Life is like a dogsled team.
If you ain’t the lead dog,
the scenery never changes.
Police officers are a group of people dedicated to protecting the public. During my time on the job, I learned much about power, ethics, and their respective interpretations. The interpretations of those subjects vary profoundly, and always shift relative to one’s position/perception of power. This is similar to the dog sled team perspective.
When we are healthy it is easy to think we are the lead dog in our own life. I had health and further that, I had breeding and genes that meant I could author my own life. That breeding also meant I spoke with a neutral accent and the good fortune to have a “higher education”. Life was set!
So, knowing I couldn’t change the colour of my skin, my education could not be undone, and the neutral accent with which I spoke would always say more than I intended I needed to do my job in a fair and honest manner. If I was to make change then the change I could make was anchored in understanding my telegraphed privilege. It was then honed while listening to unexpected teachers. Those teachers were often discovered, educating me from their handcuffed position. They taught me to un-learn and re-program many a presumption. My next step was to infuse humility into my position of power. Once I did that I believed I had could warrant the trust bestowed upon my position.
Trust or not, the future caches unexpected detours. The camera foreshadows and documents those detours. Once documented, the camera waits for us to see the shot.
Infusing future strength.
The broken piece is the uniform.
Today the uniform is gone and my teachers no longer wear steel handcuffs. The pack pulling the sled has changed, and so has the sled.
I feel gratitude as I look at what the camera documented a mere three years ago. I now see the sunlit training days and deconstructed images as a part of the costume I donned. Today I know my teachers and they are different than my previously handcuffed sages. They are my canine compatriots and I know they work, gently, as they meld their wisdom with my view. They were always there, waiting for me to see.
Today’s post was inspired by someone I never met. His name is Chris Iwanowski and he led his pack. He influenced others, during his physical life, and continues to do so since his passing eight years ago. My gratitude today is to him, someone I never met. Know what we choose to do in our life does continue, forever. All you have to do is look at the fact that Lewis Grizzard is still being quoted and Chris Iwanowski is still driving his VW van.
Background to this post:
On May 4, 2017 I found an invitation in my email. It was an invitation to make my death playlist. The invitation was from the spouse of the man pictured above. That man passed away, 8 years ago, on the 4th of May. His spouse, Julia Grady, periodically shares timely insights. This year’s insight was profound and included a quote by Lewis Grizzard saying “life is like a dogsled team. If you ain’t the lead dog, the scenery never changes.”
You have just read how actions pay it forward. Now someone you don’t know, Julia Grady, is a part of your life. With that in mind, what shall you choose next time you press send? What will that emailed message germinate, today, tomorrow, and even …. yesterday?
JT Murphy signing off.