenity Prayer,” which he authored. Since then, many variations have been written. One of my favorites and the one I find most helpful is the following:

'God, give me grace to accept with serenity the things that cannot be changed,

Courage to change the things which should be changed, and the wisdom to distinguish the one from the other.

'Living one day at a time, enjoying one moment at a time, accepting hardship as a pathway to peace, taking, as Jesus did, this sinful world as it is, not as I would have it, trusting that You will make all things right, if I surrender to Your will, so that I may be reasonably happy in this life, and supremely happy with You forever in the next. Amen.'

It was Lily Tomlin  who said, ‘Reality is the leading cause of stress among those in touch with it.’ Perhaps it's because we tend to make life more complex than need be.

Returning to ancient wisdom for a moment, a disciple of Chuang Tzu, a daoist philosopher who lived during the 4th century BC, asked him one day, ‘Master, where did the universe come from? Is there a God? What is the purpose of life? Why is there pain and injustice and suffering? Where do we go after we die?’

Tzu responded, ‘The true master of life does not labor over life. The true master of fate does not question fate. Use understanding to understand what can be understood with understanding, and then stop.’

By simplifying one's life and doing less, one can do more. It's a matter of doing less of the things that inhibit one from achieving their goals and focusing more on that which brings them closer to their ultimate objectives. Should you encounter any stumbling blocks along the way,  re-read the Serenity Prayer above.

Harvey H. Klee

National chaplain, 2016-2017

In His service, serving others