(Fort King George, Darien Georgia)
“One with outward courage dares to die; one with inward courage dares to live.” - Lao Tzu
“The fear of death follows from the fear of life. One who lives fully is prepared to die at any time.” - Mark Twain
Upon finding out that I live on the road, folks sometimes as: “So, what are you packing?” a question that assumes I carry a gun along with me.
The whole notion of carrying a gun while working to live in God’s will is rather profane to me. On the one hand I say that I am trusting the guidance I get from God, but then I turn around and say: “Well, God, I trust you a lot but just in case you fall asleep on the job I am going to trust this little mechanism that propels high speed projectiles.” And what of my willingness to ask God where I should park and sleep, who I should talk to – why should I worry about asking God what I should do next when I have a Colt 45? I can handle my business just fine – and I bet if I had a 357 Magnum I could handle it even better.
A recent occurrence in my hometown has made me reflect on this decision a bit. It seems that a fellow walked into a church there, and after being welcomed and attending a prayer meeting, he pulled out a gun and killed nine folks.
I have read articles since stating that many churches are now enlisting law enforcement types to carry concealed weapons while they pose as ushers.
The question seems apparent – if those folks were seeking God’s will – seeking to connect with God in a place they consider their sanctuary and got killed, what is to stop the same from happening to me? After all, the road is my sanctuary and I assume that killings in the public domain are a lot more common than folks being slaughtered in church.
But once I allow fear to come into my heart and question my trust in God, where does it stop? I left two years ago on this journey with a 100,000 mile van and less than $200. I really should have lots of money and a new van. Or motorhome. That would be safer. Or stay in hotels. Asking questions in towns where no one knows me is pretty dangerous. Perhaps I should only go where I am invited. In fact, why embark at all? I might as well just curl up in the safety of some domicile I deem appropriately “safe.” In fact, I had better just pull the curtains shut and watch some Faux News program so that I don’t run into any psychopaths like the guy that shot those folks. My gun will protect me and I can experience life through the boob tube.
I don’t know what my path in this life is supposed to be – it unfolds daily. How could I possibly be so vulgar as to assume that the folks in that church didn’t follow exactly the path they were supposed to? For me, the road is my chapel, it is my sanctuary, it is where God speaks to me and where I am willing to be vulnerable enough to listen.
One thing seems certain – this life thing is a terminal condition; I am going to die. Who am I to say I know what the best circumstances are for me to die under? And even if I could know the cause, the day and the hour of my inevitable demise, why would I want to know that? That would be an incredible burden to carry.
No I won’t be getting a gun. Besides, even if I did and thought I needed to use it, I would probably just get all nervous and shoot myself in the foot.
Today, may I accept life on life’s terms.