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.