I had an epiphany while climbing Bandera Mountain last Saturday.
My hike began in the dark, around 5:30 in the morning. I figured if I started early, I would get home early too, and still have most of Saturday to spend with my family. So I began my hike in the dark, with only moonlight filtering through the fall canopy to light my way.
I hadn’t walked more than a quarter-mile when I heard movement off to my right, leaves systematically moving back and forth; some sort of animal activity. Alone, in the dark forest, my imagination leapt into action: “A mountain lion, or maybe even a bear, must be responsible for the noise!”
I picked up two stones and started banging them together, at the same time shouting in a loud voice, to let the ‘mighty grizzly’ know I was in the neighborhood and thus avoid surprising the beast. Within moments the rustling sounds stopped and I was alone in the forest, relieved at my good fortune of having avoided finding out first-hand if bears do, in fact, poop in the woods.
Then I had my epiphany; I can’t tell you where it came from, but I was certain of its truth as soon as it crossed my mind:
“What the hell am I afraid of? I’m the baddest mo’fo in this forest!”
Armed with a highly evolved brain and two opposable thumbs, I am by far the most dangerous animal walking through any woods I happen to find myself in. There’s a reason animals flee at the sight, sound, or scent of humans: We are killing machines. They know it, and they are right to fear us.
The irony: What animals know in the core of their being, most humans (including yours truly) have forgotten.
I am dangerous. So are you.
I’ve forgotten who and what I am; have you?
I’ve never known violent revolution; have you?
I’ve been taught to behave as though I were a docile cow; have you?
I need to unlearn the overly-maternal and pacifistic teachings of a culture which has fatally misunderstood the revelation that the Lion will one day lie down with the Lamb. For you see, on that day the Lion will not become lamb-like; the Lion will choose to live with the Lamb rather than destroy him. But rest assured that the Lion will never forget he is capable of destroying the Lamb.
There is a world of difference between believing you are a gentle creature, and knowing you are a violent creature who chooses to act gently. The first is delusional, naïve, and worldly; the second is healthy, rational and biblical.
Remember what you are, and make the choice to be who you want to be.