Do you remember the last time you betrayed someone or let someone down by not meeting your commitments? Was it missing or cancelling a lunch date? Was it telling a little white lie? Was it omitting part of the truth? Was it choosing something or someone different for the sake of variety? Was it staying silent when you were expected to voice allegiance? Was it making a promise you had no intention of keeping?
None of us are perfect; hence, none of us are perfectly loyal. This is a sad statement because it inherently means there is a part of us designed to let people (including ourselves) down. There are two ways to accept this reality of life. (1) We can accept it with apathy and go on with our lives with the approach that we will let people down and there is not much we can or want to do about our human nature. (2) Or we can accept our fickleness with a fierce aversion and determination to vanquish it as often as possible through ever-present vigilance.
Which mode of acceptance sounds easier? Which mode of acceptance means less work for ourselves? Which mode of acceptance implies service to and empathy for others? Which mode of acceptance drives us to excellence?
You do not have to wait very long in any given day to get a glimpse of how selfish and self-absorbed our society has become. You see it on the roads. You see it in the stores. You hear it on the radio. You watch it on every streaming device. We want tons of options. We want to customize everything. We want the latest technology. We want an easier more luxurious life. We want.
Loyalty is about giving to excellence and the greater good. Loyalty is about sharing oneself with your faith, family, and friends. Loyalty is about foregoing wants to serve when necessary and when able. Loyalty is about being helping your team or “tribe” or troupe be successful…especially when times get tough and rough.
Loyalty does not mean to give allegiance blindly. Loyalty does not mean to give beyond ones means. Loyalty does not mean making yourself available to others by sacrificing your duty to those dependent upon you at home.
The hardest thing about loyalty is discerning between selfish/self-absorbed time sinks and your personal availability to be present for others. It all comes down to our choices. What choices are you making? I can often tell a lot about a person based on where they spend their time. The brave and courageous are often separated from the apathetic and irresolute by a single decision to simply serve beyond themselves when available and answer the ever-present call to loyalty.
We are blessed with the daily opportunity to be better than we were the day before. It is simply a matter of personal choice. As Aristotle said: We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, therefore, is not an act, but a habit.