Did she call me or did I call her? Actually, I think I’m the one who initiated the call. I had just returned from an evening social event that many of those participating in the training session I’m attending in Andover, MA also attended. I’m not sure when I’ve been around so many people that I didn’t know. I won’t say that I was like a fish out of water because I know enough to introduce myself and engage in conversation with strangers. I can’t say that it is a favorite pastime, but I can ride for the brand and colleagues in the child welfare arena don’t usually intimidate me even if I don’t know them.
I was standing in line waiting for the shuttle to secure transportation to the after hours reception when someone looked at me and said: “You look so familiar to me”. She then looked at my nametag and said, “So you’re from Washington, D.C.” She then asked: “Do you ever travel to Texas? I know that I know you.”
I smiled and said: “I live in Texas”. As it turns out, I knew her although I didn’t recognize her in a setting miles from home. She works for the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services. We’ve both attended many of the same meetings across the past several years.
I was a little startled when the shuttle driver stepped out of the van. She was outfitted in a roaring twenties outfit. We were on our way to the Gatsby Mansion reportedly for “a roaring good time” filled the live music, good food, costumed characters and a really big crowd of people. After all, you’ve got to be the quintessential host to invite 400 people to your home. Actually, the Gatsby Mansion looked a lot like an office building to me, but I’m not going to suggest that. In the world of make believe, even a cardboard box can serve as a mansion or a fort. I remember that from my childhood.
The folks who arranged last night’s reception are also responsible for arranging for a ride to Faneuil Hall Marketplace in Boston later today for a minimal charge. Trust me, I jumped at the chance to get on the list and that was before I got the General’s mandate not to go at midnight.
I seldom know when the General reads my blog. It is a very rare occasion for her to comment or select “Like”. Seriously, how hard would it be to select “Like”? The other day I got a message from Facebook telling me that I collectively had received 44,000 likes (I’m giving you that number from memory – if it is off by 20 or 30, don’t hold that against me) but she hasn’t been responsible for the numerical count. I think with her I’m averaging fewer than half a dozen “likes” a year.
All that said, she obviously read my blog from yesterday. I took the risk to be transparent and added that I wasn’t going to be this close to Boston without seeing Boston even if I had to orchestrate a midnight ride (Pardon the pun, that sounds like a line Paul Revere obviously used). Oops, that was the wrong thing to put in my blog. I guess you could call it spousal redirection or maybe even and order from the General, but her words were closely akin to: “Don’t Go To Boston by yourself or at midnight. It isn’t safe!”
Fortunately, when I telephoned home and was greeted with the General’s sagely redirection: “Don’t go to Boston at midnight”, I had already opted for making a better plan. The General knows me well enough to know that telling me not to go probably wasn’t going to work. I was going to Boston. How could one be the close to Boston and not go?
In addition, as I thought about our conversation later, there are no guarantees related to safety. Who would have thought that an outdoor concert in Las Vegas could turn deadly at the hands of a crazed gunman? I still can’t quite wrap my head around a mass shooting leaving 59 people dead and over 500 injured. How does a round of gunfire last for ten to fifteen minutes? It defies understanding.
For that matter, who would have ever thought that the Boston Marathon could turn deadly? How long ago was that? I’m guessing three or four years. It wasn’t that long ago. In addition, it took place mid-afternoon close to the finish line in the light of day. The two bombs that detonated killed three people and injured hundreds.
No, when it comes to safety, even being wrapped in bubble wrap isn’t a guarantee that harm won’t come one’s way. Earthquakes, floods, mass killings, accidents – the list goes on and on.
I don’t want to be morose, but this side of eternity, ours is a broken world filled with broken people. Our only hope is in the One who holds tomorrow. For now, I’ve got to cut short the chronicling of my thoughts and get downstairs to a conference.
All My Best!