Sunday, February 12, 2017

Vegetables and Guns -

Be fair, be true, do no harm. That's my life motto. Has been as long as I can remember.

Two years ago Scott bought me a handgun for Christmas. A few months earlier, he had purchased his own handgun. I wasn't quite sure why we had them, but I knew I needed to be a gun owner.

As a young teen I quit eating eggs and drinking milk. About thirty years ago I quit eating red meat. It hurt my stomach, and unpackaging and cooking red meat made me nauseous. And the idea of eating a living breathing entity just didn't sit well with me.

About twenty-five years ago, on a trip to Northern California, standing in a grocery store, I made the decision to no longer eat meat. I was tired of hurting - emotionally, and I decidedno longer eating meat would be my way of stopping my hurt and controlling how I interacted with other lives - other living beings.

Just like that, I stopped. My stomach began to heal, while my heart was still in angst. I didn't make my being a vegetarian a big deal. In fact, I seldom used the label, "Vegetarian." Instead, I would avoid a conversation, or answer with, "I don't eat meat." I didn't even eat meat supplements - tofu and other soy or TVP products. Rather, I added a few more carbs, while fruits and vegetables were the mainstay of my diet. I asked family and friends to not make a fuss about my choices, I didn't want to inconvenience anyone. I wasn't tempted to partake, although I continued to cook meat for my family - except for ground meat and steaks. If they ever wanted this, it was their role to cook it. Not a problem for us, and while my children seldom ate red meat at home, they had chicken, turkey, fish on occasion, and they learned about good nutrition and where to find protein in sources other than animals.

This went well with my life motto - I didn't kill, or partake of killed animals. I respected the rights of others, and I appreciated similar respect. Hurting even a spider in my house became an issue for me, and most likely I will send a prayer of thanksgiving and remorse when killing a spider or fly. Typically I try to get it outdoors rather than hurting it.

When Scott and I married he was surprised to find out I didn't eat meat, yet it hasn't been an issue in our marriage.

However -

Post cancer treatments I found a real need for protein in my system. And it couldn't be soy-based because of the phytoestrogens in soy. So my nutritionist told me I needed eggs, poultry, fish in my diet. I remember the day I realized this was truth - I was holding a plank, she told me my body would not grow stronger without, and as I exercised that hour contemplating her words, I knew I must partake.

Interestingly,the following day another nutritionist, after reading my energy, said the same thing. The words of two or more -

So I eat meat, hide eggs in edibles, drink vege-based protein shakes. I don't love it. I send a prayer before eating - a prayer of gratitude, but I'm still troubled.

Two weeks ago Scott and I took a gun safety class - the first time my gun has been out of the box, the first time I've held a handgun, and I had a tough time when it came to pulling the trigger for the first time.

In fact - I pulled the trigger, hitting the target that was eight feet away. The gun went boom, kicked back, a small flame was released, and as quickly as I could I placed the gun down, tore off the ear and eye protectors and left the shooting range. I screamed, shook, and paced.

What on earth was I doing at the gun range, with a handgun, shooting? This action has gone totally against everything I have believed and lived for a large portion of my life. Be fair, be true, DO NO HARM. And the safety instructor kept telling me, "Shoot to kill." Kill what? For what?

These past few days I've been struggling with this contradiction I've created. I'm filled with compromises - and I don't like this! I want to be strong and stand firm and resolute in my vegetarianism - yet I can't. I want to protect others - yet I must protect myself. And here I am, with a handgun, and another lesson set for next Friday,and the same anxiety in my gut that I felt when eating ground beef many years ago and a scrambled egg three years ago.

Because as much as I'd like to believe I can be a forever vegetarian and the world is a peaceful beautiful place, my conscience says I need a little meat and a little shooting. Enuf -

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