Walk a Mile in Their Shoes | By, Jamie Warner
Have you ever had the opportunity to serve others?
Whether it’s interacting with someone down on their luck, or preparing a meal, or helping a friend or coworker move? Service comes in a variety of shapes and sizes. And though it can be tough, it feels good knowing you helped someone and expected nothing in return. Oftentimes we come away from serving someone a feel more blessed for the experience. Many people make a career out of serving others; that’s why we have the term “Service Industry”. It feels good to know you selflessly served someone in their time of need. Educators teach so others will have better opportunities in life. Nurses care for the sick because they are compassionate. Service careers are noble and needed.
In fact, many, if not most, men and women who become First Responders do so out of a desire to serve their community. It’s a chance to give back. They put on a uniform and do a difficult job because they want to make a difference. And that describes the men who attended the First Responder Legacy Program for Men this month. They have a desire to serve and protect and make their communities and their world a safer place for everyone. But that level of service comes at a price.
Much like our military veterans and active duty,
the career these men chose comes with exposure to trauma. And unfortunately, lots of it. One Mighty Oaks Team Leader described the trauma seen in First Responder communities as a “slow drip”. It isn’t difficult to understand the analogy: a constant dripping in a bucket is not only bothersome but unchecked over time the drips accumulate and multiply and sit in that container until finally the waters spill out over the rim and onto the floor and now you have a bigger problem on your hands. It’s the same for our First Responders. Traumas are a natural byproduct of the job: monthly, weekly, and daily traumas. They respond to one call, deal with the situation and any trauma seen or felt, and it gets stuffed down into their “Go-bag” because another call comes in and someone else needs help or needs to be dealt with. And so, the dripping continues.
The men who attended the Legacy Program earlier this month were given the opportunity to recognize and begin to deal with the slow drip of their chosen careers. They were presented with Truth and given tools to use in life. They were shown how you can maintain hope and joy in the midst of struggles.
The Legacy Program provides the opportunity and environment where all of life’s issues can be properly framed through the lens of the Bible and God’s intended design for our lives. Because when we align our lives to that intended design and operate within that framework, we have tools to see joy and live with purpose and see hope in all situations. Isn’t that what we are all craving in our lives? And it’s never too late to make a change.
Most of us will never have the opportunity to walk a mile in the shoes of a First Responder to better understand the dedication and sacrifice those jobs require, but we can still appreciate them. In fact, I encourage you to thank them. The next time your path crosses that of a police officer, firefighter, or EMS worker stop them and say, “thank you”. You never know, but that tiny act of encouragement may be just what they needed that day to press forward in the fight.
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(If there is any chance you may be battling with PTSD, please click here to be taken to our application page. We are here for you.)