Project Advent II, Day 14: Dinner for Fire Station 6


I'm having a really hard time finding the motivation to type this today.  You know why.  I had today off, and I had the TV on while I was in the kitchen, getting some things ready for tonight's project.  I was cooking when the news came on.  You know which news.

Like every American, I am heartsick today.  I'm sure that in the weeks ahead, we'll be finding out more about the reasons that today unfolded like it did.  Right now, though... God.  Oh God.  My chest and stomach have been in a vise grip all day long, and I'm just barely holding back the tears.  And part of me thinks that maybe I'll feel better for still writing this up and sharing it, but the bigger part just wonders what's the point.  What's the point?!?  Here's something I wrote at the conclusion of last year's Project Advent:
There was this moment last night, as we held our candles, and Pastor Craig read from the first chapter of the Gospel of John, where this last month clicked into perspective for me.

"The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it."

Only when we stop caring about each other and taking care of each other will the darkness overcome us.  Light a candle against the darkness.
On days when I'm not feeling as driven towards service, this is something I've thought about to help stir me: these actions are like lighting a candle.  But a day like today happens, and... what?  What does it matter if I spend an hour putting something good into the world when some maniac can put SO MUCH evil into the world in even less time?  And when it's happened SO MANY times this year that I can't even keep track of them all anymore?

And morons on Facebook ranting about how the answer to this epidemic is for even more of us to be armed, for teachers to carry guns to school, for you and I to carry guns to the movies or to work - for all of us to be prepared to kill our fellow man at a moment's notice.  Are you prepared to live like that?  To see every day as a potential opportunity to cowboy up and put a bullet into somebody?  I'm not, and I never will be.

But again, what does it matter?  If I sit here and type 100,000 words about this, I won't have changed anything.  Tonight, all of us are anguished.  All of those precious children...

I did do my service today, though, because I've made that commitment.  Today I wanted to do something special for my friend Brett.  I've known him for literally my entire life.  Brett is about five years older than me, and we grew up down the street from each other.  We used to play baseball in the cul de sac I lived on with all of the other kids from the neighborhood.  Now he's a fireman, and I asked him if I could bring dinner for the men at his station tonight.  He happily said yes, and gave me details about how many guys would be on shift, and what time I should bring the food by.

I made a big crockpot of chili (which I also took some fixings along for: cheese, Fritos, sour cream, and jalapenos), a pan of cornbread, and a peach pie (which was compliments of my mom.  Thanks, Mom!).  When we got to the station, we were greeted by Brett's sons, who were there spending the night with him.  Brett and his crew were just getting back from a call, and they seemed really pleased to have something hot to come back to.  Brett was really kind to my kids, and showed them around the whole station.
Blake got comfy in the living area, and commandeered the remote to change the TV to Cartoon Network.  "Want to come and see the fire truck, Blake?"  "Nah, I'm good."

Ava was intrigued with all of the gear.
She was making me laugh - as much fun as she was having, she was still certain that Brett was going to blast her with the sirens every time he reached for something.
A quick photo with an old friend.  I'm thankful for you, Brett.
My boys with one of Brett's boys; this is the most still Jack was all night, and he was still a little blur.  Kid was HYPED to be at the fire station.
During the day today, I had lunch with my mom and then took her to see Argo.  In the opening scenes, when it showed the Iranian Revolution, my mom said, "I remember this.  You were too young, though.  You were only four."  And she was right: I was alive when that happened, but I have absolutely no memory of it.  I learned about it years later in history class.  I picked up my children from school today, and they had no idea what had happened in Newtown, Connecticut today.  I'm glad of that.  But I think they still sensed the sadness in me.  So, you know, I did what I could.  I took them to dinner at one of our favorite places, the Holly Hop, where we had hot dogs and ice cream, and even sat at the counter while songs played on the jukebox.

Jack had a little accident while we were there, and I was about to lose my temper with him, and that's when a sweet grandma came in with her friends, smoothed Jack's hair with one hand, and told me I had beautiful children.  "Treasure them, because they just grow so fast, and you just never know..."  She squeezed my hand and went to place her order.  You just never know.  But you can buy them some ice cream, and tuck them in at night, and then cry about things that you pray they'll never know.

And you can see a rainbow when you're driving them home from school and remember Genesis 9:16: "Whenever the rainbow appears in the clouds, I will see it and remember the everlasting covenant between God and all living creatures of every kind on the earth."

Affirmation Project:  Another longtime friend, Geoff Hearn, completed nursing school today!  He and I used to be in Boy Scouts together, and his dad was like my second dad.  I'm really proud of you, Geoff.  Congratulations.


brandy said...

So touching Danny, I share in your sadness. You did what everyone should do, you shine light where ever you go.

Ali said...

I am so heart-sick. But, it really does give me some peace to know that there are people like you who are shining light into the darkness.

Also? "Treasure them, because they just grow so fast, and you just never know..."

Gia Chevis Johnson said...

Amen, Danny.

Steven Lacey said...

This was beautiful, Danny. Thank you for writing it.

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