Sunday, December 4, 2016

Old School Cool

If you are a timid soul you might not like this story. I love it.

It has been almost forty years since I was a cop. It was a different world back then. Some things have remained the same in police work and so much has changed. As a young cop, I loved the old timers. These are the guys who were cops in the 1950’s and 60’s. One such old timer was Pappy. Pappy was a quiet presence. Nothing ever bothered him. Nobody ever messed with him if they had any wisdom. I met Pappy when he was in his 50’s. He was in good physical shape and tough as nails. Everybody liked having Pappy close by when the stuff of life hit the fan.

Pappy worked a lot of over time to save his money to buy his first motorcycle. Over the years, he worked his way up in the quality of the bikes he owned to finally have enough money saved to buy a full-dress Harley. The Harley was his pride and joy.

One day after his shift was over Pappy fired up his new bike to head home. On the ride home a group of outlaw bikers thought they would mess with the old man on a new Harley. The bikers pulled up and circled Pappy at a traffic light. The leader pulled up on Pappy’s left side. The leader, in a cocky and sneering tone said, “Hey old man – we like your bike. I think we will take it.”  At that moment old school cool took over.

Pappy slowly turned his head to the left like he was being annoyed by the sound of a buzzing little insect. As he was turning his head, Pappy reached through an opening in the front of his leather jacket where he retrieved the snub-nosed .38 he carried in a shoulder rig under his left arm. Pappy pulled out the revolver and shoved it in the bikers face and said in a calm voice, “Watch the hammer. It will be the last thing you ever see.”

At that moment the biker fainted and fell over along with his chopper. Pappy quietly re-holstered his .38, put his bike in gear and rumbled off to his home.

I share this story because it speaks volumes to me about how we should handle the conflicts of life. There is something in an old school approach to a challenge that can actually dial down the stress. Pappy was a confident man because he was a prepared man. I imagine his heart rate only rose a beat or two when confronted by a gang of overly-confident outlaw bikers who thought the old man was easy prey.

Someone who is easy prey in spiritual matters is someone who has not prepared themselves for the challenges of life. They failed to pack the hope and faith needed to face the uncertainties of life. Pappy did not arrive at his place of personal confidence that day on his ride home when he was surrounded by a threat. His cool and confidence was the result of a life of discipline and training for the “what ifs” of life.

If you live long enough hell will eventually pull up alongside your life and threaten to take away your peace and rest. When that happens, learn a lesson from Pappy. Pack the heat of heaven – hope and faith – just in case. Train with what you carry in the course of everyday life. Someday, when you need to negotiate a spiritually life-threatening situation, you will have something to reach for in order to turn the tables on hell. I would love to see the look on the devil’s face when he threatens you and you draw down on him with hope and faith. That level of confidence and preparedness really messes with his plans.

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