Sunday, August 11, 2013

Drive Close to the Cutter

It’s silage time where I live. Many of our Alberta farmers are spending their days doing the monotonous work of shredding damp crops into cow munchies. Frankly, I don’t feel like writing about the particulars of silage, so you can read about it at
What I will say is that “the cutter” has a rotating bar that pulls in the swathed crop and shreds it into bite sized pieces that are then blown into a close-by grain truck.

I spent the other day keeping my friend company while he taught me what it takes to run the cutter and what it takes to drive the grain truck along side it. Since my friend is one of the most experienced operators on the farm, he typically runs the cutter, keeping track of the moisture levels and communicating with the truck drivers. You see, the truck drivers have to pull along side the cutter quite close in order to make sure that the full load of silage makes it into the truck beds. If you’re not watching and looking to the cutter operator you could end up hitting the very expensive piece of machinery, or missing the blowing silage entirely. My friend noted that if they are paying attention and communicating with him, they’ll eventually get the feel of when they need to speed up or slow down or turn to get the fullest load possible. If they get distracted while driving the truck or are on their cell phones they tend to lose sync with the cutter operator and this leads to lighter loads which leads to less profit in the long run.

Often the machine will pick up a discarded bit of metal in the field which leads to the work being halted while the cutter operator and truck driver look through for the metal jamming up the works. That day, a piece as small as the head of a bolt held up the operation for nearly an hour as five guys worked to remedy the problem.

The night before I rode with my friend I’d been thinking about the Bible verse James 4:8 which says “Draw close to God and He will draw close to you”. I was impressed by how well the silage operation worked as a metaphor for this verse.
Kind of like this, except with prettier equipment

If God is the cutter and we are the truck drivers then we need to be looking to God and communicating with him so we can draw close to Him and receive the full load of blessings. The more often we practice this, the easier it will become. If we’re distracted or not communicating with him we become too far away to receive His blessings.

Likewise, it doesn’t always take much to gum up God’s work in your life. Sometimes it can be quickly fixed between you and God and sometimes you need to take it to the shop and have more brethren help you fix the problem so you can get back to reaping the blessings.

I think back to the verse and find that for me it is true. When I make a conscious effort to draw close to God I usually can feel Him draw close to me and that is when I am most satisfied and thankful for my blessings. When I get caught up in the things of the world I get out of sync with what God is trying to do in my life and I become frustrated easily.

Just a small silage experience that I thought was neat.

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Firm, Fair and Friendly

Constable McKechnie at Millgrove School
In front of our old house on Millgrove Drive
Some of you know my Dad as Sandy or Mr. McKechnie or maybe as Corporal McKechnie. Some of you might remember him as “Alexis’ and Cam’s dad” even. However, I think a lot of you might remember him as “Constable McKechnie”, the policeman who came and walked around the school during recess, chatting with you about staying safe, listening to you tell him about “this one time. . .” and maybe giving you a sticker or pencil or lapel pin.

I’m writing this for you today. Well, for you, and in honor of my dad. Today, June 26, my Dad, Corporal McKechnie, known by many as Constable McKechnie, is retiring from the RCMP after over 25 years of service.

I could write pages on being an RCMP family, about my dad’s stories, about how proud I am of him, my memories of him. Seriously, pages worth of memories. However, I’ve decided to try and impart a couple of things in this post in honor of dad’s retirement. The first is his policing philosophy.

I want you to know and be assured that the “nice policeman” who talked to you on the playground really was a truly kind and fair police officer throughout his career. It may seem biased coming from me, but I say this feeling confident that hundreds of people that have dealt with my dad through the years would back me up.

Dad’s policing philosophy has always been “Firm, Fair and Friendly”. He has a gift for speaking to people, understanding them and relating to them. Dad taught us that people end up in bad situations because they’ve made poor choices. This does not necessarily mean that they are “bad”, “rotten” or unworthy of kindness. He is a firm advocate that in day-to-day dealings police officers should be treating men and women the way that they would want their own mother or father, brother or sister treated. It was always noted that authority in the law did not give a police officer the right to act as though they were a “better breed” than the regular citizen.

In fact, when my dad came to Millgrove School to walk around and talk to us during recess it was because he wanted you to learn from a young age that he was not an enemy; that he was there to help you; that police officers can be trusted.

I can’t tell you how many times we would meet a client of my dad’s while we were grocery shopping who would tell me what a wonderful man my father was, about how much he had helped them in their situation. Even when dad was dealing with people who were on the wrong side of the law people thanked him! Some of these folks turned their lives around eventually and remembered dad from their more troubled youth. That’s another thing that I’m glad dad taught me - that people can change. Not every one does, but it is possible. People should not be considered write-offs.

Since being transferred to Red Deer, Dad has been the head of the Domestic Violence Unit. He’s been working with women who have been abused by the men in their lives and concurrently has also been encouraging those men who want to change their abusive behavior.

However, in all of the good work that my dad has been doing through the years we all  know that the world can be a dark and scary place. So I want to impart a second thought. I would like to talk about what it’s like to send your dad to work every day in this sometimes disparaged world. I want to write this too for all of my friends who now work in emergency services.

Dancing at his Depot Graduation
As a paramedic who grew up with a parent in emergency services I feel I have a view from both sides. I remember lying in bed as a little girl praying to God, bargaining with God, that I would be a good girl if only he would keep my daddy safe from the bad guys. I prayed to God that I would never hear the doorbell in the middle of the night. I knew that would mean my daddy was dead.
One morning, when I was about 10, I woke up and heard my parents laughing in the kitchen. I walked in and saw my dad, stitches in his head, a bloody bandage around his elbow. I distinctly remember the feeling of my heart dropping into my stomach and I sat down right there on the floor. But dad laughed at one of his own jokes before coming to give me a hug and assuring me that he was alright, that he had just gotten into a tumble with someone who had stopped taking their medications.
When I was 20 my mom and I woke up one morning to discover that Dad had never come home. He wasn’t answering the phone. Mom called the dispatch center and asked where he was. Again the feeling of dread returned when the dispatcher became panicky realizing that no one knew what had happened to him. Luckily this also had a happy ending as dad was at an emergency scene and had a miscommunication with dispatch. We all know that other police families have not been so blessed.

I have heard some of my coworkers discuss how they feel guilty when they have to miss their kid’s events due to shift schedules. I would say that although I’m sure there were times when I was disappointed that my dad couldn’t be there, I don’t have any actual memories of disappointment. I remember always being proud that my dad’s job was to help people. I remember the events that he did make it to, especially the ones that he came to in uniform. As long as you make the most of the time you spend with your children and as long as you don’t bring the job home with you, your profession will not wreck your children.

I would like to end with a request. Likely, many of us have had an unpleasant experience with a police officer, I know I have. On top of that the news pelts us with stories of police shootings, brutality, and unprofessional conduct. Before you paint all police officers with the same brush, before you find a police officer guilty in your own judgement, before you post some story about police brutality in a mob situation and especially before you talk disparagingly about the police in the presence of your children, remember the little children who are praying that their daddy comes home safe. Consider that for every police officer who is rude, impatient and arrogant there is one good one like my dad.

I would ask you to stop and remember Constable McKechnie, that kind policeman that talked to you at recess.

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Bungy Jumping - Just Let Go

In July of 2009 I climbed above a rainforest canopy in Cairns, Australia and proceeded to jump and fall 50 metres with nothing but a tea towel (I kid you not) and a harnessed gigantic rubber band attached to my ankles.

It was one of the best things I have ever done in my entire life. I would honestly recommend it to anyone. You won't regret going through with it.

Going through with it the first time - that's the tricky part, even when you have every intention of following through. I left home for Australia already planning to make that jump. You may not know it by looking at me, but I'll pretty much try anything once (the exception being food - there  are some things I don't feel the need to ever put in my mouth). Bungy jumping had been on my list-of-crazy-things-to-do for awhile and when the day came to head to the rainforest I was totally pumped.

I was the only girl in the group willing to do it and I energetically led the climb up the 196 stairs to the top. The next thing I knew I was volunteering to go first and a tea towel was being wrapped around my ankles. I remember being thankful that I didn't have a fear of heights and for my EMS training as I had remarkable control over my adrenalin and had no pre-jump jitters. At least not until I shuffled my toes to the edge of the platform, looked out to the Great Barrier Reef and fully realized that I was actually going to have to voluntarily jump head-first off this tower. My right hand grabbed the conveniently placed bar and the thought ran through my head that I wasn't going to be able to do it. I still had no fear of heights but I sure learned that I had a fear of relinquishing control and jumping head first.

Thankfully, the jump tech makes a living out of convincing people to let go of that darn bar. From the moment he saw my hesitation he began talking softly and calmly to me. He told me three things.
1. Just put out your arms, take a deep breath and jump. Trust me, you won't die.
2. It seems scary right now but I promise, when you let go and let yourself fall, it will be the most exhilarating feeling of freedom ever!
3. You will never regret doing this and you can go home knowing that you've accomplished what you set out to do.

I chose to believe him. So on "1" I let go of the bar. "2"- I stretched my arms straight out from my sides. "3!"- I pushed off and let my self fall headfirst. A quick scream and then absolute euphoria filled me as I felt the freedom of falling without that fear of imminent death. The giant rubber band snapped me back up and I bounced around as I laughed uncontrollably. The idea that few short seconds ago I had been terrified to let go of a bar seemed ridiculous. I remember telling the guy that rowed out to me in the rubber dingy to hurry up and let me down so I could climb back up there and jump again. Then that's exactly what I did, except that now I was near giddy to let myself fall again.

Like I said,  it was one of the best experiences of my life and a good reminder that just because you think you want to commit to something and because you plan to commit doesn't necessarily mean that when it's time to jump you're not going to hang on to that bar of fear.

I've realized that's what it's like for a lot of us when it comes to Christ. Maybe you're like me. I grew up loving Jesus and going to church. When I was 12 I decided I wanted to be a Christian. I was eager and enthusiastic. I thought I was living for the Lord. It wasn't until I was an adult that I realized that I was still on top of that platform holding onto the bar for dear life. I had wanted to be there all along but when the time came I wasn't willing to let go of my life, trust God and fall headfirst into the new life Jesus was waiting to give me.

So I stood there trembling in fear and second guessing my decision. Thankfully, God provided me with experienced jump techs who basically assured me of those same three things that convinced me to jump that first day in the rainforest. They reassured me with Jesus' promise of eternal life, freedom, and a trip home with no regrets.

Even if you're a Christian, are you a Christian who was enthusiastic to get to the top but you're still there holding onto a bar or are you a Christian who decided to relinquish all control to Christ and jump headfirst into His plans?

In July of 2012, after a long time waiting at the top and many fears, I jumped headfirst into a new life with nothing but trust and faith in God's love and promise. It is the best thing I have ever done in my entire life. I would honestly recommend it to anyone. You won't regret going through with it.

Just let go.

Friday, October 26, 2012

God Brought Me Winter Tires

I'm not half-bad at playing house. I say playing house because that's what it feels like. Like not that long ago I was three feet tall and baking an imaginary cake in my imaginary kitchen and now I bake real cakes in my real kitchen in my beautiful house while throwing in a load of laundry, paying the bills, determining the most efficient heating strategy for the winter and trying to dust the living room before the timer on the cake goes off. I enjoy it. And like I said, I'm not half bad at it. I'm only around a 7 on the scale organizational awesomeness but when it comes to domestic ability it seems to do the trick most of the time.

The rest of the time it's not enough. Playing "real" house is hard work sometimes. Staying on top of everything requires vigilance, money and motivation. There are some parts of playing house that escape me at times, like changing the batteries in the smoke detector (whoops), keeping track of which week the town graces us with the favour of disposing of our garbage as it seems to change every month, shovelling my driveway and most sadly, keeping up with my car maintenance.

My poor car. I love it dearly though you would never know by looking at it. You'd think I'd be nicer to it considering its the only thing that's gotten me safely from point A to point B in the crazy-insane amount of driving I do. However, I usually take it completely for granted, that is until I start to feel that familiar vibration. You see, much like its owner, my sweet little car has a bit of an autoimmune disease that causes it to prematurely wreck its own tires. It can't be fixed. So my car and I, we go through a lot of tires. That's downright pricey.

I think any home owner would agree that home-owning in general is pricey and that when it comes to finances some months are better than others. This is not a particularly stellar month in the cheque book. In fact, I would describe this month as being a traumatic hemorrhage of money. Not a AAA per say, but not a paper cut by any means either. But what's a gal to do? I guess I'd rather have a financial hemorrhage than an ITLS case study with my name in it because I drove with bald tires through an early October snow storm (oh wait, that's exactly what I did). So I set out to my local OK Tire shop to get a quote.

One of the many great things about living in a small town is the local business owners. I walked in to OK Tire and my tire guy knows me by name and he knows the make and year of my vehicle off the top of his head. He's the only mechanic I actually trust when he says he knows what's wrong with my ambulance - so my tire issue, he's got that covered. Unfortunately, even with a good deal, the price of winter rims and tires, along with the knowledge that I'd need to buy new summer tires in a few bitterly cold months was enough to make my eyes water. So as I stood there, comprehending which route of credit debt I wanted to take, God intervened.

Seriously! Groan or shake your head or do what you will but its the truth. Sometimes we wait a long time for an answer to our prayers and sometimes the answer is "no". However, every once in awhile God answers our prayers in such a way that we can not even consider denying his absolute presence in our lives. In this case God answered my prayer lickety-split and my eyes were then watery from the awe of His goodness.

What happened? Well, my tire guy looked up from his paperwork and paused as he stared blankly for a moment before saying, "Wait a sec, there was a guy in here earlier who mentioned he needed to get rid of some winter tires for your model of car. Should I make a call for you?" My head was nodding faster than a bobble-head doll on a grader. Within 24 hours my amazing tire guy had contacted the seller, inspected the tires and negotiated a price for me. This intervention cut my cost in half. On top of that, the seller also had summer tires that had barely been used that he also sold to me for an awesome price.

I'm thankful that my tire-guy was willing to go out of his way to help me and that there just happened to be a man in the store earlier that day looking to sell some tires from a vehicle just like mine. Most of all, I'm happy and eternally excited that I have a Lord for whom no issue is too big or small for Him to care about and that He is teaching me to see Him in the little things, call for Him during the little things and trust Him in the little things.

Even if it's just a set of winter tires.

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Heading into the Mission or Heading the Mission?

"Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost:"   ~ Matthew 28:19

You know how Girl Guides have those sashes that extend from one shoulder to the hip? They're covered in badges that the girls have earned by study, participation or accomplishment. There's the badges that everyone gets for baking a cake or looking after their family pet or sewing a straight line. Then there's that one special badge. The one that not everyone achieves, the one that takes more sacrifice and determination to get. The one that the other girls look at and go, "wow, you have that badge!" For me it was my snowshoeing badge. Not very many little girls got that badge and it was one I was proud to have sewn on my sash (and we're talking old-fashioned-rope-web-rabbit-foot-tall-as-me-real-deal-snow-shoes here, none of that lightweight aluminum stuff we have today). 

**Well, in the Christian sub-culture it could be argued that we have figurative sashes that we sew little badges on to. There's the conversion badge and subsequent baptism badge, the Christmas nativity badge (probably another badge just for girls if you have the honour of playing Mary), the church choir badge, the faithful tither badge, the Holy Matrimony badge, Sunday school teacher badge, guest speaker badge, scripture reading badge, committee leader badge, song leader badge, soup kitchen badge, I could go on but I think you get it. Then there's THE badge. The one you'll get the most questions about, the most ooooohs and aaaaahs, the one that proves that you are a dedicated, self-sacrificing Christ follower. . .The Missionary Badge. Da, da, Duuuummmmmm. 

Some churches, like mine, put a lot of emphasis on going to the mission field. We look at missionaries the way that the public looks at firefighters. We think of words like duty, sacrifice, heroism and we do it all with a feeling of awe. How many years did you spend in the mission? Wow, really? What was it like? Are you fluent in three languages now? What was the hardest thing you saw? Which disaster were you helping with? Did you cure a disease? Did you get a disease? 

Okay, well, we're not all so forthcoming with those exact questions but I'm just trying to get across that an overseas mission is the "Holy Grail" of Christian Service. In saying all this I am in no way trying to take away from the importance and dedication and sacrifice of committing to an overseas mission. After all, it is commanded of us. My question is are we over-emphasizing the overseas mission? Obviously I'm arguing that we are indeed doing just that. 

I remember as a kid when our school would be fundraising for the needy in developing countries. My dad would often wonder out loud about how it was that we could find money to give to people in other countries but we still had homeless and starving people in our own country - our own cities for that matter. These thoughts always stuck with me. The same could be said about the Gospel in other countries. Sure, there are lots of folk who have never heard the Gospel overseas - however, there are a lot of people at home who have never heard the Gospel either, or worse, have never heard it in a way that makes sense to them. 

A few years ago I had the pleasure of doing a ride-along with an outstanding Halton Region Paramedic and fellow Christ-follower. He has been on several missions, including a year spent in Haiti where he and his family were amidst the chaos of the earthquake when it happened. At this time I had not been on a mission yet and I was talking over different options with him. Then he said something to me that I will never forget. He said, "You know, Lexi, the greatest mission field we have is in the workplace." The greatest mission field is not in a third world country with a different language. The greatest mission field is wherever you are right now - wherever God has led you to at this moment. 

That's a powerful and sobering thought. Powerful because you have a mission at this very moment and sobering because think about how you went about your day today. Did you treat it as an opportunity to be a witness for Christ? Your greatest mission field is right here in front of you - but so is the toughest.

Which leads me to another thought. So many of us get excited when we have the opportunity to leave on an overseas mission. I was very excited when I was called to a short-term medical mission in El Salvador. It's a life-changing experience. In fact, I would go as far to say that for many of us, an overseas mission changes us more than it changes the people we meet (take that with a grain of salt). However, as quick as I was to accept the chance to jump into a a new situation in a new culture with new people I have to criticize myself for not accepting that chance on the home front.

How many of us actually go out of our comfort zones at home? I'm just observing that we spend a lot of time in each other's fellowship which is comforting and rejuvenating. I'm wondering though if we may need to confront the fact that shaking someone's hand after singing once a month is not missionary work. That spending all of our time with friends from church and in our own community does not spread the Good News. That being too self-concious to strike up a conversation does not further Christ's love or break down stereotypes. How can we take that comfort and rejuvenation we find in our own church and community and spread it outward?

Maybe we need to get a teensy-bit more excited about the mission field God has placed us in before we start longing for the mission field overseas.

Just a thought. 

"And he went out from thence, and came into his own country; and his disciples follow him." 
~Mark 6:1

**The earning badges thing is an illustration. A Christ-filled spirit realizes that these "badges" do not earn him or her a place in Heaven. Only through accepting Christ as saviour and his free forgiveness grants us a place in Heaven. The "badges" are things we are propelled to do through our love for Christ.

Monday, September 24, 2012

Stumbling on a Blessing (a.k.a Remy the Really, Really Good Painter)

Blessings are good right? That's a dumb question. Of course blessings are good. Just the word carries positive connotations. I'd even say that most of us are fairly grateful for the blessings we've already received. After some discussion at Sunday school today however, I'm wondering if we can begin to stumble over our blessings. I'm thinking that we can let our blessings alter our attitude, prevent us from participating in open fellowship and prevent us from fully communing with the Lord.

To better illustrate my thoughts (and mostly for my own amusement) I'm going to use a fictional story about "Remy, the Really, Really Good Painter".

Remy lived in a community of painters. Some were admittedly really poor painters, some were average painters and some were pretty good painters. There were a couple that were really good painters. However, God blessed Remy and made him a really, really good painter.

Remy knew that God had blessed him with this gift. He was thankful for it too. People paid more money for his paintings and so he had a nicer house. He got a lot of publicity for his paintings and so everyone knew his name and complimented him on his work. He also had a number of beautiful paintings to decorate his home and to give to people as gifts. Yup, Remy was one blessed dude. However, Remy didn't always know what to do with such a big blessing. He didn't always know it, but sometimes it caused him problems.

 Remy was a genuinely good guy, so he had lots of friends. One day he was painting with his friends. Some of his friends had finger paintings, some had paintings made for calendars, but Remy - his painting was fit for the Louvre. Everyone gathered around it. "Wow, Remy, that's a really, really, good painting! That's incredible!" Remy knew that it was a really, really good painting but like most people in the community Remy valued humility and he didn't want to seem boastful so he contained his smile and just said, "thanks, but it's not a big deal, I don't really care about this one". His friends turned to sheepishly put their only half-decent paintings away.

Remy's friends would often ask him to help them with their paintings. After he helped them perfect a certain brush stroke or get the shadowing just right his friends would say "Remy, thanks very much for helping me. I really appreciate it." Again, Remy didn't want to seem prideful so instead of saying "you're welcome" or "glad I could help" he got into the habit of saying "no worries" or "not a problem". A few of his friends became more hesitant to ask for his help.

One day, Remy and his friends were sitting in the coffee shop discussing painting. His friends were lamenting about how they often had difficulties mixing the colour hyacinth purple. Sometimes they used too much red or other times not enough blue. Remy didn't have any trouble mixing hyacinth. He was having trouble lately mixing lagoon green though. It was becoming troublesome that he couldn't quite get it the way he wanted. He figured he couldn't really complain though - after all he wasn't having the issues with hyacinth that the others were having. So when his buddy asked, "Remy, are you having any problems with your painting?" Remy answered, "I can't complain, I'm very blessed." Soon his friends began to worry that maybe they couldn't relate to Remy anymore or maybe he didn't trust them with his problems anymore.

Remy was excited when he read the tender for the commission of a painting for a The Snazzy Yacht Club. If he was chosen it would bring in enough money to pay off the mortgage on his parents house and have a enough left over for him to build a studio, or maybe a painting school! He put in his application. However, when he knelt to pray before bed that night he decided not to ask God for the blessing of receiving the commission. He felt that would be selfish. God had already blessed him soooo much, especially with his talent for painting. Remy didn't get the commission.

The next day Remy ran into his church pastor at the local Art Gallery. "Hey Remy, how did you ever get that commission for The Snazzy Yacht Club?"
"No I didn't actually," said Remy.
"Oh, that's too bad. I supposed God decided to answer that prayer with a 'no' then eh?" Said the pastor who was a bit odd and had a habit of making awkward statements.
"I didn't talk to God about it," admitted Remy. "I thought it would be selfish to ask God for more blessings on top of the ones he's already given me."
"Hmmm," the pastor paused. "Well Remy, let me ask you this - If you heard a child asking their parent to feed them supper, even though the parent fed them supper the night before, and the night before that - would you think that child was selfish?"
"No, of course not," said Remy.
"Well Remy, remember you are a child of God."
Remy raised his eyebrows and nodded as he considered what the pastor's reminder. "I've never thought of it that way. I never considered that I could let my blessing get in the way with talking to God."

Remy began to consider where else his blessings were causing him to stumble. . .


So that's Remy the Really, Really Good Painter. Like I said I was thinking about this today as a few of us were discussing how sometimes we don't ask God for something, or we feel bad about asking God for something because we've already received so many blessings. We forget that God wants us to tell Him everything and that he wants to give us good things. Later on I began to think on what other issues could arise from our blessings.

The first and most obvious one I thought of was pride. It begins when we forget that we are nothing without God and start taking the credit for ourselves. However, we all know that arrogance and boasting is bad, so I moved on to thinking about things that might not be so obvious.

If feeling we're overly blessed could keep us from talking to God and keeping fellowship with Him then it could probably keep us from open fellowship with our friends. We don't want to sound like we're ungrateful and complaining so we don't open up to our friends about our day-to-day trials. We forget that there's a difference between complaining to our friends and open discussion and mutual support from our friends - especially when we face the same or similar issues. There can also be more humility in accepting a compliment with a simple thank you or accepting a thank you with a simple "you're welcome" than there is with trivializing it.

It was a new thought to me that even when God gives us a great blessing we run the possibility of stumbling while we strive to be humble and grateful for that same blessing. Just thought I'd share my thoughts. What do you think?

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

In Spite of Our Grief

This post is not on facebook, nor does it have any labels. So if you're reading this its because you have a habit of reading this blog or you're a friend. In which case I won't need to explain too much about the recent history of this post, nor will I.

When you work in EMS accident scenes are just that - a scene. Usually they are fairly run of the mill. Then there are the accident scenes that you know are going to be bad, just by listening to the dispatch information. When you hear the report from dispatch as you are driving towards a huge rising plume of black smoke you pray and you pray hard. You start to go over your protocols, your pediatric drug dosages, BSA percentages - anything so that when you step out of that ambulance you feel prepared.

You park a safe distance away and begin to walk, ignoring anything that you can't fix - whether its a two vehicles engulfed in huge, intensely hot fire or a swarming group of bystanders frantically telling you what they think you need to be doing. Nope, you just carry on towards the Medic that was first on scene, the one who will assign you a patient - the patient that you're mentally prepared to take care of.

It's a good thing that you're mentally prepared. It's a good thing that people who work in this industry typically have the trait that allows them to mentally overcome emotionally disturbing sights. Because nothing prepares you emotionally for when you walk up to your patient, remove the massive queen-size comforter that's been wrapped around them and look in to the grief-stricken face of your friend. Nothing.

It's four days later now and where do we go from here?

I think of the saying, "Inside of me is a weak heart but behind it is a strong God." This weekend I was reminded of how truly weak my heart is. How quick I was to question God's plan, question his grace, how defenseless I left myself to the devices of the evil one. I've been upset because it's like looking through a window, I can see God at work but I can't feel him through the glass. I don't feel His comfort.

Emotionally I don't feel God's comfort, but mentally I know it exists. I don't doubt. I don't doubt where Les is. I don't doubt that he's beyond happy. And I definitely don't doubt that this is part of God's plan. It just sucks is all and it doesn't feel good. There's no warm and fuzziness. But now that things are calming down, I know that God is not witholding His comfort from me - it's me that's not letting Him close. It was pointed out to me that if I can see God's work through the glass but can't feel him it's because He's on the outside and he's waiting for me to open the window.

There is the miracle that Tony and the boys are okay. I cling to that. As the days go on I can start to see more blessings. I was thinking about what I would want if I was in an accident. The truth is, I would want my EMS friends to be the ones to look after me and my family. I would be comforted to see my friends from the fire department there. I'd want my friend to tell me first that my loved one was dead. I'd want my friends to pray with me on the side of the highway. To have familiar, loving faces there in my time of need would be such an amazing blessing at such a terrible time.

When I think of that - I don't feel I need to ask God "why?" anymore. When I can think of it like that I feel honoured that God let me be there for my friends in their time of need.

I want to work on getting that window all the way open before the funeral so I can bring God's comfort to others as my friends have been doing for me.

So, if you are part of our community's story I hope you can feel God's comfort working in and around you. If you're struggling then at least know that I understand and that I do believe that God is waiting to give us comfort too if we just let Him all the way in.

"We rejoice in spite of our grief, not in place of it." -Woodroll Kroll