A Word about Sacrifice

May 28, 2010 § Leave a comment

I would like to step away from my traditional notes on Staffing and speak for a moment about Sacrifice.  This is a term that we all are familiar with and, I believe, we all participate in to some degree.

A person who sacrifices is typically characterized as a person who gives up something of Value to them so that others may benefit.  The value of what they give can be measured by the importance of the benefit imposed on the receiver.

Giving up my place in line at McDonald’s to an elderly gentleman is a small Sacrifice.  I give up the opportunity to get my food faster.  The gentleman benefits by not having to stand in line and getting his order quickly.  This is a small sacrifice.  These Sacrifices build an immeasurable character in a person.  Repeated practice allows you to look at others in the world as opposed to your self.  It drives your perspective outward.  It raises your head up as you walk.  It finds you reaching out to a brother, a friend and even strangers.  And oftentimes, it is thankless.

I have been impacted recently, by the sacrifice of a large group of people.  Our United States Servicemen and women.  Four days after this Memorial Day, I will have the privilege of releasing my youngest son into the care of the United States Marine Corps.  He will be leaving for California for a month or so and then on to Afghanistan.

This word sacrifice has been heavy on my heart for the past several months in anticipation of this upcoming day.  My sacrifice is not seeing my son for 7+ months.  The loss of innocence he will likely experience through immersion into a foreign land overwhelmed by unspeakable violence.  The possible harm or injury or worse that he may experience while serving his tour.  This is a sacrifice that is nearly unbearable for me as a Father.

My son came home one day from First Grade.  He complained to me about two Second Graders that were following him down the sidewalk and kicking his feet.  In an effort to avoid an unbalanced confrontation, he ran away.  It was on this day, 18 years ago, that I discovered that I would not be able to protect the ones that I had been charged with all of the time.  So I changed my focus, from protecting him, to teaching him how to protect himself from harm.  I don’t just mean physical harm, but emotional harm as well.  I taught him how to use his words, instead of his hands.  How to share and give.  How to avoid those who did not share our beliefs of fairness and friendship.  I taught him how to respect and to command respect.  I equipped the boy with all that I new.  It can be said, that I have worked all these years to prepare him for the difficult moments ahead.  And now after having invested so much time, effort and love in this young man, I must give him up willingly to serve my country.  I can only hope that when my country is unable (or God forbid, unwilling) to protect him, that everything I have given him in the past will see him through to a glorious homecoming to his mom, his family, his friends and to me.

And so, I give to you, my countrymen, the best that I have – my son.  This is my sacrifice.

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