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The Rejuvenating Power of the Unexpected
By writer, Daniel Barr

The unexpected rejuvenation. Originating from something else we did not expect. Deciding to see what this is about as opposed to refusing to act at all. Making the choice to see what is to be learned from what is in front of us at this moment. A personal story. This past Christmas, I received an intriguing gift from my husband: a gun-safety course in which we would learn to safely handle and fire various guns, which would lead to our licensing to carry guns in our state. Please bear in mind, I have nothing against guns, those that have them, and even my learning to use them as well. Nothing political. Nothing religious. No judgements. I just didn’t expect it. While winter has been cold, if not with the usual snowfall we generally experience, we decided to schedule the course at the beginning of March, hoping for good weather for the range part of what we would learn, and so waited for the day to arrive. And it did. The day began early and we began the classroom part of the course, learning the state laws on owning guns, licensure for carrying weapons, loading, maintenance, and—loved this—the myths floating around surrounding guns, be it legalistic, societal beliefs, or things we thought we knew, and of the truth in each case. After this we headed out to the range for the firing of the guns, with correction band coaching on how to do it safer and more accurately.

We all—the four of us in the class—arrived at the range, located on a family farm with the Litchfield hills just in the near distance, red-tailed hawks flying overhead, and were then familiarized with the layout and the rules of the range itself. Safety was the main point here. I learned that if people are not shooting safely, some person is at risk, or they are not handling weapons safely, EVERYONE there can act as a Range Master and call a halt to all firing by all present. And yes, we were also told that sometimes the Range Master will not like this, and will question your action. Interestingly, we were taught that if this happens, it’s better to pack your things and go elsewhere, as this violates the safety aspect of handling guns we were being taught. Then, one at a time, we worked with the instructor, taking turns with different weapons, getting advice on how to improve our shot, to RELAX, as tension does not help here, just as it does not with almost any sport, and pointers on what adjustments would give us more accurate shots. Personally, I found myself a bit tense—and intense, in my desire to learn—with pistols, and so need more practice, but found the .22 rifle much easier to handle, not to mention more accurate, in terms of hitting targets. Different weapons, different methods. Throughout the afternoon, between my own shooting, and watching the others and listening to the coaching everyone was getting, I began to relax and feel completely comfortable with what I was going, what I was learning, and felt the desire to continue doing this in the future.

Throughout the day, I felt refreshed and revived, learning something I didn’t know I would enjoy, but simply going along with the flow, and finding myself more and more intrigued by this heretofore unknown sport. Moving into the evening, still feeling fresh and revived from the day’s activity, I see there is still much to be learned in this particular world, but I am excited to see what else is out there to be learned, and to give me fresh thoughts and ideas, as I embark on the lessons of something else I didn’t know until I simply said, ‘Yes.’