Posts Tagged 'defensive fighting position'

Choosing Battle

battleeyelens

I enjoy playing and watching sports, particularly basketball and football. I enjoy the skill and competition, though I could live without the macho testosterone driven parts. Nevertheless those moments when things really heat up can be revealing.

I remember watching an NBA game one night where the Timberwolves’ player Kevin Garnett, whom I love, and is a respected battler on the court, found himself facing off against a player on another team (I don’t even remember who it was anymore). Kevin’s unintentional body language in that moment revealed even through a wild swinging punch he threw that he did not want to be engaged in that fight. It was so obvious to anyone tuned in to that sort of thing. But of course he had a reputation and pride to uphold, so he went through the motions.

Character is revealed in the heat of battle. Do we really want to be there, or would a quiet escape suit? Do we push through and do our duty, in spite of the risk and fear?

Examine your internal monolog as you read and think about this. My guess is it’s probably coming from a moral orientation. You see failure to step up to the plate as morally wrong, and a shortcoming.

That can be true, but if we get off of our moral high-horse for a moment, we can also understand that everyone has certain things worth fighting for. We just don’t all have the same ones. Sure, some have a higher predisposition toward fighting, but every man can be a coward if he doesn’t believe in either the cause or his chances of winning, or at least saving face.

It’s too simplistic to view character through the polarized lens of black and white, of you have it or you don’t. Character is more nuanced. What is a person’s character telling him or her is the right thing to do? Amazingly, someone could be doing a thing that we feel is immoral, but is actually consistent with that person’s character and view of the world or situation, and not wrong.

Oh, but it is so hard for us to accept this, because we’re so programmed. And we have our own agenda.

 

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Foxhole Friends

foxhole

In a military context foxholes are known as a defensive fighting position. When resorting to foxholes the implication is that things are (about to get) tough. You need to be with people you can count on to make it through. People who serve in the military together under these circumstances often stay connected and share a special bond afterwords.

Lots of friends walk through most of our lives. They come and go, but a few special ones last. They may last in our hearts more than they actually do in terms of interactions, but given the perspective that time provides we can tell when they hold a special place. As I look back on my friendships it’s clear to me that the best ones were galvanized by enduring a struggle together. It wasn’t just some special compatibility (though that’s definitely a required ingredient) that caused the lasting bond to form. It was driven by a process that manufactured a need to look deeply within another person, and myself. Intimately. The deep stuff that you can’t get to easily by just hanging around together for a while. Conflict, drama, sadness, fun and joy slowly reveal parts that enable us to make those deep connections.

It’s a rare thing, because it takes more than just some similar tastes and doing a few things together to make it all really click. The best ones happen in spite of seeming incompatibilities on the surface. The stark relief of the differences we share fade into the background as the compelling synergies take over. The fabric of each life is enriched not by the similarities to the other, but by the differences.

The struggle is the catalyst providing the opportunity for that extra, hard to define dimension. This puts a little different spin on the saying, “That which doesn’t kill us makes us stronger.” It may be as much because of the teammates we earn as it is from any changes in our own fortitude.

Dedicated to Greg x 2, Marty, Doty, Kyle, John x 2, Steve, Chris x 2, Mike, Jim, Becky, Todd, Michele, Joanna, Danny, Daniel, Karen, Scott x 2, Theresa, Brian, Dana, Georgeann, Mitch, Adam, Rob, Liane, Max, Jon, Blake, and…Sonja. Good friends all (*). But there are a few on this list I shared a proverbial foxhole with, and those experiences along with their character made the depth of the relationship whole.
* Leaving numerous relatives out, as those involuntary relationships inherently had plenty of every imaginable ingredient upon which to form.

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