An icon for years of what patriotism, service, loyalty and sacrifice look like.
Someone who selflessly gives of himself, not for fame, not for money, not for awards.
He does what he does simply because if not him, then who?
I get that. I get that so very well. I have spent a lot of years giving of myself to other people, serving in one capacity or another to help someone become better, giving hours on end to be a listening ear, or to give advice, or just to be a someone to do something that needed to be done.
IF not me, then who?
And then… that one blow comes. The feeling of being taken advantage of, being expected to do something because it’s something I enjoy, or being required to give the blessing I would normally give.
It knocks me right off my feet, sending my shield skittering across the floor, just out of reach, leaving me dazed and confused. Pain and frustration quickly setting in. Hurt spreading across my whole body, anxiety yelling at me that I am not good enough, depression telling me what does it all matter for anyway.
It would be so much easier to stay down, to quit, to just give up. It’s not like what I do matter’s, right? Someone else will step up and stand in my place, right? Someone else will take over for me and take up this battle, right?
And then it kicks in. My internal Steve Roger’s* starts screaming at me:
IF not me, then WHO?
So, I struggle back to my feet, take up my shield, clear my head, grit my teeth and lean in, ready for the next attack that will surely take me off my feet and end this fight.
IF not ME, then WHO?
I brace and push forward. Each step is a struggle. Each step taking more from me then I think I have to give. Each step leaving me amazed that I have gotten this far. Each step tearing me up inside as I mark every small victory.
IF NOT ME, then WHO?
I will fight this fight, not for awards, not for accolades, not for my fame or my fortune. I will fight this fight, because someone fought it for me, someone stood between me and the oncoming storm and bore the brunt of the battle. I will take the next step.