Friday, September 12, 2008

Gut Reactions

Yesterday marked the 7th anniversary of that fateful September 11th. No need to explain. We all know what happened that day. In my first blog, which can no longer be accessed via the web, (of which I do have a copy of on disk - thank you Julie), I wrote about that day. My clearest memory is holding Harper and falling to the ground and weeping.

It is now 7 years later.

There have been 7 anniversaries of the attack. So why, yesterday, did it stop me cold?

I took Zane to Great Harvest for a free slice-when it came to me.

Bring bread to our local fire department. At first, it seemed cheesy. But then, knowing that God speaks to me with spurts of ideas in my gut, I followed my instinct and decided that we would indeed bring a fresh, warm loaf to the firehouse.

I chose New York Marble Rye (which seemed appropriate) as a "thank you" to the men and women working at our local fire department. Had I been thinking better on my feet, I would have also brought one to the police station as well, but I wasn't that quick. I felt foggy and sad. A few women overheard me telling Zane why we were purchasing the bread, and commented on how thoughtful it was.

"Yeah. I don't know. It's kind of hitting me today" was my answer. They nodded.

Zane and I visited our local department and were shown around by a female firefighter who let Zane play with all the bells and whistles, and let him pump water from a 5 gallon portable tank. Together, they aimed at targets in the garage. Zane was thrilled that he could hit the target with the water from the hose. There didn't seem to be anyone else there, but she assured me there was, jokingly sharing that she was of the lowest rank and thus "manned" the office. I liked her. My sister could have easily been a firefighter. She reminded me of her.

I eventually met the others and we thanked them for their service to Evanston. Zane gave them the bread and we moved on.

Later that day I witnessed a conversation that increased my body temperature, had me break out into small hives, and after consult with George and a friend of mine who works for the government, had us contacting Homeland Security.

I would prefer not to go into detail, as I've already shared the situation with a few friends, who, thankfully, didn't find me to be racist, or an idiot, and affirmed me for listening to my gut.

Women tend to blow off their sense of "gut". We have such a strong sense of pleasing people and being accommodating and friendly, we don't want to hurt the feelings of others, and yet God has given us a unique inner "gut" for our protection. Having read "The Gift of Fear", I believe I have a pretty good sense of balance between being paranoid and recognizing true danger. And while the situation I encountered last night did not place me in immediate danger, the verbal exchange I overheard did cause the red flags of my gut to flap furiously. Homeland Security also affirmed that what I had overheard was a conversation of concern, and yet, there was really no way to follow through. And I understood that. I also called the manager of the store, fearful that she too, would think I was either racist or insane. Thankfully, she had overheard the entire conversation and had put in a call to the home office to find out what steps one should take when these situations arise.

For they will.

I don't want to walk around profiling people. And I really didn't turn my head in the direction of the man until I heard the verbal exchange, so, in my heart, I know I wasn't just basing my concern upon his physical appearance. Why would I have? He was a good looking, young guy, who looked like a student. No cause for alarm. No cause at all, until the conversation got weird.

I think I did the right thing. And yet I struggled. Truly struggled with what I should do. My biggest fear was that I would come out looking like a racist American. Or a paranoid wacko over-reacting on 9-11.

It begs to the question, "What would you do if you overheard or witnessed a situation that sent your red flags flying high"?

My gut was right on with bringing a Thank You gift to our firefighter's, so why should I question so deeply whether that same gut was right in urging me to call in what I overheard while shopping?

It's the same gut.

I mean, really, if I could change my "gut" from hour to hour or day after day, I would certainly choose one with more defined abdominals. It would be way flatter than mine.

Nope. A gut is a gut. Is a gut.

That's what I'm thinking anyway.

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