I’ve always been fascinated by stories of men who not only lived well, but also died long before their time. One of my earliest blog posts was about Commander Ernest Evans, a WW2 Navy Captain whose heroic self-sacrifice saved thousands of American lives and earned him a posthumous Medal of Honor. More recently, I’ve been studying men such as the Reverend Martin Luther King, Gandhi, and many other noble men who all died fighting for a cause which they believed in their hearts was right. The most important martyr of all, however, is of course our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, whose humble and utterly willful sacrifice of his life led to the freedom that we all now enjoy to boldly approach the throne of Grace. Sometimes you can live your life one hundred percent correctly, and still be killed.
I have a distinct memory of being roughly nine-ish years old, and playing with a folding knife in the garage which I had found among my dad's tools. After playing with it for a while I tried to close the blade, only to realize that it was a lock-blade, a concept which my nine year old brain and fingers had yet to be able to fully comprehend. After several minutes of trying in vain to close it, I finally realized that I was not going to be able to hide the fact that I'd defied instructions and played with Dad's tools without permission.
Rather than wait around for my dad to make the inevitable discovery, I decided to take matters into my own hands, and throw myself upon the mercy of the court. I set my jaw, marched from the garage into the living room, and stood tall in front of my parents as they sat watching tv on the couch. "What's going on, Johnny?" they asked, obviously seeing the look of resolute determination on my face as I stared into the face of certain death. "I played with Dad's knife in the garage," I declared, "and now I can't close it."
Dad promptly got up, went into the garage to investigate, and then returned moments later, his adult hands deftly solving the problem that my tiny fingers could not. He then led me by the hand to the master bedroom, a place synonymous with pain and retribution, and gave me a very measured and robust swat on the butt with a wooden paddle. Even though it stung, I was impressed by the fact that it had been a single swat, instead of the customary two or three which such a brazen act of defiance might usually have merited. I learned that day that if you make a mistake, it's much better for your conscience (and for your backside) if you own up to it rather than trying to cover it up.
I'm J.R., a US Navy veteran and Linguist. This blog is devoted to insights and experiences I've gained over the years.