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Duty: It’s Not Just a Calling for a Select Few

A friend’s son-in-law has been assigned a temporary “duty” of informing the widow (and family) when her military husband dies.

It’s not a permanent assignment but I can imagine it feels like one. How does one prepare oneself to offer a few of the hardest words imaginable to another human being?

I’m not quite sure you can prepare. Some situations you simply step into and start moving.

Looked at another way, this man has been entrusted with a great honor. Knowing his character, it doesn’t surprise me that he was selected for the task.

Still, doing one’s duty (whether to our country overseas or right here at home) requires sacrifice.

I’ve been contemplating what it means to do one’s duty ever since I heard about this challenging assignment and it reminded me of the movie The Queen that came out a few years’ back.

After watching this film what struck me over and over was the personal sacrifice Queen Elizabeth II made for her country. She was criticized for being heartless yet when you looked at her life and her choices, she was anything but cold-hearted. She simply knew her duty and carried it out (without a lot of overt emotional display.)

I think we give far too much weight to feelings as they pertain to getting a job done. Whether it’s a parenting, personal, or a professional scenario, sometimes emotions hinder progress rather than help.

I admire people who can keep a cool head in a heated situation. I aim for that objective and believe it’s frequently unfair and unproductive to judge a person’s intent (and how much they care) by how much emotion they display.

Doing one’s duty and doing it well, might best served by setting aside how we feel in order to faithfully get the job done. If that means sacrificing the expression of our emotions, then so be it.

Isn’t sacrifice inherent in the truest definition of duty anyway?


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