I Once Was Lost but Now am Found

This visit with you today is a sort of follow up message to my last two columns on Firehouse.com. In one I spoke of the problems I encountered when my faith in an individual was misplaced. In the other I spoke of the problems caused by the interaction...

As the current problems began to unfold, I had a number of directions that I could take. I could have lost my temper and went off on a rant. I could have written a lengthy article naming names and pointing fingers. In short, I could have done some really stupid things which could have damaged my reputation and had no real effect on the outcome of the problems. No, I did none of these things. I sought to take positive steps to get me on the right track.

I did what I usually do in such situations and sought the counsel of a couple of really good friends. I called them and began to tell them about the problem, about my anger, and about the seeming unfairness of it all. I went on and on sharing my feelings and my woes. I am sure that I was quite agitated. In each case, my friends let me go one and on, and it was only when I paused to dry a deep breath that they began to share their thoughts with me.

Neither of them could see any good coming out of any strong negative actions taken on my part. Each counseled silence and patience. They saw that things were changing. They saw things coming to an end. They saw these things better than I did. They suggested to me that the beginnings of a new direction in my career appeared to be growing out of the endings in my career which they believed that they saw.

One shared with me the old tale about how it seems that God does not close one door except that He opens another. Thanks to the help of my friends, I have taken a calm and reasonable approach to the current spate of problems. I asked for advice, weighed those opinions, and then acted according to the guidance provided by my friends. I can only control my response to the environment around me. This is what I am doing.

It seems that this has led to some new opportunities. A new array of consulting jobs might now be headed my way and a new interaction with another old friend has sent me in a new and more productive direction. You should be looking at adopting a cooperative approach to the living of your professional life. Do not think that you are the be all and end all of knowledge in the world. Each of us has limits and we must understand that the solutions to life's problems may arise from the help provided by others.

Sadly you and I are witnessing the damage being done to our nation by politicians who do not seem to be thinking in a reasonable, common-sense manner. We see many untested, untried, or previously failed solutions being proposed to the problems facing out nation. I have learned that the best approach to the living of life involves a number of simple, interrelated steps:

  • Gain knowledge
  • Use that knowledge real-world situations
  • Evaluate the manner in which the knowledge work (or did not work)
  • Come up with new ways of doing things based upon a combination of knowledge, education, training, and experience.

My friends, it seems as though far too many people around us are practicing the widely discredited 'my way or the highway' form of leadership. Perhaps these people have poor advisors. It also might be that they have good advisors but believe themselves to be far smarter than their fellow travelers. Let me suggest that our political leaders at all levels adopt a simple approach to examining the problems facing society today. They need to test their proposed solution within crucible of reality.

They need to stop thinking themselves to be the center of righteousness, knowledge, and purpose. If they fail to see this we must change their role in our world today. You and I are facing fire service problems unlike any we have ever encountered in the past. We need to come together and share our knowledge. We need to seek the advice of others and then study the usefulness of that advice for our situations.

Do not blindly follow the seeming messiahs of social consciousness. It might be that the solutions to our problems already exist. Then again it might be that these new problems require a new, threshold style of solutions. Sadly, I must suggest that the only way to move forward is to reach out to others.

I once was lost but now am found, thanks to the help of my friends and the will of God. Let us each now work to reach those who seemingly revel in being lost with no intention of ever wishing to be found. We need to offer our assistance, but only with the understanding that you and I can only control our own actions. With others we need to use reason, logic, and kindness in our efforts to influence them. Be nice a lot, it seems to confuse people. Maybe then they will be open to our suggestions. Let us all try.