COLUMBUS, Ohio –
“To feel so alone in a place as big as this.”
The anonymous words scribbled in green marker got Helen Brooks’ attention. They were left on a dry erase board in the Interfaith Meditation Room at the Defense Logistics Agency Land and Maritime’s headquarters where Brooks is a resolution specialist.
“My heart broke when I saw that,” she said. “Someone was crying out for help…and I just wanted to give them a big hug.”
Brooks responded to the unsigned plea, writing underneath, “You are not alone…we prayed for you.”
While the board typically serves as a place to post event reminders, it occasionally plays host to other types of messages. Of hope. Or pain.
“That’s what this room is for…..a place to calm down and refresh,” she explained. “People need to know they have a safe place to go – someone to listen to them or pray for them.”
MAKING TIME FOR RESILIENCY
The Interfaith Meditation Room on the first floor of the Operations Center in A152N welcomes people of all faiths. The room is open 24/7 and is often used for prayer and Bible study groups, or for those simply needing a quiet moment of reflection.
Two decorative pillars, several bookshelves and a conference table take up half the room while the remaining space is marked by a row of brown cubbies along the wall and a carpeted space set aside for prayer. The powder-blue wall paint adds a calming touch.
Prayer mats in several colors lay stored among other items on the bookshelves organized by faith. Books and pamphlets from some of the world’s most well-known religions have all found a place on these shelves. Perhaps the most distinctive item in the room is an 18-volume collection of the Bible translated into Braille provided for a blind associate several years ago. It’s a room meant to be welcoming to all.
Maintaining it falls to the Defense Logistics Agency Land and Maritime Chaplain Liaisons Program – a group of certified volunteers supported by the DLA Chaplain’s Office. The liaisons serve multiple Defense Supply Center Columbus tenant organizations and promote an all-inclusive program for all religions. While they do not provide counseling services, the liaisons help assist in connecting employees to counseling programs and resources such as the Employee Assistance Program and the Sexual Assault Prevention and Response Program.
“Our main focus is to make sure the spiritual component of resiliency is met,” explained Reverend Mary Moore, a management analyst who also serves as Land and Maritime’s lead chaplain liaison.
Moore is an ordained minister and certified mediator. She provides oversight of Land and Maritime’s Chaplain Liaisons program – a position that puts her at the heart of DLA’s spiritual pillar.
“Spirituality is important in the workforce,” she explained. “You can’t just leave your beliefs outside the gate and say ‘I’m not going to be a Christian here.’ Your beliefs are part of who you are.”
Moore referenced DLA’s commitment to resiliency through the goals set out in the Agency’s Strategic Plan highlighting people and culture. The spiritual pillar is one of four that make up the DLA resilience model, which also includes mental, physical and social components.
At its core, resilience is the ability to function well in the face of adversity or uncertainty. In the working environment, it translates to an employee’s ability to recover quickly from setbacks, anticipate changes, deal effectively with pressures and learn from mistakes.
Moore said the meditation room is critical to helping associates build and maintain resilience because it’s a place for them to go to find support among peers. The room hosts weekly Prayer Warriors and Bible Study groups, among other activities, and even offers call-in options for teleworkers. And in times of need, it’s also a space to ask – or write – for help.
“We’re all going through something,” Moore explained, “and sometimes faith is what gets you through it. I’ve had a few tragedies and I survived through my faith and through people helping me to get through it.”
Referencing the anonymous note left in the meditation room, Moore said, “It touched us all and I hope they read this and know we’re listening and we care.”
“I always tell people this: you can go two ways,” she added. “You can allow darkness – depression and hopelessness – to overtake you or you can allow light – joy, peace and love. Those are your options. Get the help that you need otherwise that darkness will suck you up so fast that you don’t even realize it. Do what you need to do to get to the light as fast as you can.”
For more information on the DLA Chaplain Liaisons Program, visit www.dla.mil/chaplain.