I’ll admit it. I’m a cynic. So it turns out that the thing that delights me is often that which just surprises me, the thing that catches me off guard and upsets my equilibrium. When you’re pretty sure you’ve got the world figured out, you fall in love with what you never saw coming. Prepared for mediocre, you got magnificent. And in spite of yourself, you’re left scratching your head saying, ‘wowie.’

As I took the 9mm into my small hands I can’t say I wasn’t terrified. Everyone wants to pick up that gun and act like they know what they’re doing—just like in the movies. This was nothing like that. I raised the gun, closed one eye, and aimed at the target. I positioned my finger around the trigger. I stood there. My hand was starting to shake. Everything was shaking—the gun, the target, the world. My heart was beating faster. I set the gun down and looked over at my friend and closest thing to a gun expert that I have in my circle. “I’m scared,” I said. “That’s okay,” he answered. “Just take your time.”

I didn’t think time was really going to help. It was time to, as they say, ‘pull the trigger.’ I took a deep breath, picked up the gun again, and rolled back my shoulders. I stood there a little more. It felt like hours. I took more deep breaths. I pulled back hesitatingly on the trigger, go, go, GO. I fired. The gun kicked up, as the universe exploded in my hands, the shell popped out the side and I stood there semi-paralyzed. Trauma.

Suddenly I was six years old, afraid of everything from house fires to spiders to down escalators. As a child, I cowered when I was afraid—and I was afraid a lot. Now that I am an adult, its called anxiety, but it’s not all that different. This was anxiety on speed. However, I am learning that it is possible to be terrified and to do what terrifies you…at the same time. It’s called ‘my daily life.’

I fired the gun again, and again, and again, my body undergoing mini trauma after mini trauma as my index finger created each explosion. The adrenaline flooded my nervous system over and over. But despite the shakes and the sweating, I got two bullets in the center circle and quite a few that weren’t too far off. I sort of wanted to take my target home, but I thought that might be a little strange.

For me, the delight came from the gun—such a small object, and yet it creates this explosion that ignites every nerve and sense in my body, almost to the point of meltdown. It overtakes me and rearranges me. That doesn’t happen everyday (thank God). And after we’d shot through a good number of bullets, we decided we’d had our fill. By that time, of course, my nerves were raw. But utterly unglued as I was that afternoon, I can’t say that I wasn’t also quite unexpectedly delighted.


5 thoughts on “9mm.

  1. I never expected this post- is this part of your preparation for missionary work on the border? Or just a self-defense class your dad is making you take?

    • Not exactly either, really. I just started to realize I was thirty years old and had no concept of how a gun worked. Kind of my same motivation for trying my hand at gardening. Perspective changes a lot from the first hand experience.

  2. I’m glad you and our resident gun expert finally got to go. I’m sure it was a very enlightening experience. I had never really thought about it from the perspective of knowing first hand the power of a gun as J. explained it last time we discussed this. I just always thought to avoid them at all costs. I’m glad for a new perspective.

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