Attachments and the Kingdom of God

How does a person, any person, and all people attach and detach to (& from) others, places, things, and the events of life?

With Permanent Change of Station (PCS) season approaching, Soldiers I have known for years ETSing (Estimated Time of Separation), and a handful of others I consider mentors Retiring this year; it made sense to write about attachment. Recently I counted up how many times since birth I have moved to another placed and lived longer than one month. How many times you ask? 55!

According to www.fivethirtyeight.com , the average person born in America will move 11.4 times in their life time.

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Stats: Jan. 29, 2015

Obviously, we move a lot being in the military. How many times have you packed up your stuff and lived in a separate location for longer than one month?

On the other hand, my wife has moved a total of 17 times, with 14 of those times being with me. Statistically she is way above the national average and as a couple we are well beyond the numbers. At this rate, by the time I am 60, I will have moved over 60 times. As it stands, I am only 45 years old.

The longest I have lived in one place, was while stationed in Fort Stewart, Georgia. We lived there just over 4 years. However, I deployed twice while there: a 12 month tour, and a 15 month tour. During the 15 month tour we moved five times. So a more accurate statement would be, my wife and kids have lived in Fort Stewart for a longer period of time than anywhere else since our marriage in 1998.

So here is the equation for healthy attachment: Time x Meaningful Relationship (experience) = Healthy Attachment. Interestingly enough, the equation for healthy detachment is the same: Time x Meaningful Relationship (experience) = Healthy Detachment. An example of the equation is found in the quote about true friends.

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Both the Attachment and Detachment equations are seen in this quote from www.tumblr.com. Furthermore and according to www.gallup.com , the average male has 9.3 close friends and women have 7.9 close friends throughout their lifetimes. How many close friends do you have?

Everything I have discussed thus far has been around horizontal relationships and experiences, but what about our attachment or detachment from God? If the benefits of time spent in meaningful relationships and experiences are as beneficial as they appear, how much more beneficial would a relationship with God the Father be? Proverbs speaks to this question directly and it is in agreement with the proposed equation: “A man who has friends must himself be friendly, but there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother.” (Proverbs 18:24) Therefore, the same equation that is true for horizontal relationships and experiences is also true for the vertical one as well (Time x Meaningful Relationship or experience = Healthy Attachment). Those who combine the two juxtaposed relationships, call that FELLOWSHIP! With whom do you FELLOWSHIP? From Fellowship comes Blessing, from Blessing comes increased faith, and with increased faith comes growth to God’s kingdom.

Lest we go too far down the road of logic and miss the man beat up and laying in the ditch we are approaching, let us not forget that Jesus was and is the ultimate Good Samaritan and we should follow in His footsteps. Time requires adjustments, Healthy Relationships and Experiences insists we understand and correctly respond to the unhealthy ones, and healthy attachment demands trials and tribulations. One cannot simply, exist without the messiness, drama and teacher of living life open to new relationships and experiences that may bring difficulty. The question is how will we respond to such events? As a Chaplain who has performed over 200 memorials and funerals and ministered to five times as many Soldiers, families and leaders who have experienced incredible loss; Life is too short to waste our time on unhealthy attachment!

So continuing daily with one accord in the temple, and breaking bread from house to house, they ate their food with gladness and simplicity of heart, praising God and having favor with all the people. And the Lord added to the church daily those who were being saved.” – Acts 2:46-47

Rarely do we see how to accomplish what otherwise seems impossible, but the above passage gives us clear guidance concerning the way ahead. What would it look like for you to get involved with a movement like the one described in Acts 2? One thing is for sure, it will take Time x Meaningful Relationships and Experiences which will equal Healthy Attachment. It may also take 55 moves or more!

Mijikai Mason
Disclaimer: The thoughts and views published on the Veterans to Christ blog are those of Mijikai Mason and in no way are meant to represent the United States Army or the Armed Forces.

Bio: Mijikai Mason is an Ordained Southern Baptist minister and Chaplain in the United States Army. He has been in the Army for 26 years both as an enlisted Soldier and now as an Officer. He has been stationed at various bases in the United States and in United States Army Garrison Schweinfurt, Germany. He holds an undergraduate degree in Religion from the University of Mobile, a Master of Divinity degree from New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary in Theology and Evangelism and a Master of Arts degree in Marriage and Family Therapy from Webster University. Chaplain (MAJ) Mijikai Mason was selected by the Army in 2013, to become a Family Life Chaplain and began his service in this field starting 15 May 2015. He is the Deputy ESC Chaplain and Family Life Chaplain for the 593 Expeditionary Support Command at Joint Base Lewis McCord. He has deployed four times: Desert Storm (1991), Iraq twice (2005-2006; 2007-2008), and Afghanistan (2012-2013). He has a total of 42 months deployed in combat and logistics operations. Mijikai and his wife, Ashley, have been married for 17 years this May and live near Joint Base Lewis McChord, Washington with their four daughters.