Stubborn, independent, self-made, hard-working, giving, successful, go-getter, caring, kind, stubborn, single-minded; these words may be used to describe a successful person, especially in this day and age. Note there’s nothing about money mentioned. I don’t feel financial wealth to be a standard to be successful, but that’s just me. All of these qualities I am happy to strive for, and they help me feel worthwhile. In my book, if you work hard, don’t take much for granted, take your lumps as they come, because they will come, play hard, and be a good person, then you are successful. Yet I’ve found this success can get in the way of another important aspect of life: receiving.
I love people. I love serving people, and I loved my work. With the FD, I worked with the finest people on the planet, for some of the most amazing, poor, sick and inspiring people on the planet. I loved running calls, loved my partners on the Rescue, and loved trying to help those in need in truly unimaginable situations. Just when I thought I’d seen it all, the next shift showed me something new. Sure, there were terribly violent and wickedly persecuting incidents, but there were also uplifting ones to balance out the pain. As a harbor patrol officer, I was able to serve on the water (a bit selfish, I admit), and it was a gift to me to be able to do so in such an ever-changing environment. I felt honored to be allowed to take part in someone’s most life-challenging and intimate moments, some tragic, some happy. I tried to respect that part of my job, and at times it was difficult. Trying to understand the reasons for certain occurrences was mind-boggling and I finally learned to stop trying. But I never gave up trying to be present for those involved. A lot of that wasn’t taught in paramedic school or covered in continuing education, and I think it’s a difficult thing to teach. Everyone has their own way of seeing things, but I feel it’s something for rescue workers to always keep in mind. It’s another way of serving, of giving. I think I was good at it.
Now, things are very hard for me because I find myself in the position of taking. Not taking, per se, but of receiving. I’ve learned that’s a very difficult thing for me to do. For those of you out there who’ve been trying to give, I’m trying. It’s quite a challenge for me, being one of those stubborn and independent people I wrote about earlier. And it’s so difficult to receive gracefully! I want to honor those who have given and are giving, and due to my flippin’ ego, I find it almost impossible to drop the facade and just allow it to happen. I see myself fighting it. I consciously try to recall how special it made me feel to give to others, to serve others, to help my family and friends, and it was life-sustaining. I had a purpose on this planet to give, to serve. And those I served received. I need to give more by receiving. I honor you, thank you, and am so grateful for you, for your gifts. Better yet, you give in so many different ways, and that’s such a wonderful surprise. You listen, you laugh (the best!), you sand, paint and varnish, you cook, you drive, you paddle, you persist. For all of this and more, thank you.
I’ve searched to find the right words to convey all of this, and it’s quite a challenge. Sometimes the words flow, but this time there’s no flowing. I’m trying, and I want you to know I’ll keep trying. Please know I am so grateful for all of you, I am humbled by you, am honored by you, and I honor you. Best of all, I love you. Maybe it’s that simple?
I love you.