I woke up today to silence. I had only slept two hours the night before last. At around 9:30AM gunshots began on the mountain in front of our property. They lasted until about 8PM. I spent most of my day on edge, ducking past windows, and my nerves horribly tested with each sound of the pistol or whatever the many apparatuses were used. By evening, when friends stopped by, I was ready to have a nervous breakdown. My right eye was twitching, hands shaking and my heart was having all sorts of palpitations. I don’t like guns. As a matter of fact, I am being kind with that statement. I hate weapons.
Violence goes through me in a way that reminds me of oppression, control, blood, anger, hatred, and any sort of emotion attached to death. I don’t like being in a house with guns, or having a conversation about them. I respect everyone’s choices. I understand there are collectors, admirers, hunters, law enforcers, etc. I am also aware that guns don’t shoot themselves. People are responsible. The power in a gun enlarges the egos of those holding it. I don’t know what it is about having the knowledge that you can kill someone to bring out control and emotional distortion of dominion.
So, imagine spending a day when all you hear is gunshots as if you were in a third world country or a war zone. Imagine the energy in my peaceful retreat center when guests wonder what is happening in the mountain. The ordinance in this part of the “country” allows for shooting until 11PM. With each shot in the air, I tried to compose myself until I couldn’t any longer. I became a raging lunatic towards the end. I was cursing, yelling, and practically on the verge of tears. An entire day of those bang-bang-bang-bang broke me down. It came and went in intervals of 10 – 15 minutes of quietness. I was not my happy self. I was someone trying to control the fear of violence in my past: a rape and years of physical/emotional abuse.
I thought about the wars in the Gulf, Middle East, Germany, and all over the world. I thought about the fear and sadness that must be carried over the people and their land. My heart sinks in sadness to think of all our military men and women whose lives have been casualties of war. I couldn’t help but think this morning about how one can survive that type of violence. I am so proud of each one of those who stand for this country with bravery and admiration. I don’t know how they do it. In the end, I don’t know if it has repaired anything in any country. Severity over serenity seem to not cure anything in these times.
I can’t blame the Good Ole Boys for wanting to drink up and have target practice. It’s a free space up there in “them mountains.” I can’t blame the hunters for gaming season and wanting some fresh meat. I am not responsible for world peace. I am only responsible for my surroundings. Unfortunately, when their shooting affects my business then I have a problem. I have an issue with the disruption of serenity on my side of the mountain. I also have to say that I am appalled that no one else in the area seemed to mind those gunshots at all. Are we so used to carrying anxiety, anguish, stress, and anger that we don’t hear bullets flying out of a gun for an entire day? I am to assume that these are also the types of people who have the news channel all day long on the highest possible volume.
We live in delicate times. People are walking around overly stressed, mentally exhausted, and emotionally depleted. Time seems to be accelerating and everything is in sensory overload. We can blame it on the economy, political times, religious absurdities, sexual indiscretions, mental disorders, or whatever else can be conjured up as an excuse so we don’t have to take responsibility for our own thoughts and behavior. We are all responsible for our own lives. Violence in any way (whether mental or physical) doesn’t solve the problems of the world. They add to the creation of fascism, dictatorship and world oppression.
May you find a place in your life to meet peace and pass it on to others around you. I continue to send thoughts and prayers for world peace in my meditations. Tranquility, serenity, a peaceful mind starts with YOU.
**note: As I was finishing this blog I received a call from a grandfather to rent out the cottage for 7 days. He just lost his grandson in the Marines. Listening to his heartfelt words about renting the place for his daughter to have some peace for a few days sent me to a place of grief and compassion. My heart goes out to the Moore and Carl families. Our deepest thoughts and prayers for the loss of your 22-year old Hero. May you find the strength in God to carry you all through these difficult times.