Saturday, March 3, 2012
Jesus in the Fire Service
I just read a tweet from a friend of mine that said "Nothing feels better than knowing that you have Jesus in your heart." I couldn't agree more but I wasn't always that way. Today I think the fire service needs to get closer to God. In order to understand how I came to that conclusion let's take a step back in time and meet Craig Christ. A nickname that causes me to cringe now but used to bring a smile to my face every time it was uttered in my presence. You see, I spent the majority of my adult life as what I called a devout atheist. This was an oxymoron I found quite humorous as I sat around the firehouse kitchen table each Sunday morning and preached my special brand of devotion to nothing. I was dubbed Craig Christ by my peers as I always had a quick retort about the origins of Christianity or Jesus himself that would bring most Christians to their knees and cause others to go to church twice the following Sunday. I was raised to ask questions. Never rely on a single source. Seeing is believing. Skepticism was my calling. I used to follow black cats around, break mirrors, and walk under ladders just for the fun of it. Tempting fate and challenging God at every turn. All the time daring God to show himself. I would stand outside during a thunderstorm and dare God to strike me down. Open the kitchen door at the firehouse with horizontal rain beating into your face as you look up and ask to be struck down by lightning and see how quickly the room clears out. I had it all figured out. Mother Mary was a harlot who cheated on poor Joseph behind his back all the time claiming immaculate conception. If we had DNA testing 2000 years ago I would have bet the whole issue would of been cleared up in no time. Jesus was actually the son of the blacksmith up the road with zero morals and a silver tongue that seduced poor Mary into an impossible situation for the times. So what happens to a child that is raised from birth being told he's the son of God. He goes crazy of course. Schizophrenia manifested itself in Jesus' late teens and compounded itself into his early 20s. Hearing voices, having hallucinations of angels, and talking to himself as he spread the good word all the way up to his inevitable execution by the state. Sure enough if you have enough followers and are preaching a way of life that is against the grain of society eventually the government will kill you. Just ask Jesus Christ and more recently David Koresh. I had fashioned a most intricate version of the past to justify my lack of faith and devotion. It was an entertaining version of events, but not one bit of it was based on a shread of evidence. Then I met Marc Racette. Marc and I shared a kinship for EMS, as well as, fantasy and science fiction. We instantly bonded on every level except religion. Marc was a devout Christian and I was a devout Atheist. We would spend hours on the medic unit debating the meaning of life and the origin of man. We both swore that before we retired one of us would convert the other. I would leave atheist propaganda on the inside of his food locker and he would leave Christian writings for me to find throughout the firehouse. This went on for years and neither of us budged. One morning in 2007 I awoke at the firehouse to find a book on my nightstand entitled "I Don't Have Enough Faith to be an Aheist". An interesting bit of propaganda. I was impressed by the title but I hardly found it compelling enough to read. So it collected dust for years. Then following my divorce I met someone and we became very close friends. We could talk for hours about anything...anything except God. She didn't find my special interpretation of the events humorous at all. In fact they would bring tears to her eyes, and this broke my heart. One day she looked me in the eyes, took my hands, and asked me to take a serious look at God. She told me that I was a smart guy and stressed how important it was to her that I stop kidding around and seriously look into it. I was completely taken back. I was used to debating and arguing with whatever the antithesis of fire and brimstone was. I was used to having the last word and completely frustrating or causing even the most devout catholic to doubt their beliefs. No one had ever asked me to look at the other side with such sincereity and concern for my well being. I was accustomed to being either agreed with or simply dismissed. I was speechless. So I did the only thing I felt I could being faced with such kindness and concern. I told her I would. Thus began my journey to God. My co-workers will tell you I changed my mind overnight. How quickly time flies when you aren't the one thinking and studying during every waking hour. I had no idea where to start. I spent the next several weeks confused and wondering how my lack of faith could be so upsetting to her. Then one day as I was driving to work I remembered the book Marc had left on my nightstand. I had no idea where it was. When I got to work I looked up the title on iBooks and sure enough there it was. So I spent the best $9.99 of my life and began reading. Over the next several months the transformation was complete. Soon after that I was Baptised and I haven't looked back since. I felt like my eyes had been opened. In a profession where any day could be your last, a profession that has more than it's share of morally questionable people; just watch a couple of episodes of "Rescue Me", or listen to the old adage: "cops and firemen, trust them with your life but not your money or your wife," I couldn't agree more. Nothing feels better than knowing that you have Jesus in your heart. Don't misunderstand me. Some of the bravest and most honorable people I know are firemen. Both men and women, but like any profession we have to populate it's ranks with mankind and mankind is flawed. Unfortunately the type of personality that is willing to risk their life for a perfect stranger is also the same personality that tends to live for the moment. When you live for the moment you tend to make poor decisions. So, back to our original question: Jesus and the Fire Service? Amen to that!