Are you happy?: Reverend Stuart J Foster, team rector

In Northern Ireland in 1971, I walked away unscathed from a bombing. I wanted to turn to something bigger than the horror. I was looking for something where peace of mind and a state of happiness weren't based on bigotry. I stumbled upon a monastic order and it was like having a huge burden lifted. Around then, I met my wife and decided against full monastic life. I am an oblate instead.

I've also been a chaplain in the armed forces. It's muscular Christianity at work, keeping up with those young commandos. The role of padre is to meet their needs, support them when they're flagging. At the regimental reunion, one said to me, "You gave me advice and it made a difference." If you never hear anything else, at least you have those words.

I had been an amateur race car driver. I remember starting at the grid with someone, and at the end of the race they'd been killed. That sort of thing makes you think. But sometimes a person needs to be there to question you. I was preparing to do a solo crossing of the Atlantic when I met a naval commander who asked, "If your boat goes down, what happens to you?" I said, "I'll probably go down with the boat." "What about your soul?" he asked.

I couldn't answer - a year later I knew exactly where my soul would go. I woke up to the fact there was purpose in my life.

Thanks to who have provided this article. View the original here.