Character is tested when Character is tested.
When we become really good at something we tend to forget the way it was when we knew nothing of the something.
When we become really good at something, it is often very difficult to teach someone else of the something, when the someone else knows nothing of the something.
To teach someone of something new the teacher must remember the time when the knowledge was zero. I call this Going Back to Zero.
When someone is lost in life, it is because the someone has walked where they were not intended to walk. When standing in the unknown the one is in a desert with three hundred and sixty degrees of horizons that all look the same. Which direction does one go, when no direction is known?
You are your own teacher.
Going back to zero is where you stand at the point when your feet did not know the next step and you learn the step you were intended to take. But going back to zero means retracing the wrong path you once walked–reappraising the lesson..
The following is an excerpt from our forthcoming book An Engraved Mark: A Journey to Find Character. It is but one story. It is not a happy story. But for me it was a necessary story, for going back to zero.
I used to write short stories when I was a young man. Under my bed is a box that contains several of such short stories about events that I had experienced in my life. Unfortunately, however, many of my short stories were directly given to the subject who had inspired the story. Thus I do not have many of my stories. The stories were often written in a fiction style through the eyes of The Drifter, as I had always felt like I was only drifting through life. But some were just stories of something I remember.
One story was about a memory that I held in the darkness of my Memory Bag. The story essentially sums up what I have felt, for nearly all of my life.
I Just Want to Go Home
When I was around twelve, I went on a hunting trip with my best friend Gary and his father. We were way out in the prairie sage with three hundred and sixty degrees of endless horizons, covered in a blanket of white snow, looking barren and lifeless. Occasionally an eye of green sage would awaken below a glistening of ice, showing that there was more to this land than what could be seen.
Life was frozen here, and I could feel it in every fiber of my flesh. My ears burned with pain as the wind cursed its frigid scream. My fingers were paralyzed as if frozen to the bone. I could not even use one hand to help the other. I hated it here, and all I wanted to do was go home.
Gary’s dad could see that I was struggling because my hands would not function, and I could not load the 22-caliber bullets into the magazine of my rifle. He stopped us and huddled the three of us together. He took off my gloves and told me to put my hands in the pit of my arms. As he took my rifle and began to load the bullets, I did as he said. The pain in my hands, as they touched the warmth of my chest, was so great that my eyes began to tear. Gary looked at me crying, and I felt embarrassed and weak. After a short time, the pain in my hands diminished to an ache, and I could move my fingers again. I put on my gloves, and Gary’s dad handed me my rifle. We separated to about twenty paces from each other and began to walk back toward the place where we had left the truck. The elements had turned this day into a painful nightmare, and all I wanted to do was go home.
A shot broke the silent march, and I turned quickly to see a small dark mass streak across the blanket of white snow. I did not even think as I raised my rifle and fired. The small dark mass turned so quickly as if it knew when and where the bullet would strike. Gary’s dad fired, Gary fired, I fired. Each time the small dark mass turned and ran. We did not stop shooting. It did not stop running. With every round, we stepped closer and closer to the small dark mass.
Its turns were growing slower and slower until we were only a few feet from the small dark mass. The sight ripped the energy from the chaos and sank the event into guilt and despair. The small dark mass had not been dodging the hail of bullets, it had been reacting as the bullets pierced through its body. There was so much blood that if it were not for the long ears, one could not say that it was a rabbit.
With so much blood it was horrifying that it was still alive, still trying to get away. It stopped right in front of me. Its front left limb reaching out, shaking with fear, it looked right into my heart of self, and begged me, Why? What have I done? I only wanted to go home! What will happen to my family now? I only wanted to go home.
A powerful shot broke the silent plea as Gary’s dad put a bullet into the rabbit’s head. It took all I had to fight the tears, as my eyes were screaming against the realization of what I had done. But the earlier shame still haunted me, I dare not cry again in the witness of my friend and his father.
The day was done. Leaving the torn animal to the elements of life, we went home.
Where I grew up, hunting was a way of life. Killing an animal did not frighten me. Seeing the blood of a kill did not frighten me. But that small rabbit, fighting so desperately to live, so desperately to just go home; we killed it, we left it, and we, so easily, just went home.
That frightened me!
Our book is intended to help individuals walk in their own life, directed by their own character. I know that if you choose to want to walk in your own life, you are going to have to go back to zero.
Character is tested when Character is tested.
If you would be willing to help please visit our Indiegogo campaign at https://igg.me/at/AnEngravedMark.
If you have any questions feel free to visit our website at http://www.anoddbox.com or drop us a comment.
Ron and Mary