“Are you Vigilant?” the corporal yelled as we marched back from the parade ground. Sweating from the heat in our uniforms; Are you vigilant and strongwe halted in unison outside our barracks. “Doust! (my maiden name) Search both outside and inside the barracks; I want every stone overturned and inspected, do you understand? No one is entering until you give the all clear.”

“Yes corporal, every stone overturned, what am I looking for?”

“Bombs, Doust, bombs!”

The chosen one

“Do you know why I picked you?”

“Because I am the shortest and you can’t pronounce my name?”

“No, you little know it all, it’s because you’re vigilant – if you say there are no bombs inside and out I will believe you.”

What a responsibility, – all eyes were on me – an eighteen year old – as I began to look under, over and around the area. Bombs were a possibility, and we had to be vigilant.

Risky business

Are you vigilant and strong in your life?On my own with God at my side, I ventured around the wooden building and caught sight of a bag hanging on the saggy washing line. I searched my memory to picture if it had been there before – nothing came to mind. The receptacle looked bulky and hung too high for me to peer into – better safe than sorry.

Moments later I ran back to the corporal to share my concern. Dispatching an Aircraft Woman on the double to the Sargents office the “Flight” marched a safe distance from the barracks. Only the corporal and I stood to greet the senior NCO.  As a trio, we walked around the back of the building and surveyed the offending object. The Sargent ordered a chair and once placed near the washing line she stood above the bag trying to peer inside –  inconclusive.

The bomb squad

Mulling over what to do the Sargent asked all the trainees if they had noticed the bag before. Collectively they stated they hadn’t seen the rogue bag before. Another Aircraft Woman despatched to the Officer’s quarters produced the warning siren. Then all personnel congregated on the drill square out of harm’s way until the Bomb Squad had finished their job.

And the verdict is…

Ten minutes later I attended the scene of the washing line. The Bomb disposal team handed me the bag – I hesitated then opened it. Staring back at me were harmless pegs! I cowered waiting for the fallout considering my actions had brought out the Bomb Squad and put a stop to the camp’s daily proceedings. But nothing happened, no reprimand, only a pat on the back for being vigilant. My reward – knowing that I had been vigilant and all my colleagues were safe.

With God by your side you can be vigilant and strong


So my discovery may have been a simple bag of pegs, but several days later a bomb was found and thankfully disarmed.

God’s gift

I do not doubt that God gave me eyes to see and a heart to look out for others.

Colossians 4:2-6 Continue earnestly in prayer, being vigilant in it with thanksgiving.

The bottom line

God desires us to be vigilant and strong in our lives – to see His work through our actions – vigilant. To depend on him is strength. If we walk our own path and believe in our own solutions we miss the trick.

Time is ticking – God is coming are you ready? 

In what ways are you vigilant in your life?

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Margaret Kazmierczak

Margaret Kazmierczak nee Doust was born in 1958 in Redhill, Surrey, England. Had her father gotten his way, she would have been called Margaret Angela Doust with initials M.A.D. To avoid endless teasing, her parents dropped the middle name. She loved writing in her head, but found putting pen to paper difficult due to her dyslexia and inability to read. Her belief that she could write came when she submitted a sermon to a retreat master as a novice in a Contemplative Order. His advice to her: if you decide that this life is not for you, you must become a writer. After three years, she did leave, then life became busy and got complicated when she married her husband Peter and had three children. Finally after thirty years, the Retreat Master’s words became true and a writer was born.

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