Eclectic, quirky, and sometimes edgy…this is how things look from my front porch.

Sunday, January 6, 2013

Horrible Day

Yuck.  Thursday was a horrible day.  As usual, I found two typos in my blog post after it was up.  Hate that.  I proofread it three times. 

I got in to trouble at work yesterday.  Now, everything turned out just fine.  I am not in trouble now.  However, it just gives me the shivers for anyone at work to think that I’ve done something wrong.  In fact, I don’t want anyone anywhere to think I’ve done something wrong.

I try very hard to do the right thing.  However, there are many gray areas in the division I work in.  Actually, there are many gray areas in law enforcement in general.  That’s where what is called “police discretion” come in.  Every single possible scenario cannot be covered in an SOP, so one must use educated judgment.

There are 39 other people in the state who do my job.  All of us work with a law enforcement officer who is more seasoned than we newbies.  Not everyone in my organization supported the idea from “on high” that created our unique positions.  Change is difficult in any big organization.  Heck, change is difficult for individuals, never mind hundreds of individuals at once.

My more senior colleague and I had not communicated effectively about an issue.  It was nothing deliberate on anyone’s part and certainly not that we were being slackers or trying to do the wrong thing.  However, when I got the speaker phone call from my direct supervisor and the officer, I was filled with dread.  I literally got sick to my stomach.  I fretted, worried, castigated myself, second guessed how I handled it, fumed…basically put myself through the wringer. 

I’m so Godly, right?  Not.  The Godly thing would have been to leave it in His capable hands.  As the Word says, “and having done all, stand.” Nope, I had two glasses of wine while out to dinner, my hands shook all night, and I didn’t sleep.  Jeepers.  Not that I think having a glass of wine is a bad thing, but drinking to calm down from being upset is not a good idea.

Where and when did I decide to leave out that part of the Word which promises, “There is now therefore no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus?”  Why is it that I think God’s promises apply to everyone except for me?  God knows the cure for every situation, which we can discover in His Word...except for poor, pitiful Annie.  She’s in trouble at work and she’s gonna get it!

After sleeping about an hour during the entire night, I got up and went to work.  My more senior co-worker called my cell phone and my stomach lurched.  I let it go to voice mail to give myself time to think briefly.  I was really angry that he had gone over my head to my supervisor before he ever talked to me.  I thought of being cold and distant for a second, you know, to punish him.  Of course that would make any interaction SO MUCH BETTER…not!

Golden rule, baby.  Treat him as you would want to be treated.  Love justice, seek mercy, and walk humbly with your God.  I forced my voice to be cordial when I called back.  He had several items for me to take care of. I took all the information down.  I took a deep breath and apologized to him for the trouble yesterday. You can always say that you’re sorry for a misunderstanding or a stressful situation.

Do you know what?  I’m not in any trouble. He told me that I didn’t need to apologize and that he was sorry, too.  We reviewed what happened.   We brainstormed strategies for better communication.  We realized that there were two issues that were a bit confusing for both of us, so we agreed to get clarification from our mutual supervisor.  We both hung up feeling like we could work together better

What would have happened if I threw a fit?  What would have happened if kept my voice cold – men hate that!  Would I have had a good outcome if I went to complain to my supervisor?   I don’t think I would have had such a positive result, do you?

Maybe I don’t immediately handle this kind of thing well, but thank God I was able to hear Him by the next day.  Thank God I listened to that still, small voice telling me what to do this morning.  Thank God I listened and I obeyed.

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

I swore I would never do it again, but I did.  I let go of updating the blog for what seemed like one day and now it has been three months.

Where to begin? Bruce started a wonderful new job just over the border in northern North Carolina.  He loves what he does and they love him.  If you told me a few months back that he would be working putting spy and communication equipment on aerostats, I would have said you were crazy.

Okay – what (you are asking) is an aerostat?  I’m glad you asked. A dirigible is a lighter than aircraft.  An aerostat is a kind of dirigible which doesn’t fly around like the Good Year Blimp does. Instead, aerostats are tethered to the ground to stay in place to hoist something aloft and keep it there. A blimp has just an outer shell and is filled with helium. 

The Hindenburg, of “oh the humanity” fame, is not a blimp, but actually a rigid airship.  If you recall the famous picture where the Hindenburg falls to earth in Lakehurst New Jersey, you can see the frame as the outer shell and the helium burns.  The Goodyear Blimp doesn’t have that shell.  There will be a test on this later.
After applying for so many jobs, this one came to him via a headhunter.  He never applied for it.  As a submariner, I’m sure that he never thought he’d be qualified for such a thing.  God has such a sense of humor.  There were 5 possible offers on the table.  Four of them involved the military contracting world.  Then the aerostat company came in out of left field.  I discounted it, but told God that I was open to whatever he had for us.  This was it.

I continue to love my job in the Sex Offender Investigative Unit of the state police agency which doesn’t like us to mention it directly in social media.  Valor, Service, Pride…that’s all I’ll say, you can figure it out!

People are often surprised that I find my job so rewarding.  They cite the kind of folks they imagine that I work around and the danger involved.  While I suppose there is some danger, the folks would surprise you.  Most of them are pretty much like you and I are.  They are also sinners, many of whom are now reformed and redeemed. 

What I didnt realize was that sex offenders are the lepers of modern society.  They are never forgiven by others and wear a stigma which makes their lives difficult forever.  And I do mean forever.  Offenses vary from the very minor to terribly heinous, but all of the offenders appear on the same Internet list with their picture, home, and work addresses disclosed. Not only are they stigmatized, but their entire families often are, too.

I received a touching Christmas card from one of them; “Thank you, Officer Bremer, for treating me like a human being.”  The job is not what I thought it would be and affords me many, many opportunities for ministry.

During this transition to a new year, I’ve spent some time in thought and prayer to figure out what I need to work on in 2013. Opportunity to seize more of what God has for me stretches before me. While there is room for much improvement, I have narrowed my focus down to a few areas of concentration which center around mindfulness and avoiding rushing.  I’ve come to realize that nothing, absolutely nothing, is accomplished when I rush.

I am also choosing to stay focused on people when I am with them.  I want to be engaged with and on people, whether loved ones, neighbor children or the public I serve.  Often, I am trying to multi-task or rushing through what folks are telling to get on to the next thing. 

I realized in December that I was doing that to a child.  I stopped myself.  That day after Sandy Hook, I realized that she was only there in front of me, eyes expectantly locked on mine, a beautiful 6 year old, for that moment.  She was more important than my cell phone, the garbage that needed to be emptied, and the hundred things that press me in at the holidays.

This year I will slow down.  I will fully engage with everything around me. I will see the beauty in the small things.  That’s my choice.