Why do you do it?
It’s who I am.
I fully admit that I was a fool, but not the kind of fool most people think I was. I was a fool for believing the lies. Not in the sense that I was a fool to do what I did, but in the sense that I believed the lies about why I was doing it. It was the right choice, but not for the reasons they fed me. Some part of me grasped the motivation for driving forward through the head games and nearly meaningless exercises that were cooked up by mindless bureaucrats who had no clue what it all meant. That part of me knew it wasn’t the pretty baubles on my chest or the gold stripes on my sleeve.
It wasn’t in the honors and titles and accolades on pieces of paper now long forgotten. To be honest, it wasn’t even the camaraderie, and it sure as hell wasn’t the pay, and it wasn’t the tax and price breaks I’m offered today. It wasn’t for the way civilians who don’t have a clue keep thanking me for a service that in many ways dishonors them. It wasn’t for the flag, or apple pie and “liberty” and to build a better world for my children. I know better than to think I accomplished anything at all along those lines.
Nope. All that is just the background noise. Today I see that more clearly than ever.
And if I could, I’d do it again. I’d probably choose a better course through the maze, but I wouldn’t hesitate to go into that maze and get all shredded by a system that doesn’t give a damn about me. I’d face all the petty self-aggrandizement of the mafia NCO corps and the constant betrayal of people who pretend to be your friend just so they can use your energy for their own promotions.
I’d go back today if they’d have me.
It’s who I am.
It’s a question of the God who made me and created the drive inside of me. I didn’t choose where I was born and political machinations that rule this country. I don’t hate our alleged enemies; it’s nothing personal. But I’ll kill those enemies just the same. I’ll salute the flag and obey the protocols because that’s part of the job. I’ll give everything within me to do what the job demands and strive for excellence. But not because I believe in the system or any part of it; I’d do it because there’s no other way I can obey that drive deep in my soul.
This is why I’ll still play the game by the rules as much as is human possible, but don’t you dare drape that damned flag on the Cross. My Savior is above all that. I’ll sacrifice every shred of my flesh for that flag because that’s what He requires of me, not for anybody else. And I have no doubt some of our enemies serve Him, too, but I’m the one who makes that final decision what He requires of me. Nobody else has that authority. Nobody on this earth speaks for God inside my soul.
I cannot possibly find peace with my God any other way. I’m His agent in the midst of all the lies and darkness in this world. Anywhere the door opens for me to be who I am called to be, I’m going in. I’m not dead yet and there’s plenty I can still do, just as if I were still a soldier in uniform. There’s another mission out there somewhere, and I’ll give it my full energy and loyalty for the same reason.
It’s who I am.