There are a few moments in your life when you truly feel as though you were part of something greater than yourself-- able to claim that you witnessed people do great things in your presence. This past weekend was one of those times. I have been in the emergency communications profession for almost seventeen years- I have worked Tornadoes, plane crashes, ferry crashes; blizzards; terrorist attacks, Blackouts, and more fires than I care to admit. But in almost none of those situations was I alone-- and this was no exception. One of the most striking things about working for the FDNY during the landfall of a Strong Tropical Storm on CONEY ISLAND (80 miles out to sea? right....) was the fact that my brother and sister dispatchers, with almost no exception, came to work. Despite the threats to their own families; the not knowing how long they would be there-- they showed up. In most cases, they came hours early-- battered by the rain and the wind-- to ensure they would be able to do their job. And do their job they did. Without hesitation-- without complaint-- and they made something good our of something that could have been tragic.
It reminded me of a very important truth. So much of this world today is about talking, posting, tweeting-- all the time never really doing. Trying to convince ourselves and others that its the talk that matters. Comforting our fragile ego's and tired selfs with the idea that if I just talk long enough-- loudly enough-- people will notice. Life will be the way I want it or dream, meerly by the effect of my keystrokes.
We make lists, we talk about our plans-- we decide how it will be so many days, weeks, months, or years down the road. We list our friends, post silly phrases, and beg for people to notice what we are saying or doing. Redeemed by the like button, or, better yet, a comment. We become certain that the virtual life, or the planned life down the road, will be so gloriuous that it will make everything worth it and happiness will come not today, not now-- but later, when I loose weight, or write that book, or take that trip or save $1,000, or someone new "friends' me.
But what did you do today? After all, its not about talking-- its about doing. Its about showing up-- whether at your job to be part of a team that exemplifies dedication and service to a community-- or simply taking responsibility and exerting action in your own life. We are so much ado about nothing today. It took a Hurricane to remind me of that. And in those howling winds, and in those fierce rains-- in the images of quiet Vermont hamlets that I will not be able to visit next year or the year after, in a conversation with a talented friend who knows not his gifts I was shown in the clearest way that we all have a role to play in this world-- a role that is unique to each living soul, and something only that particular person can accomplish.
For each person who hesitates, who becomes bogged down in all those distractions, whether they come in the form of fear; or hate; or thieves of time; or a lazy couch..a voice can be heard if you truly take the time to listen. Take time for silence and you will hear a voice and it will say clearly and loudly and with God's greatest love: Get off your ass.. shut your mouth... and get to work.
And Now a Word From The Sponsor
Welcome to my site and thank you for reading. After many times thinking, if only I had a blog, well-- here we are. This blog will feature writings on a variety of topics from roadside food, to leadership in the fire service; politics; culture- gay, straight, and indifferent, my experiences in Ohio, New York and beyond; and much much more. It's my hope that you will find it interesting and that it stirs at least some thought and discussion. I am certain you wont always agree, but that is what its all about right? Oh and one more thing: The views expressed on this site are entirely my own. They do not reflect in anyway the views or positions of my employer.