Ready Or Not, Here It Comes

Blog / Produced by The High Calling
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It was impossible to ignore. The shrill siren blasted through the hallways and the strobe lights flashed in a dizzying display. The dreaded fire drill. Why today of all days? I was just minutes from finishing my project. Why now? I decided to take the coward's path. I turned off my office lights and closed the door to hide from the safety captain as he swept the floor for stragglers. Of course, he found me, tapping away in front of the glow of my computer. He delivered a stern warning, chastizing me under the full force of his temporary authority. “You need to be serious about this,” he said, "After all, it could have been the real thing." I rolled my eyes and marched out with the others. He was right. The truth is, I don’t like the tedious monotony of preparation, but it’s necessary in my work – and in life.

They were ready

Nothing illustrates the benefits of preparation like the story of Air France Flight 358. The airplane overshot the runway at Toronto Pearson International a few years ago. Busting through the final retaining fence at 90 MPH, it finally dragged to a dramatic stop. The danger was just beginning for the 315 people on board. The bumpy landing caused a leak in the fuel tank. Heat and spark ignited a fast-moving fire. But the airport fire response crew was ready, arriving on the scene in an incredible 52 seconds, dousing the flames before anyone was injured. The quick response time is even more impressive when you consider that it had been 27 years since the last serious airport emergency. An entire generation of firefighters had come and gone without seeing a single incident. Put yourself in the boots of those firemen. Every week, for decades, the team trained and drilled. How long can you practice before you grow indifferent? How many times can the fire chief ring the bell and cry, “fire, fire, fire,” before you realize it’s just another exercise? But they were ready. And don't forget the other professionals involved who followed their workplace training -- the flight attendants, the crew and the tower. Everyone survived because everyone did the jobs they were trained to do. In the workplace, we all have to practice and train in a variety of ways. An executive must go over his material before he makes a presentation. A musician practices scales in private so she can perform in the spotlight. A carpenter hones his skills in his own garage before he builds yours.

Preparation for real life

I’m going to have my fair share of crises with work, relationships and illness. It’s not everyday when my airplane misses its mark and runs off the path. It’s not everyday that I have to swallow a bitter pill or deal with temptations’ guise. But when these things happen, I need to be ready. The best preparation I know is the stuff I do for my soul. I have certain routines that I repeat with great discipline, those weekly and daily practices of faith. For instance, I carve out daily times to pray and read Scripture. Some feed their minds with audio teachings or devotions. And others may find faithful observance through contemplative walks in in the silence of the evening air. It's easy to get complacent about these activities, but they are necessary and beneficial for not only the present, for the unforeseen future. Life will come at me, whether I’m ready, or not. Next time, I think I'll have a better attitude for the fire drill. Post by David Rupert Photo, "Fire Hydrant and a Fisherman," by Ali Levinshtein. Used with permission.
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