My wife, son and oldest daughter are in the midst of taking their firearms safety course. I have discovered that my wife is a natural shooter and a regular Annie Oaklie with a firearm! She puts me to shame…along with many other local sharp shooters…she is good! Really good!...Who knew?
After years of hunting, I still remember some of the first words of wisdom my dad shared with me in regards to becoming a successful hunter, “Make the first shot count.”
Last year, I blew it. I could have heeded to his words a little more closely. That wasn’t the first time. I didn’t get a shot at a deer until my second year of hunting. As I was struggling to stay awake and break apart the boredom of the afternoon, I was suddenly surprised by a nice doe, not 40 yards away. Quickly, I raised my 30-30 Stevens bolt action…aimed down the iron sights of the barrel and fired at the center of the brown mass…I missed.
My next opportunity wouldn’t come until the following year. I could hear the deer coming…walking along the trail…crunch…crunch…cra-crunch…crunch…crunch…cra-crunch. When I see it, I can tell, it has been wounded and is moving slow…real slow…and limping hard. Again, I raise the rifle…aim down the barrel…ca-blam!...I missed…again.
This pattern continued until I was 17 years old. This time, I was determined to make it count. On opening morning, I got my opportunity…this time, when the deer presented itself…I took aim…and fired…blam!...I missed. BUT!!! The deer didn’t run!...again I fired!!!...missed. The deer still didn’t run. I fired again!...MISSED!!! This time the deer finally moved…but not quickly…I fired one more time…and this time he ran…but he was staggering…I hit him! I made contact! I tried to fire one more time…click…out of bullets! I quickly opened up the chamber…inserted a single round…pulled up and fired one final round…at last…down he went. The streak was over.
I have come to realize that time is like a bullet. Once it has been fired, you can never call it back or get a second “first shot.”
I could not begin to count the hours of my life that I have wasted. Time…wasted doing unimportant things…like counting flowers on a wall…that don’t bother me at all…or playing solitaire ‘til dawn with a deck of 51…thank you Statler Brothers for that fine metaphor.
I don’t think anyone can argue that life is busy. It’s crazy really. We have so many things to do…people to meet with, rooms to paint, traveling to visit family, projects to complete, grass to mow, homeschooling the children, children to birth, children to raise, children to discipline, athletic events to attend to, decks to stain, tables to refinish…and this doesn’t include eating and showering…(that is one multi-task that I have not mastered…I think they need to start making bread to be like Captain Crunch…where it doesn’t get soggy in the shower).
There is a parable that Jesus shares in the Gospel of Matthew. It’s about these 10 bridesmaids, who are waiting for the bridegroom (Jesus). Half of these bridesmaids are wise…and half are foolish. The foolish ones do not take the time to do what is important… prepare for the arrival of the bridegroom, (Jesus).
With all of the busyness of life…there is one task that is far more important than ALL others…and that is the preparation of ourselves for the return of the bridegroom…Jesus.
If we are not ready for that…then there will be no second “first shot.”