I am about to begin a journey of discovery my friends. It is a trip which I have looked forward to for some time now. But it is important to remind you again my friends, I am only human. As I face the approaching trip across our nation, it is only natural to have doubts and concerns about the task I have laid out for myself. So it is that I want to share a few thoughts with you this day.
The last few weeks have sped by with a velocity that seems to have approached blazing at the very least. It was my goal to complete a number of tasks prior to leaving for my FIRE Act Road Trip on Thursday July 6. I am pleased to report that the major tasks have been accomplished. That is so unlike me, for I am an expert in the world of procrastination.
Please excuse me while I wax a bit philosophical. I have been writing for a long time now. As a matter of fact I just went to my book shelf to examine a copy of my earliest work. My first article was published in the June 1978 edition of the old Fire Command magazine. Many have been the efforts which followed. Many have been the deadlines that were set and met as the years rolled by. Many have been the friends whom I have met as a result of my writing.
Yet the past couple of weeks have allowed me to experience a pressure not often felt in my life. Being a person of the endomorphic body style (read that Pillsbury Dough Boy), I am not prone to bursts of protracted hard work (except on the fireground). Not to say that I am lazy, but since that is how my wife would describe me: OK you've got me. It is just that I like to proceed through life at a comfortable pace.
As I have discussed my road trip and the intense preparations with a number of associates over the past days and weeks, many have reached a similar conclusion: "Harry you are nuts." My friends, I do not really think that I am nuts for wanting to make this trip. In spite of that, small pockets of doubt have crept into my psyche from time to time as to the magnitude of the task I have laid out for myself.
However, something neat happened in church the other Sunday that helped to cut through the fog of doubt that was beginning to cloud my thinking. Just to set the stage, our Senior Pastor Scott Brown was on sabbatical in Greece and our Associate Pastor Chris Van Debunte was on the road shepherding our youth group on a mission trip to Reading, Pennsylvania. Fortunately, our church has accepted a student intern from the New Brunswick Theological Seminary. His name is Chris Jacobsen.
During his second week with us he was thrust into the role of conducting our Sunday services all by his lonesome. He responded quite well indeed. During his sermon on June 25, Chris offered the following gem of advice; a bit of encouragement from the pulpit, as it were. Simply stated the gist of it is in the form of a prayer. "Lord, help us to do those things which need doing." This was a prayer which seemed to be aimed directly at me: An inveterate procrastinator. His words told me to stop talking and start doing. They were both simple and direct.
So it is with this thought in mind that I want to tell you that there is a crying need for someone to write the true story of the good works brought about by the largess of the FIRE Act program. I cannot tell you how many people have spoken about what a great accomplishment this program was and is. However, when pressed, not too many people are able to tell me exactly why.
That, my friends, is the reason for my road trip. As a writer, I believe that it is incumbent upon me to do the proper research in order to create the true story of this special program which came about as a result of a dream by Congressman Bill Pascrell of my very own state of New Jersey.