|Story & Photo by Rob Schuette, Public Affairs Staff
People who have spiritual resiliency have a greater chance to weather
life’s traumas and even use them as events to improve their lives than
people who don’t have great spiritual resiliency, said Chap. (Brig.
Gen.) Ray Woolridge.
Chap. (Brig. Gen.) Ray Woolridge
talks about spiritual resiliency with attendees at a Prayer
Luncheon at Fort McCoy.
Woolridge, the assistant chief of chaplains for mobilization and
readiness, was the guest speaker at a Fort McCoy Prayer Luncheon Dec. 3.
The luncheon was the second in a series about Comprehensive Soldier
Fitness (CSF)/Suicide Awareness training. The first luncheon dealt with
stress management and the physical aspect of CSF. CSF also includes
mental, social and family dimensions.
“Everyone here is going to face a trauma at some time in their lives; it
may be financial, health-related, or relationships,” Woolridge said. “A
study (by Dr. Harold Koenig, Duke University Medical Center) showed
people who have greater spiritual resilience have greater well-being,
happiness, meaning, purpose and hope.”
Soldiers are facing trauma by serving in Afghanistan and Iraq during a
time of the third longest war since the country was founded. Woolridge
noted it was the longest period of war without a draft.
People who pray, serve others, pay attention to their religious values
and have a positive outlook tend to be more resilient. Woolridge said
people who are more resilient show less depression and faster recovery
from depression, use less alcohol and drugs, have greater marital
stability and less divorce and spousal abuse and greater social support,
Woolridge said some people can use trauma as a springboard to improve
their lives. In his own case, he has gained increased spiritual
resilience from dealing with ear cancer. Finally, a portion of the ear
was removed and it appears the cancer was contained to that area and
“We have a choice of how we will respond to things,” he said. “I know
this, I won’t die of this cancer today … although I may die of something
else, and I will be prepared for it.”
“I urge you to make sure your connection with God is what it should be,
and you’ll be prepared for any trauma that comes your way,” he said.
The foundation for spiritual support in the Army goes back to the
creation of the Army in 1775, when the chaplain corps also was created,
and probably farther back than that to the beginnings of the National
Guard, he said.
The United States was founded as a nation based on religious freedom, he
said. America is one of the most pluralistic societies in the world.
People of many different religions can live together and can come
together as neighbors to achieve a common goal.
“That’s the way it should be,” Woolridge said.
People can prepare themselves to overcome traumatic events by developing
self-confidence, leadership, personal strength, spiritual growth and an
appreciation of life.
For more information about CSF, visit the Army Knowledge Online (AKO)
site, which is accessible through the Army Web site at
http://www.army.mil. A link to the CSF
program is featured prominently on the AKO homepages.
For more information about spiritual resilience in the Fort McCoy
community and upcoming events about the CSF program, which are held on
about a quarterly basis, call the Religious Support Office at
608-388-3528 or the Fort McCoy U.S. Army Garrison Headquarters and
Headquarters Company at 608-388-9512/8698.