Not having practiced in, like, forever, 30 minutes of the day off was given to doing up a session of double-taps “to the head”. Best was 1.51 seconds with a chambered Glock 19 from a serpa holster carried appendix. Even that was so much slower compared to back in the good old days when Walmart was still selling Federal FMJ brass target rounds for cheap (the only thing that works in my Glock 19 Gen 4). Way too many of the double-taps were over two seconds. Not practicing often means slowing down, at least for me. But catching up on edginess just a bit is always good. Catching up on accuracy just a bit is always good. The 7″ Styrofoam pie-plates were out 25 feet.
This session, unlike any other since first acquiring any gun for the first time in my life (still in my third year) the enormous benefit of distraction came into play. Worms were falling like tender snowflakes. Un-staged distractions help constitute the best way to practice. It’s the difference between being edgy with sterile indoor range conditions (and no one cares about that, especially the entitled criminal element) and something much more attuned to real life where distractions are always abundant (like bullets hitting you one after the other). For great distraction for a good practice session, try tent worms falling on your sights with no warning:
Practicing in this way provides the opportunity to learn to power through distraction and let adrenaline do it’s job by zeroing you in on the necessary at that moment.
If you haven’t noticed yet by this time in your life, we have a fallen human nature that suffers the effects of original sin chosen with the sin:
- Weakness of mind
- Weakness of will
- Emotions and feelings all the hell over the place not following reason any longer
It’s only justice that we suffer the effects of sin chosen with the sin. Jesus calls such distraction our cross which we are not to deny, not to suppress, not to escape, but which we are to recognize, pick up and carry, not battling these things so directly as if we were our own saviors, but rather, as Jesus said, following Him, concerned with Him, with Him being more important that any stupid weakness of our own. The more we really try to try really hard to battle our distractions, the more we really try to really try hard to be our own saviors, the more frustrated we are in the midst of our lack of strength to do any such battle: we fall into the distraction we are battling by paying attention to it instead of to Jesus, following Jesus.
Look, all the saints were trained up to be saints in the midst of ongoing weakness and distraction. We are weak and distracted in this life until we die. Jesus told us to carry our cross daily, meaning until we die, but not looking at the cross (we already know it’s there) but instead looking to Him, thanking Him that – wow! – He really had t0 reach far into this fallen world to grab us to bring us to heaven. Thank you Jesus. Seeing all my distraction all the time helps me to understand just how far you had to reach to get me. Thank you so very much for re-creating me as your friend, as you said.
To do all that mercy in justice, Jesus had to come among us, show us damned cynics His goodness and kindness and truth, baiting us to test all that to see if it was verifiable. He knew we would show Him our worst, tortured death, what we deserve ourselves. He took our place, the Innocent for the guilty, now having the right in His own justice to command His heavenly Father as He died, thus passing our cynical test: “Father, forgive them!”
- “But I am a worm, and no man; A reproach of men, and despised of the people.” (Psalm 22:6)
Actually, it’s not “worm”. In Hebrew this more precisely refers to “maggot.” Jesus cited this psalm on the Cross.
Here’s the deal, the saints were trained up with ongoing distraction in prayer and everything else by assenting in grace to grace grabbing their souls so that the greater love of God’s own love within us holds God as being more important than ourselves: the distraction is still there but who cares? That’s not what’s important. In fact, distraction helps us thank Jesus and walk with Him no matter the distraction.
This is a victory of the joy of the Holy Spirit in our souls. Yes. True joy of the Holy Spirit in the very midst of distraction. Yes. I love it. This is the victory of Jesus. He is risen from the dead, and working on our souls. He is truly risen.
Anecdote: I knew a guy who was overwhelmed with distraction and wanted some psych advice about this, and from the wrong crowd at the Gregorian University. I tried to dissuade him. Nope. He went, and came straight back, all the smarter as to why I wanted him to avoid them. They said that they would take away all his weakness, all his distraction, making him a fake automaton, mere Styrofoam. He exclaimed to them, immediately walking out: “No, that’s the only thing I have left, and you’re not going to take that away from me.” He was super wise, knowing that our our Lord uses our weakness to make us saints.
Saint Paul sums it up in his typical shorthand way of speaking and writing:
- “No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man. God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted beyond your strength, but with the temptation will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it.” (1 Corinthians 10:13)
Get it? Use the very temptation to instead bring you closer to Jesus, remaining, by grace, closer to Him than every before.
This is the difference being arrogant, coming up with our own escapist way of salvation – “Let me pretend to be super-balanced and let me congratulate myself!” – and being humble, submitting to the cross of the consequences of original sin, which our Lord commands us to do: “Take up your cross!” Who the hell are we to tell Jesus “Non serviam! I will not serve!”? That’s what Satan says. We are not to say that we have progressed in the spiritual life because we think we have successfully suppressed any trace of weakness so that we have fake-saved ourselves and don’t need Jesus. That only leads to an explosion of arrogance and cynicism.
Humbly submitting to our punishment by not caving to ongoing temptation but in the face of it assenting to the saving grace of Jesus is joy in the Holy Spirit. Much better, that.
Are you also a worm and no man, like Jesus? Takes a bit of humility, doesn’t it?
But then we are trained up in matters spiritual, never congratulating ourselves for saving ourselves, thanking Jesus instead, and seeing ever so much more incisively how far He had to reach to get us, which is all the m0re reason to thank Him humbly, walking with Him, right to heaven.
Be trained up in the midst of distraction, whether you are target practicing or growing by leaps and bounds in the spiritual life.
And for all nay-sayers out there, who congratulate themselves that they are in a mystical union with the Most Holy Trinity, and have absolutely no distraction whatsoever, that they actually have the beatific vision already (and there are many like that), remember good old Saint John of the Cross, who, responding to a question from a novice in the spiritual life – and this is my paraphrase, obviously – said that our fallen human brains will always be going a zillion miles an hour, but we are trained in the midst of that distraction to assent to paying attention to that which, to He whom is more important; the distraction continues, but the soul learns by grace to stay with Jesus, the God of gods, the Lord of lords, the Prince of the Most Profound Peace, even in the midst of our distraction, He who will come to judge the living and the dead and the world by fire. Amen.
P.S. And if all the good that carrying a Glock will get me is that I have been able to make an analogy for the spiritual life by using tent worms while target practicing, so be it. I’m good with that. Absolutely. :-)