…or any other crisis for that matter.
2013 conditioned me in a Pavlovian way to dread the bleep of my smartphone, fearing that it might be yet another notification that something has broken down, hit the fan or gone wrong. I know it’s not a good way to live, and I put at the top of my New Year’s Resolution list to learn how to keep concern from turning into worry. When I got the text at 7:02am from my chef saying there was a fire in the restaurant and the fire department was on the scene, it was another reinforcement of that reflexive response.
I had just gotten up, hadn’t fixed coffee yet, and was still blurry from sleep. As I read the simple text message, my mind began to race, envisioning possible scenarios of what could be happening. Was the whole building in flames? Was the entire Railyard burning down? Is anyone trapped? What could have caused it? Several questions like this flashed to mind, but the most important question had to be answered first.
What do I do?
While I’ve never dealt with a fire, I’ve seen enough crises to know that there are some givens to every situation. I’ll never feel fully equipped to deal with what lies ahead. It’s always going to feel like a kick in the gut. It’s always going to feel overwhelming, regardless of the incident. But whatever the case, the most important decision is to take the next step in the direction of the predicament.
The Good Shepherd of Psalm 23 describes the sheep being led through green pastures and quiet waters, but it also includes walking through the Valley of the Shadow. The key word here is through. We don’t get to go around it or avoid it. Life does not work that way. Crises are a part of everyday life. No one escapes to lead a so called charmed life. The Path of Life leads through the hard times, through the darkness.
In hindsight, the fire in our restaurant was small and relatively easy to recover from. But in that moment of notification, learning of it on Tuesday morning, it felt like the world was coming to an end. This will always be the case. We will never know how big, bad or insignificant the matter is without taking the next step toward it.