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Spring time for growth, transformation

PETERSON AIR FORCE BASE, Colorado -- As a Florida native, I can't wait for spring each year.....a time to pull out the summer wardrobe and ski without all those layers. I also love the opportunity to hike with the spring flowers.

Seeing the new buds on the trees, I'm reminded how these plants can resemble our own story. For months I ran by those same trees, thinking they looked dead. Then when the timing was right this spring, new buds sprouted from each branch until eventually the trees were covered in beautiful flowers.

Many of us are like the seeds my daughter's kindergarten class planted. When the teacher opened the package, the kids were so excited to see the seeds - how cool they looked. Then each seed was pushed way down in the dark soil, separated by some distance from its fellow seeds. Day after day, the kids waited patiently, watering the seeds. While the kids wondered if anything good was happening underground, the seed was undergoing a huge transformation. When the timing was right, that shoot popped through the surface and grew into a beautiful sunflower.

We share many similarities with these seeds. Sometimes in life we're pushed down into a dark space, watered by the rain or our tears. We may feel alone not realizing that there are fellow seeds (wingmen) just an inch away. We may feel abandoned not realizing there is hope. But if we don't give up, if we push through, we will (like the buds and seeds) be triumphant in the end.

If you are in a dark season right now, don't give up hope. Like the seeds, you have amazing potential. You are not alone during this period of growth; there are wingmen all around to help. Though you may be watered by the rain or your tears, there are so many other resources to guide you: the chaplain, Airman and Family Readiness Center, Mental Health clinic, Military OneSource, military and family life counselors, and the behavioral health counselors in the Family Health clinic. The Military Crisis Line is available 24/7 for service members, veterans and their families (800-273-8255, press "1").

The dirt and darkness can make it hard to see that this season is temporary. Ask your first sergeant, supervisor or commander for help. Our priority is to help you reap your harvest and become all that you were intended to be. We all need help at times - don't be afraid to ask.