Allowing Hope In
Saturday, December 30, 2017
I keep leaving fire. It’s a funny thing to leave, because the ways in which I leave are not really visible to the fire world. They’re quiet – as so many leavings are. They vary, too. I left the field for fire management. I left fire management to work on post-9/11 stuff in Washington, DC. I left that because it didn’t work. I left it more than once.
All of this leaving makes it no surprise that I have half a DVR full of “Chicago Fire” episodes. I go through phases in my life when I convince myself that fire hasn’t been the driver in my life – yet it has.
On my third Chicago Fire episode tonight I found the thing. It’s the same thing I came across in real life only a few weeks ago. 9/11. The “why.”
Here’s a quote from the episode, aired 11/22/16, about a fire chief going back to the World Trade Center (WTC) site in NY. His son asks what it was like when they got to New York on September 12, 2001. Here’s his answer:
“It was hell. Dust everwhere, and the smell of emptiness. The colors of the world were gone, somehow. …So I joined up with some New York firefighers and I started searching through the rubble. …And we didn’t stop digging. No one there stopped. …[We] wondered aloud if this place would ever be the same. We talked about the future and rebuilding and rebirth, but – I never really believed in it; not in those days. The world felt brutal; ugly. The people who gave their lives that day would never know why, and through all the digging and the dust and the death, we never found a single soul.
“And I felt like I failed them. Firefighters don’t fail people. A hole formed inside of me.
“Hope is hard to find, when you lock it out of your mind. But maybe hope has a way of unlocking itself… if you allow it to. All of this time, and the answers were right here. The future is right here.”
I’ve written a bit about why I’ve left, but the truth is that I don’t write in detail because of the people. Most all of the fire people who inspire the hell out of me are still here. Two have since passed, whose lives touched me deeply. Most are still in the fight.
I’ve had the good fortune this past month to touch nearly every part of my fire career in some way. Even the parts I’d prefer went away; never to be seen again. Nope: they’re all there. And the people are around to tell the tales to people in my life now. It’s a kind of twisted sense of humour that the universe has.
There’s an idea though that if coincidences abound – synchronicities – that you are somehow on the path you are meant to be on. That the synchronicities underline decisions and direction; like the guys at the airport with the flashlights, directing airplanes.
Every once in a while in my life, the metaphorical guys with flashlights show up in spades. One other time that happened was about six months after 9/11. And here we are again: and a whole lot of the same people are involved this round. Where will this round lead? I don't know, but some people are out in front with torches, leading the way. Lighting up the darkness. They have forged a path where others couldn't.
They persist. They show the rest of us that we too can forge paths through darkness. Any one of us can hold a torch. For we all carry light. Every damn one of us.
Why do I write this somewhat cryptic post?
I write it because we all have a path we are meant to find and follow. Every single soul. That’s how it works. It’s not usually easy to find, and it may involve one whole hell of a lot of emotion. Possibly heartbreak.
It also involves love. It’s loving yourself, it’s loving what you do, it’s loving the people you can help. That’s what we’re here for. I’ve said it before on the counterfear.com website (here and here): we’re here to love. There’s not some grand secret somewhere, protected by mystics. It’s here for us all to see and live. To spread, when we are able.
Those torches through darkness were lit from a spark.
I knew I’d watch the Chicago Fire episodes when I was ready – and so it was time. It helps me do the work I need to do. Sometimes it involves treading into a little heartbreak. The thing about heartbreak is: it’s where the love is.
What always surprises me in my own life is how much fire people bring light. I suppose it comes with the job. Ha! Yet the quote from above gets me, “Hope is hard to find, when you lock it out of your mind. But maybe hope has a way of unlocking itself… if you allow it to. All of this time, and the answers were right here. The future is right here.”
I know it’s true. It took some other fire people keeping at it for years – YEARS – to help me to know they are right. You have to allow the hope in. You have to ALLOW IT.
The future is right here. It’s what we can build. And we can damn well dig in.
Find a path. Walk it.
Holler if you need help. We get there together.
What kind of work resonates for you, in this time? What would you like to dig into? Check out private coaching at inclusive pricing rates. We will absolutely find a way forward. And we will always find light.
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