Giving Up The Gun (Don’t worry- It’s not about guns)

The kids were gone, and I told my husband he could pick what we watched on TV, so he made the most of it.

We watched the most violent thing he could find on television. 
 “Into the Badlands,” had never interested me before. I will admit that, ever since I got over my weird childhood crush on a mutant turtle named Raphael, I just haven’t been all that into kung-fu. It was the promise of Nick Frost that convinced me, and although he didn’t show up until the second season, I was drawn in by the storyline rather quickly and forgot all about not originally wanting to watch what I was watching.
 It’s an interesting concept.. Years and years after the apocalypse has wiped out civilization as we now know it, barons have set up sovereignties in what appears to be train stations, spas, and old bed and breakfast locales. Opium has taken hold of the people, covering the expanse of their current world in poppy plantations, and some of the people have superhuman abilities. 
 What none of the people have, though, are guns. 
 Don’t worry. We aren’t going THERE. This isn’t a gun control blog, although I could easily turn it into one. I’m going somewhere else, entirely. Hold on.
 As I watched, it brought me back a story I’d heard years ago about when Japan “gave up the gun” and picked up their swords in an effort to return to their cultural roots. They believed that killing people was too easy if you were armed with a pistol, so there was no honor in using one. When faced with the idea of going into battle hand-to-hand, citizens were forced to reconcile if the fight was worth the risk. Would you be so insistent on taking another life if it meant you had to get up close and risk your own to do so?
 In short, there was no honor in working to build a reputation if you were going to give up the work for something easier later on. In a way, “Into the Badlands” is a show about how, once the conveniences we come to depend on disappear, we all wind up back at our roots, for better or for worse. How many of us will know who we are, though, when we get there?
 Those that know me and have followed my story know that my family was recently in the process of adopting a child. My husband and I currently share three daughters. We were able to bring the baby home from the hospital after his birth, but three weeks later, his mother decided she had changed her mind. She exercised her right to revocation and he was returned to her. 
 I can’t say it didn’t break my heart, but I can’t say anything cruel or negative about her, either. She is a mother and deciding to parent her own child is not a crime. 
 The adoption was something that had come easy to us. She had been a family friend and she reached out and asked us if we would be interested when she initially decided she couldn’t keep her baby. My husband and I both said yes and we began the work of proving to the courts that we were qualified parents to adopt. We endured the home study and the background checks. We went for physicals. We visited with pre-adoption counselors and jumped through every hoop.

I am unable to have children of my own anymore. When I was delivering my youngest, I nearly died and was told I should not try again. Several years later, I was diagnosed with cancer and any inkling of a notion that I might take on the risk was completely obliterated. It simply is no longer possible.
 This baby had fallen into our lives so effortlessly. It was as if the universe conspired to give us a son. 
 But then it didn’t.

The Universe does not conspire to make things easy for us. It conspires to make us strong and wise.

In all the time I’d scheduled myself away from work- my “maternity leave,” so it was to be- I found myself with plenty of time to think. 
 As liberal-minded and as peace-loving as I am, I’d been clutching a few guns of my own.

I cut some people out of my life. They were helping me career-wise, but they weren’t making me the best version of myself. I decided to diet and lose weight and get fit again. I started throwing away unnecessary things I’ve been clinging to at home. I decided I needed to schedule more “off” time for the girls. Not just doctors appointments- time with them. Reading together. Watching movies together. Going to the park.. 
 I purged, purged, purged, until I was free from so much. I organized my work space and I returned to work early, refreshed, and ready to take on the world.
 I started bidding on projects not because they were lucrative, but because they meant something to me.
 I wake up every morning lately excited to see my agenda for the day. 
 I am spending more time with my daughters.
 I’m down six pounds. It’s a start.

I gave up the gun. 
 Now I’m me again.

What guns are you clinging to? 
 Isn’t it time you laid them down?