Posted by: Marie | October 1, 2010

(413) Part of something bigger – Part 1 of 2

Post #413
[Private journal entry written on Sunday, April 11, 2010]

Today dawned sunny, still and beautiful. The weather forecast promised a perfect spring day, complete with a high of 70 degrees (21 degrees Celsius). I dug out my hiking gear and loaded up my backpack with everything I might need for a day of navigating through desolate terrain.

I spent the 30-minute drive from my house to the search headquarters fighting back tears. I don’t know why this is so emotional for me. I don’t know the family. I don’t know anyone involved. There is just something about a community coming together to search for a lost girl that touches a very deep part of my soul.

About halfway through my commute, I finally gave in to the emotion and just let the tears flow. I figured I should get the emotion out of my body so I could be “pulled together” by the time I walked into the search headquarters.

Selflessness Forest by Martin Chen

Well, so much for that plan . . . as I was standing in line to sign in, the tears kept coming . . . and coming . . . and coming. After using up the three tissues I had brought in from the car, I had to step over to the snack table and get a stack of napkins.

Oh, bloody hell. Why do I have to be such an emotional person?

Finally, I just quit fighting and let the tears come. Still standing in line, I put my face into my hands and sobbed for a minute.

The people around me were looking at me in a compassionate, inquiring way . . . the sign-in people asked if I was okay, if I would be able to participate . . . if maybe I needed a minute by myself in a quiet space . . .

Yes, I’m fine . . . no, I don’t need a quiet space . . . I’m fine, just a bit emotional . . . all I need is to be given an assignment . . . give me something to do and then I’ll be fine. It’s all the standing around and waiting that’s getting to me. I need to be in action . . .

I finally made it through the sign-in process and found a seat in the briefing area. One of the first questions the briefing officer asked was if any of us had law enforcement, military or search/rescue experience. That caught my attention . . . I stuck my hand in the air.

(When I was a fire fighter and EMT, 15-20 years ago, I received quite a bit of advanced training/experience in search and technical rescue – and in incident command, which is the management of large, multi-agency emergency response scenarios.)

After hearing a summary of my training/experience, the officer assigned me to lead a team of ten people. Whoa! No more tears . . . I had a job to do!

For the rest of the briefing, I listened very carefully and took a ton of notes of what we were expected to do. I was very aware that, in just a few minutes, a lot of people would be turning to me for direction and leadership . . .

[Continued in the next post . . . ]

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