An invigorating walk, being towed by a hundred pound Plott Hound and Catahoula mix hound, is part of every morning for me. It is a chance to get much-needed exercise and it serves to clear my jumbled mind before sitting down to the keyboard. It is a time of quiet introspection and an opportunity to enjoy my favorite activity; observing the fascinating world around me!
Xena, the aforementioned enthusiastic dog, has several regular routes that she likes to follow on our excursions. One takes us down an undeveloped path that runs along some long-ago abandoned railroad tracks. In the urban setting, it is a nice reminder of what this part of Colorado looked like before the advent of asphalt!
On our way back, we pass an old SUV that has seen better days! It was originally painted in the butterscotch and white two-tone look that was so popular in the early seventies. The area around the wheel wells is yielding to the advancement of rust. I imagine that when it was new, the owner was glad to brag that it got twelve miles to the gallon in town. Of course, that was at a time when gas prices at the pump were lower than milk prices at the grocery store, at least in terms of cost per gallon!
Faded from years of sun exposure, a bumper sticker has been placed across the bottom middle of the back windshield. It simply reads, “Once You Pull the Pin from Mr. Grenade, He is No Longer Your Friend!” These words always manage to elicit a smile from me. For a long time I simply surmised that the owner of the SUV was a military veteran. Perhaps he was making reference to his service as a soldier in some faraway land! Maybe I was dealing with some type of survivalist who simply wanted to assure that nobody messed with his automotive relic! Maybe the truck just came with the sticker already affixed!
This morning, I found myself illuminated with new meaning; drawn from that scrap of adhesive-laden paper on the glass! A grenade is a horrific invention in the world of warfare. For over a century it has served to rip flesh away from the bones of any poor soul who encounters it! Thousands have died excruciating deaths from its effects, and tens of thousands have been forever maimed by its shrapnel! I am all in favor of nations defending themselves against aggression, but at heart I am a pacifist! The very thought of one human being killing another human being, all in the name of nationalism, ethnicity, or religion, bothers me incessantly. Doing so in a barbaric manner, such as the hand grenade, is even more repulsive!
Each of us carries a personal arsenal of hand grenades. We have the power to hurt others through our words and deeds! We instinctively know the weaknesses of those around us, and we are keenly aware of how to most hurt others! Many of us are more than willing to pull the pin from Mr. Grenade and lob him indiscriminately; taking out those that we see as threats or having the potential to harm us! The only problem is that once the pin is pulled, there is no recourse. We must throw the explosive or risk hurting ourselves!
What many fail to observe is that grenades can also be tossed back at us! If you pull your pin, the person across from you is very likely to pull their pin as well! What is the end result? Mutual destruction! But at an even deeper level, what has happened to you once you pull the pin on Mr. Grenade? He becomes your enemy as well. For by pulling that pin, you have lowered yourself as well; regardless of whether a grenade is tossed back at you! The fact that you would knowingly bring harm to another has lessened you as a person!
We are surrounded by the walking wounded; victims of grenade attacks! The scars are on the inside, preserved deeply in the psyche. Ask yourself, how many of those wounds did I inflict? How many of those same life-altering injuries do I carry within myself? Finally, are you willing to weld that pin into place, knowing that you will never pull it again?