So I was in my favourite “toy shop” the other day… You know, that kind of Guy shop that sells lots of sharp and dangerous things like knives and bows and guns and general implements that get most men interested like a child in a sweet shop with a 100 bucks burning in his hand?
Well anyway, I walked in the order a few extras for my compound bow, and the old(er) guy behind the counter gets my attention… “Daryl, come here quick, I got something to show you that will blow your mind!”
So now Jim* REALLY has my attention! (*Name changed to protect the almost innocent)I walk over to him and he pulls out a box from under the counter. Not just any box, but a very nicely crafted wooden box polished to a shine with really beautiful grain on it. The box is about 40cm long, 6cm wide and 4 deep. Jim uses some flare to open the box… for good reason – one of those “aaaahhhh” moments arises, you know where there is a glow of light and you could almost swear you heard angels? SO anyway, I take a look in the box… WOW!
There snuggled in the red lining is a thing of absolute beauty! I am not talking “oh how nice” beauty, but more like “what the freak! where did you get that baby?” kind of beauty. OK so I was seriously distracted and didn’t hear much else come out of Jim’s mouth from that point on. There I was staring at about 35cm of hand crafted, lovingly made, highly polished, shiny steel, horn and bone perfection. Yup… it was a knife. Not just any knife, but a genuine, handmade one of a kind, limited edition made Bowie Knife.
So you might ask, what’s so special about a bowie knife?
It about there where I stare in wonder as to whether to punch you in the nose or just feel sorry for you. If you are a man, it would probably be the first… you should know better. If you are a woman, you are forgiven for your ignorance.
A bowie knife comes in a few variations, but essentially it is deeply ingrained into American Wild West history going back almost 185 years when the first one was created for the legendary Jim Bowie, who sought a knife to be carried as a close quarters defensive blade.. It was the infamous tool chosen by most in the duel of knife fighting, whilst mostly being used in the wild as a hunter’s tool and skinning blade.
“So how did Bowie knives become so popular? What exactly puts the ‘bowie’ in a bowie knife? There are numerous legends surrounding the fight that is now known as the “Sandbar Duel” that involved Jim Bowie and which took place on September 19th, 1827 where Bowie used his knife to defend his own life. The duel began because of Jim Bowie’s friend, Samuel Levi Wells, being challenged to a duel by a Doctor Thomas Maddox. Bowie and Wells arrived at the designated area near Natchez, Louisiana with Bowie intending to act as Wells’ second; and Bowie was carrying a knife made by a plantation blacksmith. They were also accompanied by various friends of Wells and Bowie, and on the opposing side were Maddox and his acting second, along with more of Maddox’s friends. The duel began and the men both fired shots, but neither of them was hit. So they agreed that their grievances were settled and started to leave. But the bystanders around them began arguing and soon a vicious fight erupted.
Two men were shot dead and several more were wounded. Jim Bowie himself was shot by a man named Norris Wright, and as Bowie fell injured, Wright rushed him with a sword-cane, trying to finish him off. But remarkably Bowie was able to deflect the sword as he unsheathed his knife and quickly disemboweled Wright as Bowie pulled him on top of the blade. Bowie then wounded another attacker who eventually ran away.
Soon word spread of Bowie’s incredible feat of winning a fight after he was stabbed, shot, and severely beaten. Other men who heard about the Sandbar Duel immediately wanted a knife exactly like Bowie’s. Hence, the modern bowie knife was born. Men asked cutlers and blacksmith’s to make them a knife like Jim Bowie’s, and the craftsmen responded to the intense demand by making large, menacing looking knives with ivory or ebony handles and protective cross guards.”
So there’s the History lesson, thanks to Wikipedia…
Back to the knife and my story.
I took a moment to admire the creation placed before me and I was somewhat in awe – I had never laid eyes on a genuine article, only copies. I drew my hands closer to the box to lift this perfect creation… Jim was not pleased. Thrusting a piece of cloth in my hands he commented “no fingerprints please.” With his usual gruff Italian demeanor. So I obliged and lifted the knife from its snug box, holding it in the cloth and got a good feel for its perfect balance and tested it sharpness by easily shaving the hairs from my forearm. What a knife! It was worth a small fortune as an original. It was in perfect and unblemished condition. Brightly polished steel blade and carefully carved and polished deer horn & bone handle.
It was at that moment something changed…I was hit my pangs of sadness, almost depression. What was this strange emotion rearing its head in this time of obvious awe and reverent appreciation?
Then a thought occurred (sadly I get those…)
This knife, this perfect creation of steel and bone, balancing in my hands, this knife so lovingly and painstakingly created for a specific purpose was doomed to remain what I now saw it as: A knife in a box. Sad indeed.
You see, this knife was actually created by a master cutler for a purpose. It was created to protect its owner, help prepare meat from a hunt and ultimately be part of the feeding of those its owner cared for. It was created to be used, and essentially used for good and the benefit of others. It was made to be a working tool… functional! The problem is that it will never be implemented in its purpose, it will never for-fill its creation, honouring & bringing great glory to its creator. It will never bare the scratches and scrapes, and maybe chips of its daily life or battle. It will never build character whilst being used. It will never become worn by the grip and use of familiar guiding hands. It will always and forever remain JUST a knife in a box.
Sad that I see men daily living as just a knife in a box. Afraid of being used in what they were created for. Sad that most men will never live out their creation and never find their true purpose. Sad because they are afraid. Afraid of gaining character that life will bring. Afraid that the scratches and scrapes of life will do more harm than good. Many forget that Courage is acting in spite of fear and not acting without fear.
They may never bring Glory to their creator. They may never know the Grip of the creator
These are men, who remain male, but perhaps never truly live to be a man.
In the end, they will indeed too be in a wooden box. No glory there.
Personally, I prefer to be in the hands of my creator, in His Grip, familiar with His shaping Touch.