Thank you. Two words so often said without thinking. Too often launched in vain repitition repeated in prayer, or in passing. But full of power when fully actuated and realized. The firefighter appreciation dinner was a heart felt outreach from so many grateful home and cabin owners of Rockport Estates. Spiritually stifling. Nearly emotional, and I am not usuallly an emotional person in that way. Both residents whose homes were saved and residents whose homes and cabins were lost. I overheard one man named Scott repeatedly thank and share how overjoyed he was to know his dogs were safe, and returned to him after bein frighteningly separated. One tiny child, all of about six years, paused in thanks and shook every hand, as if they were the only person there.
At the end of presentations firefighters formed a long line along turnout hooks, that spanned the length of bays so residents could shake their hands and exchange words. Bays that were normally quiet, and full of smoky, sometimes leaky fire trucks, tonight, were void of these. Rather, trucks were pulled outside along the apron as if in salute. The working part of the building was full of thirty or more gayly dressed eight foot long tables and matching chairs. Fresh cut sunflower arrangements. Tons of food from Smith’s Deli, and management, and smiles to thankfully match the scene. Along with many dozens of mountain people waiting to say their heartfelf thank yous.
Most of the time I go around trying to give and to feel gratitude toward others. I have learned the value of this, but mostly love the feeling it brings as a side effect. Gratitude in the amplifying power that enables and accentuates love. Gratitude in inviting and celebrating the hope and invitation of love, and rememberance of it. This takes a conscious effort, but eventually becomes more natural and habitual until it is a familiar, happy sought after way of life. A subtle adrenalin rush, a glowing seratonin surge, leaving you grateful even in the smallest recognition of being a feeling being. Makes one cleaner, more acceptable. With gratitude, one can feel oneself the beneficiary of the entire universe conspiring in ones behalf, even in finding oneself in a place void of anything recognizably possessable, or of value by the worlds standard. Without love and gratitude, no point in existence.
I am still a beginner at this, but I am trying. As for receiving gratitude…this is sometimes not as easy. Receiving gratitude is also something to learn to do better, more humbly in making a shift from claiming credit to simply serving as target. Requires risking, taking time to allow oneself to see oneself as deserving of recognition, and of love, and self worth, in believing others do truly value you. Requires being gentle with oneself. 🙂
I was thinking….what should one be thinking when someone is thanking you…and then it came to me. Think of them and how they are feeling. Celebrate what they might be cebebrating. These quiet, pensive moments, bring a closeness, a kind of communion between souls, an even strangers feel familiar, more like family, or lovers. Sometimes I like to think this thought…..”I can not do everything for everyone…..but I can do some small thing for someone…..to make their day happier, their burden a bit lighter, their countenance a bit brighter, their life a bit closer to Christ. Really….it is not me they are seeing, it is the goodness in the deed, it is the Christ in me. I try to remember this……that the “thing” is only just a ‘thing” but it is something to someone. And sometimes that little something feels huge and though you may never see the after affect, or outcome, you can feel the potential for such…….if you just believe.
I met a woman named Dana Travis. She was not like others. There was a kind of connection from the beginning that can not be explained. She is a home healthcare provider. A hospice nurse in the SL Valley. She rents a smalll apartment form some people in Rockport Estates. All of the structures on this property came through the fire unscathed. Largely due to a well established defensible space put carefully in place by the homeowners. This renter, Dana, wants to find work with an agency in Summit County….Applegate, I think.
Another woman named Wendy (I didn’t catch the last name) was also very striking, in a kind, take charge kind of way. Administrative in a good way. She was in charge of the Thank You dinner. Amazingly articulate, empowering individual. She created the evening and then beautifully orchestrated it. Organized evey detail from fundraisiing a $7,000 thank you check to be shared between North Summit and South Summit Fire Districts, to providing the dinner catered by Smith’s Deli, to facilitating a collective and personal recognition of firefighters. This Wendy works with the Navaho Community somehow. She gave each firefighter a special beaded necklace made of sacred protective cedar beads and juniper berries. Simple, yet elegant, and powerfully protective.
Somehow, these women who I only just met and coinhabited a smokey garage with for a short hour or so, make me feel that there is hope for the female gender. That there are among those females whom I mostly despise and feel enmity toward, a number of gentler, more noble, and caring women. I know a few of such women at school. Did not alwuz feel this way. Glad I do now…..more and more. I am slowly learning how to feel this, and may some day know why this is as well.
Tomorrow, I am going to wear my special necklace, like a small piece of the armor of God. Somewhat like a special Christian Cross that a dear friend adorns every waking day. Wears it like a “Red Badge of Courage” to school. After a day of this, I will then display it on my classroom wall along with a photo of “Fire Dancer.” This is a nude piece of artwork that accents Main Street Coalville. Each week the public has an opportunity to dress this statue. I dressed her in thanks to firefighters the week of the Wanship 5 Fire. It was so awesome. Hot Shot crews from all over went to Main Street Coalville to pose for pictures with “Fire Dancer.”
Some firefighters and their wives did not attend. This is a shame I think. The reason…..I can only imagine. Perhaps they were invited and then uninvited.Perhaps they caved to peer pressure, and negative voices. I had a few reasons for going, and no one was going to deter me in this. I am glad it is more often easy for me to choose and follow through in acting on intuitions and impulses….an that I went to this dinner.
All thank yous and recognitions aside, I think Mark was right in saying, “If we had to admit it…..I would say I think we just go lucky.” If you can’t be good be lucky. If you can’t be lucky, be good, I just thank God we were. I am glad we were all safe. I try to remind myself in asking this question, “What is the MOST important thing for me to do, or say, or think? Putting other people before things…is most important. Empathy, and LOVE formost. I do believe that man/woman is that he/she might have joy. Is this Amos 9. or some other reference. Hmm. Dunno. But winds, and change in winds can and do make all of the difference.
I think we have great power in how we weather, create, and redirect such winds. In spreading wings, can make all the diffenence in soaring happily in catching an updraft. By the same token, our words, action, even breath can fan, or spread the fire……for good, or for bad. I am reminded of something of OLYMPIC magnitude in “Light the Fire Within.” I am grateful…..and in this simple moment…….that is enough. Practice saying to myself and others, “I am here for you.”