February 14, 2013
A good man will rise and battle with adversity; while a great man will rise, but is never willing to compromise his integrity even if it means he loses the battle. It is the war, not the battle. It is the race, not the sprint. It is the entire game, not just the minutes.
Not too long ago, I had a little run in with integrity. For many years, I have had a dream, a very noble dream, if I might say so. I have always wanted to serve my nation, to give back to my country by serving in the military.
As a young, high school freshman, I had aspirations of attending the Air Force Academy. I wanted to dedicate my life to a life of service to my God and my country. Unfortunately, my dream quickly faded as I realized my struggles with asthma would prevent me from getting an appointment to the Academy.
As I entered my freshman year of college, I still had the same desire to serve. I had a buddy serving in the National Guard, while still attending college. Not long after meeting him, I found myself in a recruiter's office, looking to sign up. From the beginning of the process, I was honest about my asthma, but was told I needed to delete that information from my application if I had any desire to join the military.I continued the recruitment process, each time answering honestly concerning my asthma.
Finally, the day I had long dreamed of had arrived. The day I would be sworn in as a member of the United States Military. But before I could leave the recruiter's office to offically be sworn in, I had one last questionnaire to answer. One last questionnaire that stood between me and service to my country.
In that moment, I had a choice. Would I hide the fact that I have asthma so I can fulfill my dream or do I answer the questionnaire honestly, knowing it may keep me from serving? My journey and dream ended in that very moment. I wasn't going to start my service to my country by lying to it. It wasn't an easy choice, but it was the right choice. Doing what is right isn't always easy, but integrity is doing what is right, always.
I believe integrity, or the character of a person, is built in a lifetime. Integrity is not how you do in a battle, but how you conduct yourself in the war. Integrity is not how fast you were on lap 3, but rather, how you lasted through it all.
Have you ever had a battle with integrity?