Focusing on the target

Not long ago, I was at an in-door rifle range. I pinned the paper target on the wire, pressed the on-button, watching the square target move further and further away. Ten yards, at twenty yards away I released the button and the square paper target stopped. I can still see the red and white circles narrowing in on the center bullseye.

“Good place to start.”

The pistol is loaded with the clip, I solidly plant my feet, square the shoulders, taking aim, slowly pulling back on the trigger and POW; the paper target was still. Missed. Took aim again, and the bullet forces the target to sway a bit. Again, and another movement of the target. Again, and it misses. Six shots fired.

“Let’s see the results.”

The wire brings the target in for me to see up close where the holes are, how close to the bullseye center. Try again buddy. Focus. Don’t let the mind, the eye wander to those watching.

The target is sent out again, and I take aim, slowly lowering the barrel, keeping my eyes focused along the sight, my index finger on the trigger ready to pull when the bullseye enters my sight. POW.

How many times in my life have I missed the bulls-eye? Can’t count them all. Times that I missed the target all-together. Uncountable times that I’ve come close, just slightly hitting the target, but, yet errored by not hitting the bullseye. I must focus. Focus, putting aside every other distraction. The ones in the next booth may be watching.  I may have been watching them. Slow down, I tell myself. Focus on the target, letting nothing else interfere. the chore of keeping my eyes focused on the bullseye; nothing else.

 Hebrews 12:2   [looking away from all that will distract us and] focusing our eyes on Jesus, who is the Author and Perfecter of faith. . .  Amplified version.


“Turn your eyes upon Jesus,

Look full in His wonderful face,

And the things of earth will grow strangely dim,

In the light of His glory and grace.”

Hymn by Helen Howarth Lemmel (1863-1961)

Author: Arnold R. Kropp

About Mr. Arnold. Back in the days when I was a kid growing up in south Chicago, freely roaming around the neighborhood was common, and just a part of life in the late '40s and early '50s. A train track was less than a mile away and a favorite place to walk along the rails. A large city park was a bit closer with areas of dense trees and areas of open grassy picnic grounds. A public golf course was just two blocks away, but the famed 4-lane busy Western avenue had to be crossed to get to it, and we crossed in the middle of the block running between the cars and trucks. We knew the risks. In the winters, we would climb that fence making our way to one of the ponds, we’d push and shovel away the snow and play a spontaneous game of hockey, or bring a sled and slide down the hillside ; no adults, no special padding, just a group of kids enjoying the contest. Dad was at work. Mom was home tending to the laundry and preparing the family meal for promptly at 6 pm. Life was good. It was fun. Sunday mornings were dress up in suit and tie, polished shoes for Sunday school and the worship service, then to a restaurant. Arnold went on to college immediately after high school, but could not find a subject, a major that was really up his alley, so he enlisted in the Army and served in Germany during the years the Berlin wall was built. Seeing what effects Soviet communism had on the people of East Germany left an impression on him. During those years, he would write many long letters home starting a desire to write more than just letters. Many years later Arnold developed a blog where he posted hundreds of articles on the political side of American life. Some of those are available in the collection named "Ramblings". Today, Society is totally different from that of the '50s, a whole lot different. Today, it has become scary to let the kids roam. Today it has become organized to the hilt with 2nd graders playing organized football. In my present relatively quiet neighborhood, I do see kids walking the streets, but there is a difference as the kids seem to be apprehensive and on guard or intently operating a telephone as they walk, not running after each other playing hide and seek. Today, the above freedoms of the '50s are suspect and avoided as being dangerous activities. And that is sad. It's sad that today's kids do not have that freedom, and it may be having a direct effect on their development. Consider, one fact that is readily apparent today compared to yesterday; the preponderance of overweight and obese kids, even pre-school kids are heavier than we were, and this has to be affecting the rest of their daily lives. No doubt about it. But, I'd better hush, can't talk about those things. Yes, in the '50s there were Semi-trucks, public transportation, murders, rape, robberies, house fires, sickness and diseases resulting in death, and yes, there were deadly vehicle accidents too. There was even poverty and homosexuals too. We went to public schools, and the high school was integrated. This was Chicago, but those events did not make the headlines, as news was only broadcast at 6pm and possibly 10pm nightcap. Days of the cold war kept us together as a nation. We saw the "Victory at Sea" war clips before the main feature at the theaters. And now technology dominates life. A cell phone in every handy pocket posting selfies. A computer saving everything to one of those cumulous clouds. Room size TV’s broadcasting everything 24/7. This is more information than I want. Let me decide something. I think. therefore, I am. I was born a male, therefore I am. I was born-again, therefore I am. I have life within, therefore I am. The news is not my guide. The TV is not my Sheppard.

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