One of my neighbors who’s mentoring me a bit on guns and gardening gave me some great advice that I thought I would pass along to you. He has an ineffable military background and trains in our regional EMTs and Firemen and road crews.
Due to my parishioners trying to make me civilized (they will fail!) – what with them bringing over an otherwise to be junked outdoor table from the church and getting me a couple of chairs – we sat on the back porch of the rectory. Here are some salient quotes which he also uses for training:
- “Insisting that you have ‘No fear!’ will make you panic.” In other words, if you pretend you have no fear you will panic and then you are worse than useless. Let fear work for you to make you clear-headed, to make you slow down. Pretending you have no fear makes you speed up to prove it to yourself, but that’s when you make mistakes. Admit the fear, but let it work for you.
- “I will risk a little under a well structured plan to save a savable life.” In other words, let your fear be controlled by reason so that you use your training to risk as little as possible but only to save a savable life. He gave an example for the fire fighting world: if flames are pouring out of all the windows and the roof is sagging and just about to cave in, don’t go in even if it’s your own family in there, as they will be long dead, and this must be about rescue at this point and not recovery. Stupid heroism isn’t heroism; it’s just stupid. Then we spoke of the Medal of Honor, risking a lot under an impromptu plan to save others often without knowing what their conditions might be. In other words, risking your life (a lot) under the only plan available for a life that is to be considered savable unless conditions prove otherwise (with all this being consonant with the above). We must be able to count on our brothers when we need them.
- “Pray to Saint Michael.” Good Baptist that he is, he showed me the Saint Michael medal which he wears to this day, pointing out in particular the sword that Saint Michael carries at the bidding of God Himself. Yes, indeed. Not knowing I just wrote about this, he brought up the image of the good shepherd with the staff. Useless is the shepherd who has long found no use for his staff, having made friends with all the wolves to the horror of the sheep who are eaten and just killed for the hell of it, even while the shepherd congratulates himself as being a “man of consensus.”
Of course, there are many other things to say about shepherds and any staff. Patience!