Desire

The expense of spirit in a waste of shame
Is lust in action; and till action, lust
Is perjured, murderous, bloody, full of blame,
Savage, extreme, rude, cruel, not to trust,
Enjoy’d no sooner but despised straight,
Past reason hunted, and no sooner had
Past reason hated, as a swallow’d bait
On purpose laid to make the taker mad;
Mad in pursuit and in possession so;
Had, having, and in quest to have, extreme;
A bliss in proof, and proved, a very woe;
Before, a joy proposed; behind, a dream.
All this the world well knows; yet none knows well
To shun the heaven that leads men to this hell.

Shakespeare

Duty

There is a misconception in our society of what constitutes a hero.  I don’t want to detract from our soldiers, sailors, airmen, fire fighters, and police officers.  These men and women daily volunteer to dive head first into danger for a multitude of reasons.  The one chief reason in my estimation is duty.  Duty to what?  It varies from person to person.  Consider though that hero is a strong term; it carries a reverence and nobility with it that elevates it above just adhering to one’s perceived duty.

I believe that a hero is someone who rises above and beyond their charged duties.  They throw caution to the wind because someone must.  In the last few months there have been two stark examples of men who have earned the title of hero in my opinion, but there are also an untold number of moments where the call went out for a hero, and no one answered.

Former Navy SEAL Tyrone Woods ignored direct orders to not go to the aide of the Benghazi consulate.  Because of his actions and those men that accompanied him, they were able to rescue dozens of Americans from the consulate and bring them back to the nearby CIA annex.  Woods was not acting within his duty as a CIA officer.  He bravely set aside his own personal safety and literally ran toward the sound of gunfire.

In contrast to this, and I am deeply saddened by this, consider the story of Connor and Brandon.  Conner was 2. Brandon was 4.  Both were swept away from their mother in the midst of Hurricane Sandy on Staten Island.  Their mother went door to door screaming for help to find her children… I can imagine the sounds of her pounding on the doors and windows trying to get people to help her find her young children in the midst of the hell of that storm.  How desperate she was she probably screamed herself hoarse.

I question whether I would answer her desperate pleas for help, throw my own safety aside, and charge out into the maelstrom to help search for two young children barely older than my own.  Would I have the courage to do what is necessary?  To do my duty as a neighbor, a friend, a man, an American?

I believe that I would.  I believe that I must.  If I would ever expect someone else to do the same for me, my wife, or my sons, then I must be willing and ready to do the very same for them.

Could you set aside your own earthly cares long enough to help someone in dire need?  Could you charge into a burning building?  Could you rush headlong into a hurricane?  Could you run toward the sound of the guns?

What takes greater faith?  Trusting that God will come to their aide?  Or trusting that God will be at your back as you put your faith into action?

Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.

John 15:13

Love your neighbor as yourself.

Mark 12:31

Once more unto the breach, dear friends, once more;
Or close the wall up with our English dead.
In peace there’s nothing so becomes a man
As modest stillness and humility:
But when the blast of war blows in our ears,
Then imitate the action of the tiger;
Stiffen the sinews, summon up the blood,
Disguise fair nature with hard-favour’d rage;
Then lend the eye a terrible aspect;
Let pry through the portage of the head
Like the brass cannon; let the brow o’erwhelm it
As fearfully as doth a galled rock
O’erhang and jutty his confounded base,
Swill’d with the wild and wasteful ocean.
Now set the teeth and stretch the nostril wide,
Hold hard the breath and bend up every spirit
To his full height. On, on, you noblest English.
Whose blood is fet from fathers of war-proof!
Fathers that, like so many Alexanders,
Have in these parts from morn till even fought
And sheathed their swords for lack of argument:
Dishonour not your mothers; now attest
That those whom you call’d fathers did beget you.
Be copy now to men of grosser blood,
And teach them how to war. And you, good yeoman,
Whose limbs were made in England, show us here
The mettle of your pasture; let us swear
That you are worth your breeding; which I doubt not;
For there is none of you so mean and base,
That hath not noble lustre in your eyes.
I see you stand like greyhounds in the slips,
Straining upon the start. The game’s afoot:
Follow your spirit, and upon this charge
Cry ‘God for Harry, England, and Saint George!’

William Shakespeare, Henry V, Act 3, Scene 1

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