Being a Good, Brave Man


I like to think of myself as a good man. I think I’m fair and will help others when needed. I need to stop being so lazy, but I don’t think that’s a terrible fault, just something that needs getting rid of quietly. But I’m not sure I have the courage to be a good, brave man.

This may sound strange, but hear my thinking.

I just received one of those stupid chain e-mails which normal I’m loathed to read, so hit delete. However, this one piqued my interest by being about our armed forces. And at the bottom of this e-mail was one of the most moving poems I think I’ve ever read:

THE  FINAL INSPECTION

The soldier stood and faced God,   
Which must always come to pass.
He hoped his shoes were shining,
Just as brightly as his brass.

‘Step forward now, you  soldier,
How shall I deal with you ?
Have you always turned the other cheek ?
To My Church have you been true?’

The soldier squared his shoulders and said,
‘No, Lord, I guess I ain’t.
Because those of us who carry  guns,
Can’t always be a saint.

I’ve had to work most Sundays,
And at times my talk was tough.
And sometimes I’ve been violent,
Because the world is awfully rough.

But, I never took a penny,
That wasn’t mine to keep…
Though I worked a lot of overtime,
When the bills got just too steep.

And I never passed a cry for help,
Though at times I shook with fear.
And sometimes, God, forgive me,
I’ve wept unmanly tears.

I know I don’t deserve a place,
Among the people here.
They never wanted me around,
Except to calm their fears.

If you’ve a place for me here, Lord,
It needn’t be so grand.
I never expected or had too much,
But if you don’t, I’ll understand.

There was a silence all  around the throne,
Where the saints had often trod.
As the soldier waited quietly,
For the judgment of his God.

‘Step forward  now, you soldier,
You’ve borne your burdens  well..
Walk peacefully on Heaven’s  streets,
You’ve done your time in Hell.’

This really did bring a tear to my eye. I thought about all our brave soldiers, where ever they are in the world, fighting and trying to protect millions of people they don’t know. And its not like in the old’un days when you were subscripted and forced to fight. These guys volunteered, knowing the dangers and still they go. Sure, some of them are there through some “Rambo” complex just looking to fire a big gun, but I have no doubt that 95% of our soldiers are good, decent human beings who are trying to make a difference in a world that doesn’t help the little guy, but crushes him mercilessly beneath it’s boot.

Now I’m not saying I need to be THAT heroic, but would I have the courage to stop someone in the street if I saw them bullying or insulting a weaker person? Could I stand up for those who can’t stand up for themselves? Does it make me a bad person if I was too scared? You always here about have-a-go heroes being stabbed after trying to stop an old lady being mugged. I’d like to think it wouldn’t stop me helping, but I just couldn’t be sure.

Does that make me any less of a good man?

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