One reason it takes deep courage to act with moral integrity is because you have to give up control. Acting with moral integrity, making the best decision, choosing what is just, right, and good does not guarantee that the “good guy” will win.
If honor were profitable, everybody would be honorable.Thomas More
My dad coached my little league T-ball team. I was an athletic kid with a lot of energy and a drive to win. I played the prestigious position of pitcher on my t-ball team. I thought it was prestigious, but when it’s t-ball, the pitcher just gets the glory of standing on the mound. I also deemed it necessary that I play first base and second base and outfielder.
Though I have not recollection of this, I do not doubt it’s occurrence. My dad would tell the story for years to come, of yelling to me from the sidelines, as I would run down the hitter to tag them out with the ball in my glove rather than passing the ball to the first base player, telling me to let the other kids play to, that this was a team sport. Which I then yelled back to him, “You want us to win don’t you?” It was a community t-ball team which consisted of a group of girls who had no prior experience with t-ball. If I let them play to, we would surly loose, at least this was my thinking back then.
I was good baseball player for my age, and my unique playing style did not go unnoticed by others. There was an older team that was short a player and invited me to play with them even though I was not old enough to be on the team. I felt like I had made it to the major leagues. This was huge. I had been personally asked to play with the older girls.
My memory of the one and only game I played with the team is fuzzy. It’s like watching an old family home video that was damaged and only played partial scene leaving it up to your best guess as to what happened in the missing scenes. I was assigned to play third base, and I played the best I could wanting to impress. In my memory the game was in the final inning, the score was close, we were in the outfield. There was a runner approaching third base and heading home to which, if she was successful, would put their team in the lead. The ball came to me and I caught it but the runner was so focused on home plate that she didn’t notice me. It all happened so fast. But even as she hit home plate the umpire wasn’t sure if my foot was on the plate. I was the only one who knew. If it was the runner would be out and our team up at bat. If not, she was home safe and her team would have earned the point that would put them ahead. I knew my foot wasn’t on the plate, and I was painfully aware of the situation. I wanted to be a hero on this team, but I also wanted to be honest. I choose honesty, which meant our team lost. That was little leagues, but what about the moments when the stakes are higher?
What about those who spoke up in defense of those accused as witches in Salem? It didn’t save them. It was an act of moral integrity to speak up rather than stay quite. But speaking up also meant risking your life.
Often times we go about life much like the way I played on my t-ball team. We want everything to work out, we want good to prevail, the good guy to win, right to overcome wrong, there is nothing wrong with this desire. There was nothing wrong with my desire to play well and do my part to help our team achieve a win. The problem arose when I used poor behavior to control the win. Acting with moral integrity with a desire to ensure that justice prevails, means that we must also be willing to let go of the control to manipulate the victory of justice no matter the cost. You can’t promote justice though unjust actions.
*Allow me to be transparent about my writing and why I write. I write to push myself to articulate my thoughts. I write to make sense of my thoughts. I write to help myself work though ideas and to deepen my understanding and perspective. I write to help develop my ability to think critically. Sometimes I will review and edit and tweak and comb through an article that I’ve written. Sometimes I focus on developing my writing and looking for grammatical errors and revising what I’ve written and trying to make it “publication” worthy. And sometimes I write focusing more on articulating my thoughts and putting words to the ideas in my head. At those times I often do not read over and over and over what I’ve written knowing that there are some writing errors but still publishing in on my blog.
November 1, 2019
Time on this blog post: 30 minutes
Total time on this blog: 144 hours