C: Honesty, we have talked about the importance of doing the right thing and learning from the reasons that we act as we do, but how do I know for sure which is the right thing to do when it is not always clear?
H: Can you give an example of a time when it was unclear what you should do about something?
C: Yes, I remember very clearly the time when I was deciding whether or not I should try joining the Navy. The recruiter gave me his phone number and I was thinking about it.
H: And what made you decide to do it?
C: Because there were no other job options available to me. I wasn’t thrilled about joining the military and it wasn’t planned out very well but since I had applied everywhere I could walk to and nobody would even interview me, I thought I could join the Navy, get some experience during that time, and then people from other jobs would be impressed with me because I was aware that people have an unhealthy respect for people in the military. I would be able to get future jobs if they knew me as the person who was in the Navy rather than just a person who was home-schooled and had no proof of education so people thought I was either too uneducated or stupid to work a job.
H: So you mean to say that had there been another job you were hired for, you would not have joined the military?
C: Yes, because I did not really want to do it and at the time I believed that it was part of God’s plan. You see I believed in God back then and prayed a lot about what I should do with my life.
H: And did you ever get an answer to your prayers?
C: No, I did not, but what I felt at the time was that even though God did not speak to me, perhaps meeting the Navy recruiter at IHOP was a sign that I was supposed to follow.
H: And what do you think about it now?
C: I think that I was a desperate soul who tried to do something with my life and I did not care what. I wanted to work some kind of job and do something with my life, but what I did when I joined the Navy was wrong.
H: Why do you think it was wrong for you to join the Navy?
C: Because I was not being honest with myself. Joining the military is not something that I would ever have done if I felt I had a choice in the matter because its purpose is to train soldiers to kill people in war. It was not the pro-life thing to do and I did it for the money and only as a stepping stone to a better job. Therefore I did wrong by sacrificing my ethics and on top of it, I was doing something that I didn’t want to do. It was neither good nor did it bring me happiness.
H: So you’re telling me that you see this as a time when you did something even though you knew it was wrong? What was it that made you so sure that it’s wrong? Who told you?
C: No one needed to tell me. I alone knew my situation and also my reasons. I do not believe that I joined the Navy for the right reasons and I’m not even sure if there is such a thing as a good reason to join an organization designed for killing. I might as well have worked for the National Rifle Association, Planned Parenthood, or a factory farm.
H: Chastity, I am very glad you brought this up. I think it tells a lot about your honesty because not too many people admit it when they have done wrong. But I look at your situation differently than you do. I don’t see it as wrong because wrong implies that there is actually a right thing to do instead. So tell me, what should you have done back then?
C: I really don’t know. The alternative would be giving up and never trying to work a job. I was out of options and had lost all the fight left in me because I had no confidence in myself enough to believe I could live as an independent adult and work a job and earn my own money. If I didn’t believe it, how could I convince someone else? But what about you Honesty? What do YOU think I should have done?
H: I think that you did what you needed to do at the time. You volunteered at church trying to serve others. You did your best to take care of your mom, and you were a person who wanted to serve others and to work a job and have your own money and pursue your happiness. There is nothing wrong with that.
C: Yes, but are you saying joining the Navy was the right thing for me to do?
H: No, but it could have been no other way. You would have gone for the first job that gave you a chance. it just happened to be the Navy recruiter who talked you into joining the Navy. Sure the military may be wrong, but in this case you did the right thing, not because of what you did but because you did not give up and tried to make something of your life. Most people never even do that. I have confidence that you would have found something else even if it had not been the Navy. I’m very sad that it turned out the way it did but I think you are brave and I’m proud of you.
C: So even though I did the wrong thing, I did the right thing because I took a risk and tried something that had the tiniest chance to lead to a better future.
H: Yes, and trust me, there will be other times when you will have to make decisions that are less than good. Though the military exists for evil, but you will use what you learned during that time for good. You learned that the Navy was not your path, but you will find your path soon.