The Right Thing is a Repost from the summer of 2011. I’d forgotten all about it till my dear friend Hazel reminded me of it. Thanks, Hazel.

“Go ahead, Bobby… Do it! Hurry up he’s suffering… SHOOT!!!” He urged his little brother. The little brother stood there with their grandpa’s shotgun in his shaking hands, the barrels with a dead bead on the villain; the hole diggin’ ground hog.

The groundhog was wounded in the trap, but not dead yet. “I can’t do it,” Bobby finally said with a hint of water in his eyes. He pushed the gun into his big brother’s arms.

“That’s okay, I’ll do it,” Dean pointed toward the suffering rodent and squeezed the trigger. “Well, he’s done diggin’ holes in the cow’s pasture I guess,” Dean mumbled.

the right thing


As they walked back to the house to show their grandpa the cattle leg breaking villain, a somber older brother asked his little brother, who had volunteered for the job of executioner, why he didn’t pull the trigger.

“I just couldn’t,” Bobby explained, ”He was lookin’ at me with those eyes and I just couldn’t kill em’.”

Dean chose that setting to offer his little brother, 2 1/2 years his junior, a life lesson he was still learning himself as little more than a child. “Sometimes it’s not easy to do the right thing. Hard to know what’s right,” he said.

Bobby just nodded with a straight ahead sullen face. The laughing, joking, and planning about how he was going to be the trigger man to that cow killing varmint were completely done.

There was no joy in killing. It was only for necessity and as a last resort. Fighting had the same ground rules in our household as kids, but that rule was broken more than once.

The discipline of principles and character while difficult, define a person. The opposite of the principled person is the one who allows strictly emotions to guide their life. How we feel about certain issues should not always determine the decisions we make. The principles that guide our life should be the determining factors of a decision and action.

We see a society now that bases all their decisions on how they “feel,” without the foundation of principles as defined from a Biblical perspective. We have a society of soft individuals wishing to live in peace and harmony… A great idea within the confines of human nature, an impossibility in a fallen world.

I can’t remember seeing my oldest brother Dean over the last fifteen years more than 3 or 4 times without his dog Teddy, whom he called Ted. When Teddy was at the end of his life and the cancer had all but finished him, Dean had a decision to make. Would he take Ted to a hospital, which was the only thing that heeler feared, or would he take one more trip to the desert?

I’d love to be able to say that Dean took Ted for one more ride to their desert retreat. That he sniffed the creosote bush against a clean, clear, dry desert night air. I’d like to think Dean would let the dust settle after pulling to a stop. He would look over at his old faithful companion with sorrow only known to a man and a dog that spent virtually every waking hour together over a decade and a half.

Dean would get out of the truck and go to the passenger seat where his best friend usually rode.

“C-mon Ted!” I can hear him say. He’d pet Ted one more time…

“Good boy Ted,” he’d whisper one more time… As he was patting Ted’s side, I can picture Dean reach into his back pocket, take out his pistol with Ted looking out at the desert night air and end his suffering.

If my brother would have been on his farm in Texas, that’s how it would have gone down. Or if Ted could have walked… My brother told me it was harder to have Ted in his lap with his arms holding his old friend while sitting in their pickup truck, as the doctor gave Ted a shot…

I can almost hear my big brother say, “Sometimes it’s hard to do the right thing… Hard to know what’s right”…

I knew my brother would do the hardest thing…

That’s almost always the right answer…