An interesting time of year for the Army with, once again, the usual pages and pages of re-appointments necessitating officer relocation with attendant farewells, packing, unpacking and welcomes. By the time this is printed many will be in their new appointments.
Thank God some appointments these days are for longer terms than the average 2.3 to 3 years that, for decades, was around the norm. Since it probably takes officers about six months to get fully up and running in a corps appointment and anticipating a move before the third year a similar amount of time “winding down,” that has resulted in a pattern of one year spent “getting fully up” and “winding down,” for every two years “fully up and running!” We seem to have kept spending a third of the appointment “taking off” and “landing” without (except in a few instances where officers have stayed longer) ever “taking off and continuing to soar.”
I imagine that some officers actually look forward to frequent moves, while others may not.
I remember years ago when there was a major headquarters relocation necessitating the movement of a number of officers to new housing in a new city. I was not an officer at the time, nor personally involved in the move, so my perspective was of one “looking in” as it were. Many involved in the move were concerned about involvement in the actual choice of accommodation and location of the housing. Some were happy about what was offered, some were sad. Feelings were freely expressed. It fell to my lot to lead the final headquarters “chapel service” before the move and I couldn’t help (with tongue “firmly in cheek”) selecting songs that seemed to reflect some of the feelings of those present…
for the optimistic …”God is with us… wheresoever men may move,” (SB 158) and “He walks with God who as he onward moves…” (SB 580)…
…for the less willing… “Help me the slow of heart to move…” (SB 519) and “For the mighty moving of thy Spirit” (SB 192)…
… for the resigned…”A tent or a castle, why should I care? They’re building a palace for me over there.” (SB 354), and…
for the resistant…”…I shall not be moved” (SB 710), plus a chorus that seems to have disappeared from more recent song books, “Just like a tree planted by the water, I shall not be moved”!
It was fascinating to see the faces of those who saw themselves reflected in the various words.
The latter chorus (“I shall not be moved”) might also be translated as “I shall not be changed” and that in itself can be dangerous in times when, all around us, we see change that demands a response. Don’t you feel at times that the Army is a little like the boy who stood on the burning deck!
Years ago I read something that Peter Drucker (guru of management thinking) said. I am paraphrasing, from memory, but it went something like this… Every three years an organization should put on trial for its life every product, process, procedure, etc. The question must be “If we were starting all over again today, would we do it this way?”
That notion is reflective of the Founder’s pragmatic insistence on results…fruit for our labors. He was always for necessary change.
Shall we move forward confidently, with God, in faith to whatever lies ahead…or, are there still those resisting and insisting, “I shall not be moved?”