This weekend, I went with a good friend to the great outdoors, and we searched the woods for wild hogs that have run rampant in the forested regions of our little state of South Carolina. As we trudged through the woods, and he helped me become somewhat familiar with the lay of the land that he often hunts throughout the year, an ironic thought occurred to me.
As I carried a rifle much like the one pictured above, I tried to walk with slow and controlled steps through the undergrowth and leaves, and I remained silent as my friend and I both listened out for any signs of hogs moving, or any other animals close by, so that I could learn to differentiate some of the sounds. The tranquility jumped out at me. It was something I wasn't used to. Even when I have gone hiking, I haven't quite escaped far enough away from other people to realize just how noisy we have made the world. In the quiet hours of reverie, my friend, Devin, and I heard nothing but frogs, birds of many kinds, wind whispering through the treetops, the jibber-jabber of mother blue herons, and the occasional whisper from my buddy or me. And yet, the hot topic in the news right now; firearms that can fire projectiles fast enough to go through school walls, was held by each of us. But those firearms were in the control of hands of moral men. The chance of those dangerous tools, those weapons, being used by us to harm someone else, were virtually nil. And one of the very reasons for our little escapade into the hunting property in the woods of South Carolina, was to get away from the chaos and disruptions of the media and society.
We even fired those weapons to test our accuracy a bit, once we saw everything but wild hogs. We enjoyed ourselves and smiled and laughed a lot as we ranted a little about the chaos outside those woods... but our weapons miraculously harmed nobody but paper and wood. All the chaos in the world would be used by media to misinform society that people like my friend and me - we were just rightwing killers and bigots who shouldn't be trusted with firearms. Of course, then they would discover that we are law enforcement and former law enforcement, and only change their tune slightly. Add to that the fact that God and Jesus and church were the topic of some of our conversation whispered as we walked, and that would surely put us on some watch list!
But I digress; the whole purpose of this post is to tell you or anyone else that we need to all take the time to get away. Unplug; get away from the madness; don't watch the TV every second. Enjoy time with your closest loved ones and friends. Get out of the hubbub of city life and traffic, find a way to at least go hiking or walking on a beach with no condos in sight. See if you can find a place where you can't hear cars rolling, horns honking, sirens waling, or people yelling. Get away from it all, and pause for as long as you can manage, to listen to God's creation. For years I wondered why some friends like my buddy Devin liked hunting so much. Going out there with him, exploring the forest, finding signs that hogs and other animals had been where we were, and listening to the natural sounds that God gifted to the world just through His creation - it all made sense to me.
Sure, there was a practical cause, to put meat on the table and be able to practice such skills for perhaps chaotic times in the future. Sure, there was the thrill of hunting an elusive animal that could possibly maim you if ever cornered by it. Sure, there was the fun an avid gun fan could have by shooting guns and feeling the explosive force in your hands, shoving you in your shoulder. But in the end, I knew, both from hearing my friend Devin talk about his usual hunts, and experiencing it for myself. Most of the people that tote these dangerous instruments of firepower in America, just go out there to escape the chaos of the world.