Thursday, February 26, 2009

From a CFA firefigher

a Biblical thought...
Not one of all the LORD's good promises to the house of Israel failed; every one was fulfilled. (Joshua 21:45)

a Book thought...
Without Christlike qualities, no matter how good things look today, no ministry or leader can sustain it with their own talent. (p31)
a Dave thought... by Jim Darby
Much of what we do as CFA firefighters is mundane. We spend much more time on the dirty work of blacking-out than we do taming flames. When we are actively fighting fires, there are certainly risks, but training, equipment and experience helps us control the risks and, hopefully, have the judgement to pick the fights we can win. It's in our nature to search for heroes. It puts hope into situations that might otherwise appear hopeless; the notion that the heroes will arrive and save the day. It's also part of the way we process tragedy. The idea of a hero allows us to romanticise events — if we can wrap the makings of a myth around the disaster, it gives it some structure, makes it simpler to comprehend.

As we waited for the tanker to return from Kinglake for the changeover, I got some sleep under a tree with my black woollen turnout coat an itchy pillow. Suddenly I woke to a man shouting outside the staging area, loud and clear, equal parts grief and anger: "Where was the police? Where was the fire brigade? You've killed my family!"
I think the Salvos took him in hand. I knew there had been deaths in the area and those returning to the staging area gave us the feedback that it would go way beyond the
14 already reported, but there was something in my experience and maybe my uniform that shielded me from this person's grief. I knew he was suffering, but I also knew that the CFA firefighters in this area during the afternoon would have done everything within their capabilities to save the people around them. I suppose this assurance creates an emotional shield.

Some probably did commit heroic acts on Saturday the 7th, some committed heroic acts in the days following and I suppose we gain collectively from these exploits, but, to me, the heroes are the survivors, the ones who right now are piecing their lives together in a black landscape, still stinking of smoke and loss.

Just a thought.

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