Years ago I was involved in taking someone down from a home made noose. I did this in uniform and the person, thankfully survived. I knew it was as close as I wanted to come to the place where the plan and the action met. Later I found out it was as close as that person ever wanted to come. They clearly experienced profound regret that became evident only once it was too late and out of their hands.
In the hospital the person quietly commented that there was a point where their plan met their action and it was then that they felt deep regret for their decision. They also explained that once in the middle of the onslaught of regret they were powerless to change what they had set in motion. This was said in a happenstance way, a disconnected way. It was said in a quiet low voice where if someone had not been listening the real message would have been missed. The real message came when they raised their eyes and knew they wanted to be alive. That happened as those eyes thanked two cops who happened to be close at hand.
That interaction may have been a total of an hour of their life. Rest assured that hour had about 59 minutes used up waiting for medical transport and subsequent care. That interaction is now a permanent part of the fabric of my life. It was a gift to be able to be there. There was a greater gift that person gave me. It was the knowledge that when action meets plan there is a point where we all regret what we may have set in motion. This applies to that dark place mentioned in this story but I know there are many opportunities to see what we set in motion could have been different, if we had listened to ourselves earlier.
A few weeks ago a 911 colleague sent me a link to the Ripple Effect Story by Kevin Hines. I watched the video and immediately wrote this post. This post has now sat dormant under the “Drafts” section for quite some time. Today is a freezing rain filled February Friday, just after Valentines. My humble heart goes out to Kevin Hines for speaking so bravely about something so scary. Have a boo at his short video and be prepared to be deeply moved. Don’t get caught up in his story, other than knowing there is always room to make change before choosing actions founded from the depths of despair and agonizing powerlessness.
Consider waiving that magic wand of yours called a cursor and send this to someone you know may be struggling. It could save their life and they may even send you a message of thanks, without having gone through the drama of any attempt.
This what I call the Ripple Effect. JT Murphy signing off for shift.