“You know, when your stomach begins to churn, that the odds have just begun to even.”
Brave words, spoken by my great-grandfather, concerning his policy of going big game hunting (usually tigers, snakes, wild boars, and elephants) with only one bullet in his rifle. He felt that mankind, against beast, could only be pitted in a fair fight if he were restricted to one bullet. True story.
I recall reading the play-by-play encounter of my grandfather as he spoke of the moment he squeezed the trigger of his Thompson sub-machine gun on a charging wild boar. He wrote with regret that he had used a machine gun to kill the beast, rather than using the finesse of one shot as his father did. He simply didn’t have the time to switch to his hunting rifle he carried on his back. Truth be told, it wouldn’t surprise me if he regretted that moment for the rest of his life. He also wrote of the moment leading up to the seconds where he sprayed hot lead into the chests of incoming enemy guerilla warriors.
This blood flows through my veins.
To shirk this call of adventure would be a tragedy.
“Aaron, expect to have your heart broken. Expect to go through misery, frustration, and angst.” “Was it worth it?” “Are you kidding me? Every second.”
I recall my good friend Travis Tucker telling me of a night in Iraq. See, Travis was a Sergeant in the U.S. Army before the age of 23, serving our country and fighting for the freedom we have. And on this night, he was driving through the desert in a Humvee when something, somebody appears to have ran past his line of sight. The brakes slammed down on the truck, and after a quick glance at his fellow solder, the doors opened and he sprinted, full-speed, in the direction of the danger.
“I just remember sprinting, locked and loaded, towards whatever it was that we saw.” he told me.
It would have been the easy thing to continue driving the Humvee as if nothing had happened. That’s playing it safe. However, what of the consequences? Perhaps it had been an insurgent that was running towards the U.S. Base with a roadside bomb, prepped to kill soliders? I will never meet Tyler’s brother, Sgt. Justin Hoffman, because he was killed by such a device.
It would have been safe to just keep driving. Don’t see anything. That’s not how heros live. That’s not how champions fight. That’s now how real men respond to danger.
You may be thinking that you are exempt from this type of duty, because you have no Humvee to drive, or insurgents to chase. But what of your future? When temptation comes at you, do you simply turn a blind eye and not turn to face and fight it?
Do you love your future wife enough to love and respect her before you’ve met her?
Will you be able to look at your children in the eye and tell them you fought for their honor before they were ever conceived?
We live in a world where many of us are too content to stay in the truck, avoiding danger while ‘insurgents’ rush towards our home base; marriage, family, faith, relationships, and potential. We stand idle while these things are blown to pieces because we remain lethargic and callous to the long-term ramifications that occur every second we choose to not care enough to get uncomfortable.
I speak from personal experience. There have been many moments in this life where I, too, have dropped the ball. After many instances of realizing these shortcomings, I’ve realized defense is not the fighting style of those who want to be more than average. Warding off blows is not the same as dealing them. You will never win a fight by simply being defensive. When you are thinking about quitting, think about those whom you are fighting for, wipe off the sweat and get back into the fight.
This is for you.