Have you ever had a 130 year old killing machine in your hands with a stupid smile on your face even if you had no clue what you were doing?
Maybe, if you’re an uneducated thug or a trigger happy redneck!
… and then there’s me! 🙂
Last Sunday, the sweetest old man ever put a 1884 Springfield Cadet Riffle in my hands with a 45-70 bullet in it.
Anxiety monster took over and I thought I might black out or throw the historical killing device on the ground and run to my car screaming like a sugar loaded 4 year-old.
Now, I did put myself in that situation…kinda.
I was at a shooting range. But not for me!
This sweetest old man, Mike, the owner of the shooting range, decided for me, right before I left, that I would shoot for the first time in my life, right there, right then!
I put my foot down and said ‘no,” and “really, I mean it! No!”, but he waved me off like I was a child who didn’t know what’s good for her.
He went to grab the riffle and I was soooo close at running to the car and locking myself in it. Too bad I didn’t have my own car there or I would have driven off leaving a big dust cloud behind me.
I felt trapped and my face went into the “I hate you for making me do this” position!
Mike wouldn’t have it! Didn’t pay attention to my “face” at all. I felt like a child throwing a tantrum in front of a very patient parent.
To no avail!
He smiled kindly, promised me I wouldn’t get hurt and set me down at the shooting station.
He wrapped my arms in a strange hugging stance around the riffle’s bed and walked me through the entire process with angel patience.
I was using both my eyes to look at the target – wrong!
I put the bed of the riffle up in the air! Wrong! Apparently it goes against your shoulder.
I was looking at the target over the riffle! Wrong! He asked me to lay my cheek against the riffle.
I asked which finger to use on the trigger and how to pull it (hard, soft, backwards, back and down…).
The trigger — man — the trigger – it freaked me out. Touching it made me want to quit the entire thing altogether.
Even now, thinking about it, brings back the FEAR that I felt only acknowledging that I have to touch that part of the riffle.
I was afraid of the power, I was afraid of the consequences of a gun in general, I was afraid of the recoil, I was afraid of having it explode in my face, I was afraid of letting go of my “no gun is good” belief, I was afraid at the memory of a friend showing me her husband’s pistol and me choking at the sight of it, I was afraid of who I was going to be if I did it and pulled the trigger and moved pass all of these fears …
No one would have ever had the power to make me shoot a gun, except this sweet old man, dressed like a cowboy, with hearing aids in both his ears and his perfect curled up mustache.
He would have made an angel shoot his 1884 Springfield riffle, then tell him the history behind it for as long as he were willing to listen 🙂
So, I shot a riffle. I was scared shitless. I was not able to hide my fear, according to Mike, and I AM a pro at hiding my feelings!
I was literally disarmed and figuratively armed with a conquered fear by this sweet old man!
How’s my anxiety around shooting guns now? Well, all I can say is: Don’t try to “surprise!” me in the middle of the night!
Take away: It takes a persistent angel to get us over our anxieties that have deep roots into our fears, especially in such a short amount of time. The rest of the time, we have to work at it! 🙂 but it’s always doable!