Mike, Temptation Comes Sweetly

Be mindful that temptation doesn’t undermine your priorities.

The Good Men Project
May 10 · 5 min read
Photo credit: iStock

By Christian Mosemann

There’s a voice deep within you; ignore it at your peril.

Safety allows Love.

Fate, uninvited, intervened in the well proportioned guise of Amy, the USAF recruiter. She smiled showing her glossy white teeth, tossed her beautiful auburn hair, and told Mike how pleased she was to meet him. Could she have a just few minutes of his time?

Mike declined, knowing his fiancée, Marie, had already said “No” to a military life. But Amy laid out a beautiful pamphlet of a fighter cutting through a blue sky. She noted his interest, knowing Mike reportedly loved flying and racing. Perhaps he loved adventure and competition? It’s a perfect fit for an air force pilot. She tried again.

Amy helped Mike visualize thundering through the sky in the fastest fighter in the world and suddenly everything else vanished: Marie, kids, and his family. The recruiter simply provided a pen and the needed paper and Mike was in — -the USAF.

Mike thanked Amy, got into his dad’s Corvette, and drove to Starbucks. He bought a grande espresso to celebrate and called his flying buddy Dave. They talked about how great it would be to fly a fighter and again Mike visualized flying faster than the speed of sound. It was exhilarating.

But then Dave mentioned Marie and suddenly the fighter was diving toward the ground. He didn’t want to crash but it was inevitable. Mike felt a cold, cold sweat break out as his heart skipped a beat. He felt himself hyperventilating and dropped the phone. He’d loved Marie all of his life and he couldn’t lose her. He had already lost his mom and dad. And Uncle Bruce was counting on his help with the family agricultural business.

Marie was expecting him to call but he felt paralyzed. He went back to Starbucks for a double shot of espresso. He wanted to drink but he couldn’t; he had to think. What could he do?

He had had signed the enlistment papers. He could see Marie’s eyes. He could hear Aunt Sarah: “The boy just rushes ahead without thinking; just like his dad. Plunges right in and doesn’t think.” Mike took a deep breath and called Uncle Marty who understood him and his dad. All were “Let’s see what happens if …..” men. Uncle Marty understood temptation and its aftermath.

Marty answered Mike’s call, listened for a minute and asked, “What have you done?”

Mike told him.

“You said, ‘No?” Uncle Marty asked.

“Well,” said Mike, “I said ‘No,’ but then Amy smiled and slid a beautiful photo of a fighter cutting through the sky.

“She asked, ‘Could you fly it?’ I said, ‘Yes.’

“Amy smiled in agreement, gave me a pen, and put her finger by the signature line. That was it,” said Mike.

“And,” said Uncle Marty, “You were in the air screaming through the sky.”

“Yes,” Mike replied.

“When did you come down to earth?” asked Uncle Marty.

“When Dave mentioned Marie,” Mike said. “I know Marie will be furious. Uncle Bruce will throw up his hands and say, ‘Just like his father.’ And, then, he’ll say, ‘But, you weren’t thinking were you?’

“Of course, that is pretty much the truth,” admitted Mike.

“Well, Mike, you can withdraw your enlistment,” said Uncle Marty. “But, was the enlistment just an impulsive response? Do you really want to be in the air force?”

“No,” Mike said, “I love Marie and I want her to be happy with what we do.”

“Okay,” said Uncle Marty. “Then see the recruiter and get the necessary forms signed releasing you from the USAF. Perhaps you should do this with a male recruiter and do it immediately.”

“Good idea,” said Mike.

Mike, Marie, and the rest are fictional characters. The urge to forget commitments and run after something attractive is part of human nature. But, it’s an urge that must both be understood and resisted.

Here are some things to consider:

What do you want most? Take some time alone and give it some thought. Mike’s #1 priority is to be with Marie. The rest of his life will rotate around her and their families. What’s most important to you?

Accept trade-offs as a necessary part of life. You can’t have two #1 priorities

Honor commitments if you want to be trusted. Dependable people connect with dependable people; you need dependable people. Mike has honorable people in his life and wants to keep them there.

Be respectful as you exercise personal freedom. Others can exercise their freedom too. Marie can rethink her commitment to Mike; so can his Uncle Bruce.

Talk to a mature, trustworthy person when you’re in trouble. Mike turned to Uncle Marty who had been helpful earlier.

Be proactive. Mike immediately wrote a letter to the air force asking to withdraw his enlistment papers.

You’re human so you can count on doing something regrettable. Suffering reminds you to not repeat destructive behavior. Accept it.

Accept responsibility for the consequences of your action and make amends where possible. Learn from your mistakes and you’ll be appreciated, trusted, and loved.

Licensed clinical social worker. Board certified diplomate in clinical social work. Psychotherapist in practice on the Virginia Peninsula since 1973. Currently in practice with Chessen and Associates. Married since 1967. Two married children. Four grandchildren. Active member of h church since 1970. Hobbies: photography, horticulture, reading, and television — comedy, documentaries, and novelists similar to Agatha Christie.

The Good Men Project gives people the insights, tools, and skills to survive, prosper and thrive in today’s changing world. A world that is changing faster than most people can keep up with that change. A world where jobs are changing, gender roles are changing, and stereotypes are being upended. A world that is growing more diverse and inclusive. A world where working towards equality will become a core competence. We’ve built a community of millions of people from around the globe who believe in this path forward. Thanks for joining The Good Men Project.

Change Becomes You

Life advice that will (actually) change your life.

The Good Men Project

Written by

We're having a conversation about the changing roles of men in the 21st century. Main site is https://goodmenproject.com Email us info@goodmenproject.com

Change Becomes You

Life advice that will (actually) change your life. Curated stories from The Good Men Project.

The Good Men Project

Written by

We're having a conversation about the changing roles of men in the 21st century. Main site is https://goodmenproject.com Email us info@goodmenproject.com

Change Becomes You

Life advice that will (actually) change your life. Curated stories from The Good Men Project.

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