Friday, September 4, 2015

Who are They? Really? And Who are We? Really!!

The other day I was talking with a close friend who is going through some difficult times. During this chat, we both agreed that as we travel the roads of life, we meet many people. And we often catch ourselves calling them "friends." It's a form of speech that has become very commonplace in our society.

The truth is though, (and we both agreed on this point) that the vast majority of the people we meet on life's highways are actually acquaintances, not friends.
How would you define a friend? Is a friend the person you had coffee with after you bumped into each other at the supermarket? Is a friend the one you call when you really need help, who replies, "Not today, Bill. But ask me another time and I'll be there?"
On these highways, many of these people identify themselves as your friend. And in the "ME" environment of today, some are so starved for attention or companionship that we just accept their self-label of "friend."

However, my friend and I agreed that we don't know who really are our friends, unless there comes a time when we are in need. And when we do call upon them for help or support, the faux-friends will be there as long as you're not asking them to do something that other "friends," may not approve of, even if you really need them.

Thus, we posit that these people are merely acquaintances. When we are in need, whether it's someone to talk with, money problems, family illness, and other severe troubles of the day, your friends are there with you, before you even call them. They are there to comfort you, to support you, to be a strong shoulder for you and, to protect you; not necessarily physically, but emotionally, to act as a shield like a super-hero may carry, so bad words that come your way are deflected.
We may be too old to wear super-hero PJ's to bed anymore, but most of us know who are real friends are. Just like the "Bat Signal," we know that our friends will always be there to help us and support us.

However, we in fire-rescue services have an advantage. And that is that whether you're a career member, a volunteer or an on-call, we are blessed, for unlike the majority of people with a family, a few friends and many acquaintances, we gain a second family. A family we live with, eat with, joke with, and yes, even argue with, from time to time.  

And just like our "blood" family, the fire family are probably the strongest, most loyal friends anyone might ever desire. They are usually the first ones to know when we have lit up our "Bat Signal," calling for help. They will be first on the phone, first on your doorstep, first at your church, synagogue, mosque or other place of your worship. And they do so, without even being asked.

Why? In my humble opinion, it is due to the fact that we do not choose to be fire-rescue members. We are chosen. Whether it's biology, astrology, magic, genes, etc. something drives us to follow this path in our lives. Sometimes, we may try to pull in another direction, yet we almost always wind up coming back.

Now, think of the people that you can unquestioningly label as a friend. Examine their personality. Look at their vocation. You will often see that they too, are dedicated to something very important. And the acquaintances? They probably flit around from one opportunity to the next. Now do you see the difference?

Have a enjoyable and safe holiday weekend. 

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