You know, there's just something about wearing a uniform. Any uniform. It seems to sort of create a camaraderie. A group or cohesiveness. You sort of understand one another a little better and know what each other may very well be thinking or feeling. You know the routine, the drill. In good times, the stories of weird situations and people are the life of the party. And in difficult times, the stress can be high and the memories cut deep. And the stress of this present day was about to slice as deep as anything in my life. And I didn't even know it quite yet.
I think of commands like, "Brace! Brace! Heads down, stay down! Stand back!" I'm required to know those backwards and forwards and to be tested on them annually. It gets quite heated and the heart races in anticipation. I hope I never have to use it. Every time I look at those seated in the emergency exit seats and give them the required briefing, I know full well that they rarely listen to me. And I know equally as well that, most likely, I'm wasting my time in some sort of twisted way....that they will probably not need to know what I'm telling them. But, "What If?" I spend 90% of my time training for things that will probably never happen.
So, as Portland lays underneath a sheet of ice this morning after freezing rain latched itself onto us overnight, I think of those in our world who find themselves in places today that they never planned for nor expected today. Accidents, unanticipated events, luck of the draw, whatever you want to call it. It's hard to recover from those kinds of things. It sometimes takes therapy, time, talking it out, crying, or education. It always makes me think about recentering, bringing proper balance, and smoothing out the things that cause me to get off balance from time to time, much like a car tire out of balance. The ride isn't pleasant.
On this first day of winter 2008 kicks into full swing, and as our holiday season blasts down the final home stretch, I think of those who are very busy today and possibly even away from their friends and families -- in hospitals as either patients or workers, in our armed forces, working at jobs to make our lives easier -- hospital and emergency workers, airline and transportation employees, cashiers and wait staff, those who clear our roads, telephone call center folks, television and news crews, and many more. And I think of the terror and fright of those on Continental Airlines 1404 last night in Denver. And those on a flight years ago that struck terror in my soul -- it was way too close for comfort. I hope, as I do frequently, that it never happens to me nor those close to me. Let's think about others this week instead of ourselves.