In Harm’s Way
“Help!” These cries for assistance are heard throughout all villages, towns, cities, and rural America. Like the Minutemen during the Revolutionary War, they will leave their jobs, homes, chores, and even families at a moment’s notice and travel to the call for help. They risk their lives, health, and financial future to keep all of us safe. They are the men and women who are our firefighters, both volunteer and paid.
This harkens me back to the day of September 11, 2001. Etched in my memory is the clip of firefighters climbing up the stairs towards the top of the World Trade Center’s North Tower, and civilians walking past them down the stairs. The firefighters knew that they were walking into harm’s way, and knew the danger and the possibility that they would never make it out. Many of them never did.
Like our law enforcement officers, the firefighters care about all of us. To hone their skills, they attend countless classes, receiving new instructions and techniques on how to be more effective and safe (not only for themselves, but others as well). Along with their classes, a huge amount of time is spent on drills and training. This practice is designed to effectively decrease response time, because that dramatically impacts loss of life, property, and injury.
Not only do they train, but they also instruct. For example, “The Smoke House” is brought to various schools in the area. The firefighters spend time explaining about The Smoke House and how to respond if there is a fire. They also provide assistance to schools during a fire evacuation or other emergency.
So, what can we do as citizens to show our appreciation? Here are a few suggestions.
God bless and thank you to all of our firefighters for making a meaningful difference in so many lives. No greater is the gift than to place one’s life in harm’s way to save others. Special thanks to Ray Hughes for his advice.
Finding your Significance
It is something you cannot touch, smell, taste, or hear. There is no monetary value that one can place on it. It cannot be seen, but is hidden in one’s psyche. It is significance. One’s significance is like a fingerprint, different from person to person. To me, my interpretation of the word “significance” is the self-worth that one feels when one is helping others, and, for me, that is the meaning of life. My life’s work has been centered on working with students and families, and I found that work to be so enriching and rewarding when I was able to positively affect them. Many people journey through life constantly in flux with feelings of being unfulfilled, empty, lost, lonely, unhappy, and unsuccessful. Their focus is on external reinforcement for fulfillment and support, which usually ends in disappointment.
Others, however, travel differently through life. They feel fulfilled, grounded, surrounded by friends, happy, and successful (not necessarily monetarily, but in mental dispositions). These people have found their significance. So, what is your significance and how do you identify it? Let us begin with what is my significance. For me, it is working with students, those less fortunate, and in the nursing home. I so look forward to spending my time with the above-mentioned people. When I do this, it feels great, like a wonderful fragrance that hasn’t been smelt before, or a comfortably warm pair of gloves, or the quietness outside on a wintry day, when the snow is deep, and the air crisp and clean.
When you have found your significance, you feel like that every day inside. Even when braced for life’s challenges, it keeps you at an even keel (and not leaning to either port or starboard). Below are suggestions for finding your own significance.
Finding your significance is both very uplifting and rewarding. It fulfills a purpose in life, where otherwise your life would be bland, hollow, and ungrounded.