Thank you, Dad. Thank you, veterans.
However, this is not necessarily a Veterans Day post.
Thinking of these men in particular has caused me to reflect on other men in my life that are so important to me, like my husband, father-in-law, brothers-in-law, nephew, leaders, friends. The presence of these men in my life is one of the riches in my treasure trove of ways I have been blessed. I wish in no way to diminish the honor due veterans of foreign wars on this day, but I think of these men - all of them - and I know them each as veterans of battles, whether in literal war or in life. The battles I've seen them fight and see them fighting, the evidence of their strength and their weakness, their resolve and their questioning, the dignity and the vulnerability, their tenderness and their tenacity; these things cannot be replaced or relegated to something less than the powerful commodities they are in my life and in the lives of anyone who knows them.
Maybe this is not necessarily a Veterans Day post, but a pro-man post. I think we could use one of those.
We need men. I need these men. I am so thankful for them.
I wrote this some time ago. Men in my life, I mean it for you.
Stories have always been told of men with great stature, who conquered fierce enemies and built glorious kingdoms. The greatness of these men was attributed to their large structure, numerous victories, and the vastness of their empires. But I have realized that though there may be grandeur found in both their physique and their fortune, something different determines whether a man truly stands in greatness: his heart. And it is not the simple existence of a heart, but rather the condition it is in.
Greatness in a man is found when searching his heart is at the core of every decision; searching, not following blindly. Greatness in a man is found when passion in his heart is behind every victory; passion, not vindication. Greatness in a man is found when the wisdom of his heart molds defeat into learning; wisdom, not mere knowledge. Greatness in a man is found when the hope in his heart presses through sorrows until it finds gladness; trading in the ashes for a crown of beauty. Greatness in a man is found when the love his heart holds cherishes relationships as wealth and not waste; leading with an open hand, not ruling with an iron fist.
Not many can profess that they have known any "great man". Some would say, "He is not grand. He has no magnitude, no trophies of war, no vast kingdom." But i know that all of the prominence a man can stand with, all of the battles he could win, and all of the wealth he could own mean nothing if his heart is cold.
There may be times when grandeur is found in both your physique and fortune. And there may likewise be times when neither is considered note-worthy. But there is something different that determines whether you truly stand in greatness; your heart. If this is the truest measure of a man, you stand the tallest. If your heart determines the battle, you will surely be a victor. If your heart is where fortune is found, you reign the wealthiest. And if I have but a portion of this heart, I stand in humbled awe.
Never question your greatness. I do not.