The start of a new year does not give a lot of opportunities for pondering, with induction briefs, getting to know new people and all those other things that have to be done, the military adds extras like annual weapons test and range shoots. A stark reminder to me of a few things that apply to life in general, a great parable:
- Basic Training! If you are going to be trusted with a lethal weapon you need to be able to prove that you can handle it safely. This is your life, it is not a dress erhersal, therefore you need to carefully listen and learn about the weapons you hold in your hand. You need to learn what is right and what is wrong, not just for a day on the range but for life in general. Don’t allow a safety breach to ruin your future.
- Zero the Weapon! We are all different, we all use the same procedures but we also need to fine tune them so they fit us. We do not all have the same abilities or experiences but with help we can learn to adjust what we have been given to maximise our potential. Don’t be too eager to rush in without this crucial step. This year take your time to adjust and get the feel for what life is all about.
- Aim at the Right Target! Seems pretty obvious but be sure you know what you are trying to hit. The target will not always be at the same distance, your stance will change and somtimes your decisions will be time critical – just like life. Concentrate, focus and don’t get distracted by things that are not your concern, and follow the directions.
- Be Prepared for Problems! Stoppages and malfunctions will occur, know your drills for handling them and keep your cool. Life too will throw you some unexpected challenges, but if you have learnt well your basic training, zeroed the weapon and are clear and confident about what you are aiming for you will cope with these minor interruptions.
This year there may be times when you need help, remember all you have to do is ask, not just on the range but in the rest of life as well. The key is to ask the right people. The range supervisor probably does not want to hear about your personal problems, but the Padre would!
Remember, The Good Book says:
Give your entire attention to what God is doing right now,
and don’t get worked up about what may or may not happen tomorrow.
God will help you deal with whatever hard things come up when the time comes.
Matthew 6:33-34 The Message.
Chaplain Ian S Whitley.