Being an EMT and having worked in the field for a period of time, I have a lot of interesting stories. As I look back, I find it interesting to see how many people would initiate a conversation about God, giving Him thanks—whether in complete distress or in a normal and relaxed state. On those occasions, I couldn’t help but wonder if they were calling upon Him because of their situation or if they already had a close relationship with God. We might ponder these questions because we project ourselves into the situation. No matter what the answer, it taught me to be sure to take a moment to thank Him for all that I have and all that I have been blessed with. We so often are caught up in this insane thing called life and surrounded by so many distractions that we forget to take real time to be thankful and happy.
Perhaps the best story in my EMS career relates to this in how it is important to be thankful for what you have, and to never forget the small and important things in life. Never forget the things that manifest who you are, the things you grew up on, and the persons and things that if you were without, would cause you to be lost and empty.
A fellow EMT once told me his most memorable moment working on the truck. Now many would think most of us would tell some gory and crazy story that would make you sick to your stomach about how much blood and guts we were holding together while doing CPR, pushing needles and drugs, and taking a blood pressure all at the same time. But, for the most part, it is the subtle moments and the ordinary people that affect us the most. Big and life changing moments can be so easily hidden and disguised as they are wrapped up and presented in small and unexpected ways. Here’s the story.
He was dispatched to a call for a non-emergency transport of a terminal cancer patient who was to be brought to his house so he could pass in the comfort of his home. As he loaded the man onto the stretcher and was taking him to the truck, the patient looked up and asked, “Are you happy with your life?” My fellow EMT responded, “Well yes of course, I have a job I love, a great family, and I am just plain happy.” The patient proceeded to say, “Well if there were two things I could go back and do, I would do them in a heart beat.” That was of course followed by the question, “What would those be?” The man began to tell him that he wished he could finish his schooling and get his college degree as he had become too busy and never got back around to it. My friend stated that he didn’t even have one himself, but inquired about the second wish. The man said, “I wish I could see my plane.” It turns out he was one of the original Tuskegee airmen who fought for our country. He knew that there was an exact model sitting on top of a barbecue restaurant about forty-five minutes away and began to show off the most sad and teary puppy dog eyes. He begged my friend to take him to it.
After coming up with a story to buy some time from dispatch about magically having a few flat tires, he agreed to take the patient to the plane. Once they arrived, he pulled up, shut the truck off and walked around back to get the patient. As he pulled him out he lined up the stretcher so the man could see the plane just right. He said he could see the joy and happiness in his eyes, and as the sun set down behind the tail of that plane, that patient passed away.
You see it was the little things, the important things that kept him uneasy, and in this life. He was so ready to be at peace and move on to the next, that the second he was satisfied in seeing the plane that was a part of who he was, he was able to pass on to the next life.