Monday, December 25, 2006


I'm told that good Dr. Andrew Weil recommends occasional news fasts. That's easier than giving up other things, and I will eventually read about it, anyway. So today is a Christmas musing, with a slight military bent.

Several weeks ago I saw my former yardman, Victor, in a restaurant. He introduced me to his wife and baby, and told me of his life's successes. He is now a certified mechanic in the local GM service department.

Both Victor and his wife are legal El Salvadoran immigrants (not to pull a Zoe Baird.) Victor was trained by U.S. Special Forces and was active in combat operations in the 1980's. He spent a total of 12 years in the army, and left as a corporal. I know this because Victor began talking with me about it one day when he saw a Special Forces insignia in my workshop.

His background is essential to the story, as Victor, in broken English, preceded to tell me, "I do not have a rifle in my heart anymore. Now I have Jesus." This he expressed, and touched his heart.

The incident didn't register as significant until I was out later doing my own yard work. Don't get me wrong, I'm not a proselytizer for any faith, but the beauty of his simplicity and sincerity are undeniable. This is an uneducated and simple man, but he had the eloquence and the depth of feeling to convey that most poignant heart image.

Of course, it'd be nice if people could just dislodge the rifle without having to supplant it with something else. But I'm a pragmatist; whatever works. Then again, I realize we're a nation full of Christians, and there still seems to be a lot of "rifles in the heart."

Still, I'm with Louis Armstrong on this one: What a wonderful world, or at least Victor holds out the hope. His life is better than a sermon.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Jim, I left Lake Ella, went to the Senior Center and read about Victor on your Christmas blog. Sounds like Victor has alot of native intelligence. I feel "educated" people should look through the dialect in which some people speak to understand that which is being communicated. I appreciate you looking into your daily life and giving us the resultant stories. I believe you have enough of a factual background to develop fictional characters and give your public (they know who they are) extended narratives that will inform readers to make their own decisions about what you present to them.

Wednesday, December 27, 2006 at 4:41:00 PM GMT-5  
Blogger rangeragainstwar said...


I don't know who you are, but my name is Lisa and I write on this blog with Jim.

Rest assured, Victor exists, and there is no fictitious writing here. That is one of our standards. No Jayson Blair hack work--the truth is quite adequate enough to make any points worth making.

I wish to reiterate--Victor's story came with no agenda, other than the observation that some folks can put the sword behind them. Who knows--maybe this can only be done after you've fully immersed in the fight, and feel the futility after the fact. Maybe that's why there are so many armchair warriors and tough talkers--b/c they've never lifted a rifle in combat.

Again, please don't mistake this as a tale advocating religious conversion. That it is assuredly not.

Wednesday, December 27, 2006 at 4:54:00 PM GMT-5  

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