Do you have a problem that you need to get off your shoulders?
Want to learn a fire-ground skill?
What about a trade skill?
Want to raise kids?
Have the perfect marriage?
Invest in a “sure thing”?
Book a cheap vacation?
There is something to be said about the magical and wondrous ability of the firehouse table. If you are lucky it’s probably older than you are. Hell… the sugar packet under that one wobbly leg might be older than you are. The men… people… HEROES- that have sat at this table have imbued it with every story. Every answer. You just have to sit down.
I remember my first shift. I cooked for my new crew and I went all out. We sat down at the table and for the first time that day. A strange kind of silence.
I guess it was good?
Shortly after the board games came out. Monopoly followed by a game of rummy.
If you have never played monopoly at the firehouse you will make friends and enemies with every roll. All of a sudden the on edge feeling I had felt all day was gone. I was having a good time… with my friends.
It wouldn’t be but a short time later I worked my first code. We did everything we could but we didn’t get them back.
Back at the station.
The guys were there at the table. We broke it down. What did we do? Did I follow my training? We broke down everything. I left feeling like I had accomplished something despite the outcome of the call.
The union sits and meets at that very table. A fight for equal benefits for all the men at our department. Every person no matter the rank has a voice.
Things get done. Men who are usually of very few words are able to sit back and captivate a room with stories of jobs worked, crazy calls,
“Hows the family? How are them babies doing? My goodness they are how old?”
Thanksgiving, Christmas, Easter. The chaplain prays over our meal and we eat together just like any family would. That is if your family could find a reason to make fun of how you eat. These guys can. But it’s all done in a way that you know they love you.
Coffee, breakfast, and snacks dropped off.
Books- study, study, and study some more. EMT is rough.
A late call.
I mean “Debriefing. No I’m kidding. Its donuts at 1am.
People come and go. New jobs, new station assignments.
Captains and Chiefs retire.
The table just stays there.
While I sit and think about the glory of this piece of furniture I hit a bump in the road.
I can’t say the same for my table at home. Am I too busy?
Is the show on tv really going anywhere? Why do I feel the need to eat in front of the tv when my table is there. Why am I not sitting down with my wife and kids to eat together, pray together?
Granted… my kids are 1 and 3. Monopoly is out of the question. I’d probably win every time.
“Hey girl, trade you that park place for a cookie” …. Sucker.
So I’m making a plan. A family decree.
Meals at the table. Together. We pray, eat, talk, and laugh. My home table will rival the firehouse table.
I have caught myself leaving a call and I turn to the captain…
“Let’s go home” I say.
If I can fall so in love with a firehouse I mistake it for home, how much more I can fall in love with my house. I just need to slow down. Stop striving for a perfection and enjoy what is in front of me.
Taking the time to just be together. The table at the firehouse isn’t special because it arrived to the house special. It’s special because WE made it special.
Now go home and get to work.
Matthew 18:20 (NLT)
20 For where two or three gather together as my followers, I am there among them.”