Gunfire is a common occurrence in Hollywood films, but it’s not something I had ever personally experienced before today when my grandpa took me to the shooting range. We all have images in our heads of our favorite actors looking like models as they point their guns at whoever or whatever is opposing them—people like Jennifer Lopez, Matt Damon, Sandra Bullock, George Clooney, Robert Downey Jr., and Harrison Ford. Even young, cute Chloe Grace Moretz has gotten a piece of gun action in a couple of her films.
So holding and using a gun must be really easy right?
I was really afraid to go shooting today, but I went anyway. It’s not what I thought it’d be like. The gun is heavier, louder, brighter, and more powerful than my gentle spirit was prepared for. When my grandfather (who is ex-navy and ex-army) was trying to help me shoot because I was too afraid to hold the gun on my own, he cut himself and started bleeding profusely, which, you can imagine, didn’t lessen my fear.
While my grandpa was cleaning up his gash and I was standing alone on the verge of tears (it was a lot of blood guys) the man at the counter started talking to me. I didn’t ask him any questions but he seemed to answer them anyway: Was I a total loser for being afraid to even be near a gun? Was I a complete failure for allowing my fear to get my grandfather hurt?
The man at the counter’s name was Ni. From what I can remember in my fragile state, Ni said he’d been training policemen, SWAT teams, and other law enforcement groups on how to shoot for over twenty years. At first Ni was shaking his head at us in disapproval, but then he realized I was shaken up and started to comfort me in his own way. Ni said three things that I’ll share with you:
1. If you come in here, you’ve never shot a gun before, and you’re not afraid, you’re not human.
2. Shooting is easy for me; I’m not afraid of using a gun, but I absolutely would not teach my son or anyone how to drive. I also will never jump out of an airplane because I’m afraid of heights. Guns I can do; planes and cars I cannot.
3. It’s okay to be afraid, but you come in and try it, and if you don’t like it you don’t come back. At least you tried.
I apologize if this is the lesson you learned when you were three and your mother told you to try zucchini and that if you didn’t like it, you didn’t have to eat it, but Ni was really cool and I want to recognize him. He realized that everyone is not like him and that everyone is not good at everything, and he reached out to me so that I didn’t have to feel like a failure even in failure.
Sometimes I think I need to be amazing at everything, but Ni knew the truth:
I can’t be perfect.
And that’s perfectly alright.
“But he said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.'”
–2 Corinthians 12:9
Who can you extend grace to today?
A link to Ni‘s shooting range: http://www.lpfr.com/home.html