Sunday Sermon
You Are the Target

The new stick had climbed high, and now was coming down fast. It was in an edge down attitude, which is the worst fear of every boomeranger - this is the kind of landing that tends to break ‘rangs. I have known the feeling of watching a treasured toy crumple on impact - boomerangs, kites, etc. - so I held my breath as if it were one of my own. As it neared the ground, it suddenly pulled up - as unlikely a recovery as any I’ve ever seen in my experience with flying stuff - and leveled off, converting all of that downward momentum into horizontal speed. I used to guess the speed of oncoming traffic for a living, and I’d guess that this ‘rang was doing at least 40mph as it whistled across the bulls eye, about four feet and ten inches off the ground, impossible to catch even if the thrower (Zeus) had been standing in its path.

I know that it was four feet and ten inches off the ground because NerdyGirl the Unbeliever is five feet and one half inch tall, and it hit her squarely in the forehead. There was a crisp, awful slapping sound, followed by a stunned silence.

Aside from a bit of redness and soreness she is ok, but I didn't think that was going to be the case in the seconds after the hit. It was a thin MTA (Golem II), and it hit her so hard it brought tears to my eyes. I was sure there would be blood and a trip to the emergency room, but she had only a red line to indicate where it had hit. The ‘rang survived the impact as well, which I found rather surprising considering the sound it made on impact. Good sport that she is, NG even laughed about it shortly after it happened.

We all get caught off guard sometimes. New boomerang throwers are sometimes told, “remember - you are the target.” Even with that advice, it’s easy to let your concentration slip, lose the ‘rang in the sky, and get popped by it as it comes home.

That's not what happened here. This wasn’t NG’s fault. She was standing in the same area we all stand in while we await our turn to throw. She wasn’t goofing off either - she was paying attention to the ‘rang, as we all were. She even told me that she watched it all the way in.

Nor is Zeus to blame. He let us know he was throwing a new stick for the first time, and he threw with due precautions, from the usual place.

To the scientist, it was a simple case of many variables combining to give an unlikely, but ultimately explainable outcome. To the spiritual man, it had all the makings of an act of God. Since physics is boring, I'll talk about the latter...

Often, through no fault of your own, some crappy thing happens to you or someone you love. Things stun us, frighten us, or sneak up and bite us, and there seems precious little we can do about it. Is the divine just a big prick who laughs about this kind of stuff?

Perhaps - but that needn't keep you from learning something when the shit hits the fan. The lessons here might be simple ones about where to stand and how to adjust for the wind in the future, but there are deeper levels as well - like how to accept physical pain as gracefully as possible, or how to give aid and express concern without smothering the recipient. Whatever the situation, we can take something useful from it.

I hope we all take something useful from this incident as well. Perhaps when the swelling goes down, NG will tell us what she learned...

L to R: Zeus, The Reverend, Squid, NerdyGirl (pre-impact), The Pink Princess

Go in Peace (and remember to duck).


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