Co-Workers

I have a very interesting job. When you work with over 800 employees you discover a wide variety of people. 

Today I have had the opportunity to hang out with a few co-workers. These folks are not necessarily the nicest dressed folks and they are all a little rough looking. I know they are awesome people doing some amazing work.

From the outside looking in, I realized that many around us see things differently. Assumptions are made. Conclusions are derived from just from their appearance. This was brought to my mind today as a youth pastor stepped outside his comfort zone and asked if everything was okay. 

While his focus was on them, I think he was attempting to ask me if everything was okay. I wanted to say something funny and say, “No, I just found a group,of people that wanted to try out the job. We are gonna spend an hour seeing what happens.”

Before I could get that out, these guys were quick to reassure that youth pastor that everything was okay.  I guess I missed the opportunity to have fun. Maybe next time. 

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Life and the Journey We Discover

 We all have been given gifts that we have received in our lives. Sometimes we see those gifts and act upon them. Sometimes we see those gifts and ignore them until one day, when we least expect it they come rushing at us, surrounding us like clouds. In these clouds we are no longer able to see anything, but we can hear everything and everyone outside the cloud speaking, telling, reminding us of our gifts.
Over the years, I have seen more than I can imagine. I have experienced things that I never imagined that would happen in someone’s life. I began upon this journey years ago, thinking that I was going to obtain some knowledge and move onward to another path in life.
I stayed. Surprisingly I didn’t leave the job, it surely wasn’t a career, but merely a stepping stone to a greater path.
But this path that I was on, was preparing me for a journey that I was not expecting. I discovered a different side of life. I was not prepared to see a man sitting in the street, large in stature, with a 6 foot 5 inch frame and more than 300 pounds, being beaten by a barely 5 foot woman who weighed about 100 pounds.  He sat there, taking the beating. He had so much composure, he was submissive, he was abused. What I soon discovered is that he had integrity.  As he sat, taking each strike, he was reciting a promise he made to his father, “Never strike, hit, or abuse a woman.”
I could not understand why he just sat there taking such abuse. I just thought to myself that such an abusive relationship is horrible, why would he stay? Forgiveness, compassion, passion, love for a woman who most days showed great affection but had a demon in her body.
I have watched, over and over again people abusing others. I have watched them lash out in anger and frustration. I have watched as they pick the smallest battles to fight over and fight till the death. I have seen parents who didn’t know how to parent make mistake after mistake, then wondering if I could fix the years of neglect, misdirection and dysfunction.
Often arriving too late, I would stand in amazement about how people could do the nastiest things to one another. Shootings, stabbings, beatings, bar fights, and women being beaten and rapped repeatedly.
I wondered if humanity had changed any throughout the years. I listened as other in the profession told me time and time again, this is normal and an ever day occurrence. I would listen and see each day and know that these men and women who walked before me knew exactly what they were talking about. I heard, I saw, I learned that this all did, does happen.
I have been called to see mangled bodies after car crashes. I have stood and watched as families were notified of their loved one’s death. I watched the tears, I watched the wailing, and I watched the fainting. I have seen so many variations of emotions when someone is told that their loved one has been killed or died.
I have learned how to tell people that their loved one has died. I have gained a skill that I thought I would never have or use. Then I discovered that this was not a skill, but a gift that was given by God. To stand in front of someone, with compassion and tell them that their loved one had died. To help them watch the pieces fall to the ground and then stand near them to see if time would help us sweep them into a pile and collect them. I would bring them to the reality of the moment so they could deal with the death of their loved one.
I stood and watched a man, who chose to take his own life. He failed for a while, sitting there watching us.  While he watched, we stood in silence until his life disappeared from his body. We could have stepped in to end it faster by providing assistance, but that would have only made his heart fall to the ground and then we, those responders would have been responsible for his death. The path, a difficult one, was chosen so that we wouldn’t be the reason for his demise, but that he, by his own hand took what was given to him and destroyed it.
I have watched others die too. I have been called when they were dead, I have been involved in trying to save someones life, more than once. I have learned that a gentle hand and a gentle heart and a gentle response is needed to handle these situations. I have been teased and joked upon about the number who have died around me. What they don’t know, this is my gift.  This is a purpose in my life.
Others have recognized this in me and they had pointed out to me how they realized that I have this gift. These are the type of people who know that when you have a skill, you use it. They step aside and allow that gift to blossom in the moment, they know, even though I may not know. They taught me that by stepping aside and pushing me forward to these families, I would be able to help.
I have stopped to hold hands with someone who was dying. I have held hands with someone who had a loved one dying.  I have stood and encouraged a woman in labor and provided the confidence needed to know that this baby would be born safely and immediately. I would be present when when his hand entered the world for the first time. Oh the joy of child birth, an amazing moment in life when someone brings life. The beaming pleasure of being able to hand the mother her new born child, to hold and see for the first time. Such joy.
I have been present when a mom looses a child. That last breath was taken, the child sitting in her arms, lifeless as she was weeping. The moments seemed to be hours as she sat there talking to her son. And then, having to fight with her when the child needed to be taken away so to be examined. The fight, the struggle, the difficulty of knowing that I was stealing her child away from her arms.
I have seen drunk drivers, distracted drivers, and lazy drivers who have created enough harm to a community that people become outraged. I have seen how their small acts can lead into large problems for others. I have seen families devastated from the destructive path of these actions. Loosing loved ones, creating carnage upon the roadways, the highways and byways of the city.
I have seen more than my share of life, death and destruction. I have seen people get angry with the police for doing their jobs. I have seen false narratives and heard false accusations. I have seen false reports made against officers. I have seen people shoot at officers, run their cars into them. I have seen hatred come out against police officers time and time again.
I see the death toll rising for everyday actions. Because of one thing, the willingness to serve a community in uniform. To be willing to stand up against the evil in society and be attacked for trying to stop that evil.  Ambushing them with violence while they sit quietly in the world.
I have seen civil disobedience. I have seen protest and misdirected anger to the point that someone else’s life is in danger.
I have also seen men and women rally behind a cause. I have seen them step forward to stop the violence against others, willing to risk their own self for the peace and tranquility of a community. I have seen them willing to give up a Christmas celebration. I have seen them take misdirected youth to a sporting event with their own money.
I have seen the ungratefulness of others shine forth towards a few who are working to change the world with their actions. I have discovered that my role in life is a much different journey than I could have ever imagined.
I have placed myself as a mediator and a facilitator. I have assisted people with situations that can change their lives.
Most recently, I did something that I thought I would never do. But then I realized that I had done more of this than I thought I would do.
I discovered my life and the journey I am on is much more than I could have ever imagined. It had nothing to do with what I thought I was going to do. I discovered that I have been doing more with my life and had no idea of the impact that I have had upon others.
It is humbling to know that others see my life easier than I can view it. But in their view, if I trust what they see, I know that in my heart I am doing far greater a task than I ever imagined.
Years ago I watched a movie about how God built a man for a purpose. This man was to run. My journey may not be to run, but I run to others with the gifts of God.
I am amazed at how I am listening to that call now. The one I ignored for so many years.
A friend had to remind of that call recently. He lies in peril. Even though I know the stakes in his game, he has always been true and blue to those whom he admires. He does more for them than they could ever do for him. I can not change his journey. I can not change what has happened, but I can be present for his life changing moment. I can inspire, because he has inspired me.
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Another year

August 5, 1985, I walked into a life changing vocation. With only a couple of hours of sleep (due to a late ‘oh we forgot to tell you have been hired’ call and a long drive) but I made the start time.
Today, I was on the other side of the seat that I sat in for 16 weeks. I was presenting, what I hope to be,valuable information to those I work with every day.
My original thought was to be here about 3 years and then move on to another vocation. My plans quickly changed because of the people I met and the family that I created. I had no idea that I would hold a job with so many diverse people who had a common goal, to make this community a better place to live.
I was one greenhorn. Discovering experiences that no man or woman ought to experience at times. I picked up things I thought I could never touch. I have seen things that I thought I would only see in the movies. I have smelled things that no person ought to have smelled (and I still have trouble smelling that odor). I have watched mothers cry at the loss of their sons. I have watched a man’s life disappear as he sat staring at us and if we did something, we would have been the reason for his demise as opposed to his ending act.
I have watched life disappear in an instant, I have told people how that happened. I have been there when a life entered the world before the parents could get to the hospital (that kid just didn’t want to wait).
I have been there when personal friends have had tragic things happen. I have been there when personal friends have had something wonderful happen. I have been apart of many peoples lives who I have left an impression (good and bad).
People ask, “Do you like your job?” I can say that I have always loved my job, even when people we deal with are not the brightest crayons in the box. 
I can say that the reason why I like my job is because of the people that I work with. So many of them will give you their shirt (or money) if you needed it, no questions asked. When they say they have your back, they mean, they have it! 
I have worked with a supervisor who once again is my boss. He has taught me many things over the years. One of the major things he taught was dedication to the community and to one another. I can’t thank him enough for not only being my sergeant, but now the boss. Another one in the corner office was willing to help me along and made a great impression on me. I have been inspired by another one in the corner office who was present, dedicated and although wasn’t happy with me at times, and still disagrees with me often, but I respect him 100% (kinda good that he is retired now, but he has a great CEO job). It is that leadership that has inspired me and makes me want to perform to the best of my ability every single day.
The people I have worked with have made me laugh. We have cried together. We have stood in hospital rooms together. We have stood over many graves to honor a brother or sister.
The people I have worked with have stood with me in amazement at how many of these events we experienced unfolded. You would think that we are making it all up, but we did see it, we did experience it, we….SURVIVED IT.
People always ask on anniversary dates, “Would you do it all over again?” I might, but it definitely would be done with a slight twist.
I see news reports about my profession and wonder if they really know and understand what it takes to do what we do. They criticize ever act we perform, yet they are so ignorant of the major questions they should be asking (What, When, Where, Why and How). As a result, their ignorance leads other people to learn a story rather than the truth. Mostly driven because they want to be the first to report rather than having an accurate story (as my father has taught me my entire life, and still teaches me today).
And as I sit and reflect on my 32 years, I learned that my youngest child begins a new venture at the University of Tulsa. I learned that on my vocational anniversary date, what an awesome thing.
I am proud of the young ladies in my life. Four are mine and another one has learned to give me a hard time. I have had many more children who call me Dad, and I am totally honored by their love. Everyone of them, biological or not are wonderful and bring me great joy. Now though I am getting to the age that some of them are calling me Great Papa as they have their own children. I am truly blessed by everyone of them.
As I sat in reflection, some really close friends (who are co-workers) entertained me with their wit and wisdom. No one really understands our bond or our humor. These are the types of friends that you would help in an instant no matter what time it is.
Because of all this, if you see me and say, “It’s good to see you.” You will always get a response, “It’s good to be seen!”
I have viewed enough in my life and with the current light of media attention and misdirection, I am not happy when I view those who do what I do. You may or may not understand that, that is okay.  
But know this….the people who protect the sheep, do it not for their own glory, but for another higher reason. They stand in the darkness when others are scared to do so….They run to the problem, when others are afraid to….They make a difference daily, though you may never see it……Some will tell you that they did something special…..many more will shrug their shoulders and say its really nothing (when they know it is really big) and push the media away to avoid a spotlight…..
On both side of the radio, there are dedicated people who create an atmosphere of tranquility that many don’t see. It is, those on each side of the radio that have given me a reason to be seasoned, grumpy, refreshed, loved, liked, hated and admired by the unknowing……but truly dedicated to what we all (as a collective group) do at keeping the peace.
God Bless and thank you for the time you have given me, the friendships we hold on the thin blue line, the thin red line, the thin gold line, the thin white line, the thin green line, the thin silver line.

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HOLY WEEK

Tomorrow is Palm Sunday (Passion Sunday) and the beginning of Holy Week.  A time of special services leading up to Easter. These services have been in many churches since the 3rd Century. Our journey through Lent and the special devotions we gave during this time leads us to an understanding of Jesus’ temptations, those temptations that get us everyday.

This re-enactment brings us to understand that Jesus was entering the town of Jerusalem.  Palms were laid down as he entered the town, showing respect to the Messiah as he entered the town.

This journey is leading Jesus to the cross.  As we gather as a community we will read the passion story.  Participating in this service and the remaining services this next week, you can gain a better understanding of the sacrifices and gifts He granted to us.

Gather and celebrate with love.

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Funny Things Celebrities say….

Frank Zappa  once said, “Some scientist claim that hydrogen, because it is so plentiful, is the basic building block of the universe.  I dispute that.  I say there is more stupidity than hydrogen, and that is the basic building block of the universe.”

I just might have to agree with his statement.  Stupidity is free and prevalent.  There seems to be more people that have stupidity than I have ever realized.  It does not take one long to find stupidity.

Think about it, when did you see a person committing an act of stupidity?

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Encouragement & Support

This weekend was the annual Quarter Marathon in Tulsa. This shouldn’t be a surprise, Tulsa has become a friendly foot race place. I have the wonderful opportunity to work a few of these races each year. I break out my smile, my cowbell and my book of funny comments. 

I always enjoy the interaction that I have with many of the runners. In spite of their pain, many find the ability to talk and smile and return a sharp funny comment where we both can laugh. 

This race had one exception. I heard so many runners say, “Thank you for being here and making sure we have a great race and a safe race.”  And it wasn’t just the runners. 

Normally the motoring public gets a little frustrated about all the closed roads. I only had one person loose it because they couldn’t get to work. I kept asking him to stop yelling at me and I would help him get to his job site. Although I helped him, he still was so upset. 

I have been getting so used to all the current media coverage, where they choose to show negative interactions with police. That’s all I could think of when this young man, who is the manager of a local restaurant got upset. I was expecting him to call the news station to have the TV crew arrive to record and twist the situation. So you can say all this negative media attention they want to provide is affecting officers every day.

That one negative encounter didn’t dim my day with all the other joyful but tired runners. I got to participate in my own positive day.  They walked by or they ran by wanting to either shake my hand or give me a high five. They said “thank you” or “I appreciate you being here”. It wasn’t just one, there were so many saying this, it was surprising. 

I can’t tell you how much this support means. To have someone outside of law enforcement express their appreciation is wonderful. 

So I have to thank Fleet Feet for their events in which I get to work and have fun with those who love to run. 

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Chip

I have often wondered why so many people journey in this world with a chip on their shoulder.

I wonder…..do I have a chip?

It is amazing to me what actually triggers anger and it amazes me more how they respond because they are now upset (with that anger).

The slightest thing can really get some people upset.  Don’t shake someone’s hand, they get offended.  Question something they did, and they get defensive to the point of yelling at you or complaining about your performance.

I have recently noticed that I have encountered a “chip”.  I guess I should capitalize “Chip” but I seem to find it so ridiculous on what they are complaining about that the capitalization is not important (Names should be capitalized, shouldn’t they?).

My friend and colleague would possibly correct my grammar and the use of formal names.

Now don’t get me wrong, if you have an issue it should be heard.  But if the issue appears to be on the ridiculous side, don’t expect sympathy or even understanding.

Oh, and when someone points out you are committing an illegal act, an act in which you are complaining about, you probably should get your house in order before you complain.

Simple advice?

I have recently re-read a phrase, “You can just get happy in the same patties you got all up in a wad in.”  Straighten them out, look at what you have done, or are doing and make sure you are right with yourself before you complain about others.

I guess the phrase, “Can’t say anything nice, be silent” should be a constant in one’s life.

Maybe Pharrell Williams’  song, Happy” should be the song you start your day with song.

“Happy”  by Songwriter: WILLIAMS, PHARRELL L.

Published by: Lyrics © Universal Music Publishing Group, SONGS MUSIC PUBLISHING

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