Page 6 began in the usual way, at least for a Christmas break workday. With today being the final day of the school and preschool’s Christmas break, I didn’t have to be to work extremely early so I left home around 7 AM to begin my workday. We’re in a cold snap here with the air temperature barely above zero and the wind chill well below, so I began my day at work checking on the boilers and heating system. Once I had made the rounds through the building, I sat down at my desk to format and schedule next week’s prayer guide to be posted and sent out on Sunday. I had written it early in the week but realized today that I hadn’t finished getting it ready to be sent out. When that was complete, I began work on some writing projects I believe God is putting before me. I spent time jotting down ideas as they would roll through my head and they will become concepts to spend time meditating and praying about as I consider what God would have the outcome be.
As I worked, the sun fought its way across the frozen sky and the brush outside my office window soon filled with a variety of birds. Today’s photo is of a cardinal sitting out in the below zero wind chills with its dander all fluffed up as he enjoyed a freshly frozen berry. I bundled up in layers and was uncomfortably cold inside the truck as I drove into work this morning and here was this cardinal fluffing up his layers and calmly enjoying an outdoor snack.
By the middle part of the afternoon I began to transition from writing mode to cleaning mode as I needed to get the building ready for Sunday. In the midst of closing up my writing files, I noticed an online posting about a shooting at the airport in Fort Lauderdale. In that early post there was a link to the Broward County emergency scanner feed. While the news postings indicated a lone shooter who was in custody, the scanner communication indicated a chaotic scene that was filled with people I felt compelled to pray for. Even after national reports of the suspect in custody, calls were coming in on the scanner from officers reporting “shots fired” throughout the airport complex. Many of the calls were coming from officers who sounded like they were running and somewhat short of breath with sounds of what could at least pass as gunfire in the background. None of the official reports I have seen this evening indicate there was anything beyond the one gunman in a single terminal, but hearing the tension in the voices of law enforcement officers responding to reports of gunfire drew me to an afternoon of listening to the scanner traffic and praying for all of those responding to the situation and the volatility that it presented. In addition to praying for those who were willingly heading into an environment that had already become deadly, I also spent time praying for families and individuals who were caught up in an atmosphere that quickly changed from one of travel to one of fear and chaos. I prayed for those injured and for those who watched as others died. I prayed for courage for those all over our country who have answered the call to serve and protect and do so regardless of the risks.
As I reflect on the day, here are some thoughts/lessons that stand out to me:
- The same God that created the cardinal with the ability to survive outside in sub-zero temperatures, created mankind with the intelligence to design and build various means of producing warmth and shelter.
- Chaos often breeds more chaos.
- The difference between life and death is probably a finer line than most of us ever seriously consider.
- There are people around us every day who serve in law enforcement, fire & rescue squads, medical response teams, and other occupations where they willingly walk into dangerous situations to serve others. They need and deserve our respect, support, and prayers every day.
- As Christians, we have a message of grace and hope that needs to be heard in places that we will likely find uncomfortable and even dangerous. What will we do?