More than thirty-five years. That’s roughly how long ago a kid, not much time out of high school, with no clear vision for his life, joined the United States Air Force.
I’m not going to lie to you. I had no intention to protect you, or America when I did what I did.
I truly just, had no better life plan at that point in my short jaunt on the planet.
As time went on in that pursuit, I began to understand what the military was ostensibly for. For a time, I not only supported the ideas and concepts behind those forces, but I came to view myself as a person working to protect freedom.
I grew older, and I like to think, smarter. In the course of time, I came to believe something for which I to this day, have zero proof. I came to accept that there was a God, that He was responsible for my being, and that in the form of the Son, He came to Earth, and died on the cross, for my sake.
Funnily, I credit the Book of Mormon for helping me to see that. I won’t get heavily into detail, but I saw some of what was written there, was truth. Other parts, I came to recognize, were not. If you ask me how I knew, I would have to tell you, even now, I have no real answer. I can just tell you, I came to believe it was the case.
I bring up the beliefs I came to hold, because it was on that basis, I concluded I needed to exit the Air Force.
I sat in a room, in a small building on Osan Air Base in the Republic of Korea, where I was undergoing Leadership Training, and did my best to attend the folks responsible for instructing me.
The first man got up and said basically, “Your mission in the Air Force, is to break things and kill people. Thank you.” Then he sat down, waiting for the next instructor.
I concluded he wasn’t entirely correct, as a member of the Air Force, you’re tasked with one four possible missions:
- To break things and kill people
- To threaten to break things and kill people
- To support people breaking things and killing people
- To support people threatening to break things and kill people
I recognize these are seen as necessary, and important activities in state-craft. Nonetheless, knowing they were the things with which one may be tasked, I resolved to depart the body, burdened with such charges as quickly as I was able. I simply couldn’t reconcile them, to what I held to be the basis for my existence.
The result was, before too very much longer, I left the service, not in the nicest of ways, but not in a terrible one either.
I’m not going to say I made no comments as I went along in the process, but I will say, considering the title of this article, talk is indeed cheap.
The result is simple, I came to recognize what I believed, and chose a course that would help me to come closer, to those things I held true.
To this day, I have friends who made the same pledge I did, and at least stayed for a time. Some retired from the military.
I hold no grudge against any of them for having kept their word, and done what they felt was their duty—even if they too, counted themselves Christian.
The point of all of this though, is that each of us resolved to take a certain course. For some, the path changed over time, but in each case, we decided on our direction, and acted in accordance with what we chose.
Put simply, it’s easy to talk. Where the rubber meets the proverbial road though, is in action.
From the time I pledged myself to military service, until the day I left (not when I decided to do so, when I actually did do it), I acted in good faith, regarding my choices.
Even now, there are things I learned in my time in the Air Force, I’m obliged not to divulge.
This is one of the key realities of life, what you say, is fine and good, but it doesn’t matter one whit, if it doesn’t match your actions.
Don’t get me wrong, you can get truth from someone who doesn’t live it. I honestly believe even hypocritical people, can speak reality.
I’m not suggesting you ignore the words of others, because they don’t practice what they preach.
That said, the fact that they don’t behave in accordance with their words, should make you question whether the individual considered, is one you choose to support or count worthy of your time and effort.
This is a definite consideration in politics. There’re a lot of folks who—looking at their records will make plain—do not act in line with what they say.
What it’s important for you to realize is, no matter how good those people sound, the thing that’s really significant is what they do.
I might reverse this for you as well. Even if a person seems to spout garbage, if his or her actions are good, what he or she says, is of little consequence compared to them.
In case you’re wondering, there’s an underlying Biblical principle here. It can be found in Matthew 21:
28 But what think ye? A certain man had two sons; and he came to the first, and said, Son, go work to day in my vineyard.
29 He answered and said, I will not: but afterward he repented, and went.
30 And he came to the second, and said likewise. And he answered and said, I go, sir: and went not.
31 Whether of them twain did the will of his father? They say unto him, The first. Jesus saith unto them, Verily I say unto you, That the publicans and the harlots go into the kingdom of God before you.
My simple message to you? Talk is cheap. That works for those around you. It works for politicians, too. If you ignore this reality, I can pretty much promise you’ll find yourself wondering what went wrong at some point.
Thanks for reading, and may your time be good.