Christmas is a joyous time with family gatherings, parties and the birth of our savior, Jesus. As Emergency Medical Services Professionals we see people at their foulest time of their life. In this joyous time of the year, we continue to offer hope and care in the homes, roadways and nature. Working the profession we have been educated to perform, we bring expectation and compassionate care to the hurting public. It seems that the call that impacts us all is the suicide patient. Some ask, “Is Suicide More Common at Christmas Time? In December 20, 2017, an article in Psychology Today stated this, “People are most likely to commit suicide around Christmas time. False, Contrary to popular belief, the suicide rate peaks in the springtime, not the wintertime. This is probably because the rebirth that marks springtime accentuates feelings of hopelessness in those already suffering with it. In contrast, around Christmas time most people with suicidal thoughts are offered some degree of protection by the proximity of their relatives and the prospect, at least in the Northern Hemisphere, of ‘things getting better from here’. “
I take time during the Christmas season to remember loved ones who are not here to celebrate with us. It can turn toward the darkness but we should remember to look to the light.
John 8:12 King James Version (KJV)
12 Then spake Jesus again unto them, saying, I am the light of the world: he that followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life.
Like the star on the top of our Christmas Tree it gives light to the room, Jesus brings light to a lost world. The wise men followed the star to find the King of Jews. We see this in Matthew 2 , Now when Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judaea in the days of Herod the king, behold, there came wise men from the east to Jerusalem, 2 Saying, Where is he that is born King of the Jews? for we have seen his star in the east, and are come to worship him.
Like EMS brings hope, Jesus brings hope and new life. That hope began 2000 years ago when Mary gave birth to Jesus in a town of Bethlehem of Judea. Not in a hotel room but in a stable. Not laid in a bed but a manger. That tiny baby grew to a man to serve as the perfect sacrifice for all mankind. Remember God, Jesus and the Holy Spirit loves you! Remember Him during this season.
My heart is heavy today
My heart is heavy today thinking of the people who died in natural disasters in the past few months. As I write this, the deaths count stands at 139 people. I am speaking of the fires that ravaged entire neighborhoods in Paradise and other California towns, and the hurricanes, Florence and Michael that caused destruction in South Carolina and Florida. These people were warned and for whatever reason they choose not to head the warnings.
In 2005, I was with a group of students from Northark College on Dauphin Island when tropical depression Cindy approached from the Gulf of México. As I was not a native of the gulf I asked if we should evacuate the Island. Local’s all told me, “No, it would be a little blow.” I stayed in the house I had rented on the western end of the island. It started raining and the wind started to blow around 9 pm by midnight the house was shaking and the wind was roaring. I went out to move my vehicle and it was hub deep in the Gulf. I looked water in the front of the house and water in the back, no dry land to be seen. When the morning came, the island residence that I had asked was not home but during the night they had evacuated. If I ever find myself on the coast and they say storm I’m heading inland! I learned two valuable lesson. Don’t trust the local’s an if the officials say go, GO!
As Christians we have an obligation to warn others that destruction is coming. You can read about it in Ezekiel 33 New International Version (NIV)
33 The word of the Lord came to me: 2 “Son of man, speak to your people and say to them: ‘When I bring the sword against a land, and the people of the land choose one of their men and make him their watchman, 3 and he sees the sword coming against the land and blows the trumpet to warn the people, 4 then if anyone hears the trumpet but does not heed the warning and the sword comes and takes their life, their blood will be on their own head. 5 Since they heard the sound of the trumpet but did not heed the warning, their blood will be on their own head. If they had heeded the warning, they would have saved themselves. 6 But if the watchman sees the sword coming and does not blow the trumpet to warn the people and the sword comes and takes someone’s life, that person’s life will be taken because of their sin, but I will hold the watchman accountable for their blood.’
The Message is simple, Jesus is coming soon and I warn you to get your hearts and minds under his saving grace. As sure as our EMS License expires every two years, Jesus is returning for his people. Please head this warning because if you are not ready you will be lost. I love you and you have been warned!
If you have been in emergency service anytime at all there are smells that trigger emotional feelings. How do smells trigger such strong emotions and memories?
According to Psychology Today, “the answer is likely due to brain anatomy. Incoming smells are first processed by the olfactory bulb, which starts inside the nose and runs along the bottom of the brain. The olfactory bulb has direct connections to two brain areas that are strongly implicated in emotion and memory: the amygdala and hippocampus. Interestingly, visual, auditory (sound), and tactile (touch) information do not pass through these brain areas. This may be why olfaction, more than any other sense, is so successful at triggering emotions and memories.”
Some aromas from my career are the smell of a road ditch where antifreeze, oil, diesel, and mud have been mixed by the rescue crews as they extricate a patient with the smell of alcohol on their breath. The smell of the GI Bleed that is calling for help bathed in a cold sweat in a small bathroom. The smell after the house fire is extinguished and the firemen are doing rehab. Those smells have very strong emotions tied to my career but I pray the strongest aroma in my life is the Aroma of Christ. I hope my co-workers, my patients, my students and the world can smell His aroma on my life.
Paul wrote in 2 Corinthians 2:14, (NIV) “14 We thank God for the power Christ has given us. He leads us and makes us win in everything. He speaks through us wherever we go. The Good News is like a sweet smell to those who hear it. 15 We are a sweet smell of Christ that reaches up to God. It reaches out to those who are being saved from the punishment of sin and to those who are still lost in sin.”
What aroma are you emanating?
As we enter March 2018, if your year has been like mine, it has been a very busy time. Most people started off their year with New Year’s resolutions to make them a better person. The ancient Babylonians are said to have been the first people to make New Year’s resolutions, some 4,000 years ago. According to the Statistic Brain Research Institute in its January 2018 report, 42% of Americans make these resolutions. Americans determine to lose weight, start saving more money, start college or study harder, quit smoking, stop drinking or other good intentions. In the first week 72% are able to maintain our promise to yourself but by then end of January 58% of those good intentions have been broken. So if you were one of those who made a resolution and now have broken it, you are in the majority.
I am so glad that God didn’t make resolutions, but made promises! In 2 Corinthians 1:20 we read “For all the promises of God in him are yea, and in him Amen, unto the glory of God by us”
I praise God for his promises!
Words from the AEMTA Chaplain “Falling into the rut of ritual”
In our life we can fall into the rut of ritual. We wake up at the same time and get ready for the day. We might turn on the news and see what’s happening around the world. Then we eat a bite and out the door to work. Every day it’s the same old thing. If you think about it, it can become mundane, just plain boring. I have noticed that I have some rituals in my life. Let’s look a typical Sunday at my house. I get up, have breakfast, and contact my Son or Daughter-in-law to check to see if the grandsons are going with Papaw to church. Breakfast and a cup of coffee, out the door to pick up the boys then Sunday school. That is followed by rushing them to Kid’s Rock and then into the sanctuary for musical praise and preaching. Then the big discussion comes after the final amen when we decide where we are going to eat lunch. A big ritual! It could be scripted but every time we do something over and over it can become a ritual. We go through the motions without thinking about the consequences. When I read Exodus Moses was given a whole list of rituals in the wilderness. It was the Mosaic Law. It was all laid out for the Jewish people. All they needed to do was follow that ritual and God would bless. In the Old Testament, person after person tried to follow the law but they could never measure up. God had a plan to shake up this world. Go back to the beginning when it was simple; God would have a relationship with each person. In Genesis 3: 8 we read– And they heard the voice of the Lord God walking in the garden in the cool of the day: God was in the garden walking and looking for his creation Adam and Eve. The cool of the evening I believe would be the end of the day when our work is done. God would simply drop by for a visit to commune with his people. He wants to be in a friend relationship with you. In Revelation 3:20 God says 20 Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me.
Not rituals just open the door of your life and let him in, just think about a relationship with God, that’s all he wants. Stay safe!
The Christmas weeds
At this time of year we are all in a hurry, to get to parties, family gatherings or shopping for that perfect gift. As EMS professionals, we are almost always in a hurry to get to the emergency, to eat our meal before the next call or finish our reports. Things haven’t really changed much. When Jesus came the first time, everyone was in a hurry. They were ordered by the Roman government to report to the town of their heritage for a census and pay their taxes. The order had a date for them to be counted and pay. I can just imagine that little town of Bethlehem packed with the descendants of King David. I am sure when they arrived they were looking for this uncle or that aunt, searching for loved ones that they had not seen in years. Gathering to discuss the census, purchasing food and securing lodging would have been high on the list of activities for these weary travelers. It might have looked like a Black Friday of today! Into this confusion came a young couple, not high on the social ladder, with a pregnant unwed woman. Away from the resources that they needed, and no room, they settled for shelter in a stable. Did the crowds notice? I don’t think so, they were in the weeds. Like the weeds that I have growing in my garden that blocks the beauty of the flowers, this crowd could not see the beauty in Jesus’ birth. These weeds block our view of the people around us who are away from the resources they need for a good life. Go to any store, watch the people and you can tell the ones hurting and rushing. You can tell the ones who need your smile to brighten their day. These people need what EMS provides every day, help for the hurting. During this Christmas Season, get out of the weeds, look for the hurting and see the beauty that is around us.
God Bless and as always stay safe.
Have you ever been in a situation when your EMS radio could not reach dispatch or your cell phone has no service? You feel kind of disconnected, vulnerable, and all alone. You are cut off from your medical director, from backup and other means of support. You are as alone as if you are on a deserted island cut off from everyone. When you are out of touch fear can start building up and you start seeing trouble everywhere. The patient will appears to be in a worse condition, the ambulance motor will start to act up, and your confidence in your care will start to waver. You are truly in distress! I have been there when I felt as if I was all alone, on my own, facing my troubles and short comings. The good news is you are truly never alone. The Psalmist described it best we have a God that hears us in the middle of our trouble. Psalm 18:6 In my distress I called to the Lord; I cried to my God for help. From his temple he heard my voice; my cry came before him, into his ears.
Stay safe and be blessed!
K C Jones, NRP, NCEE
429 Skyline Dr
Harrison, AR 72601
As health care professionals, we see bodies that are old and worn out, broken by trauma, or the senseless actions of others. These can stay with us, lingering, hidden in our mind until a sight, a smell or something causes the feelings to flood back. These calls touch us in ways we don’t see until later and that is ok! We are taught not let these emotions restrict our actions on the scene or while we care for our patients, but when the call is over we need to take time to decompress, unwind, and relax. We need to find a confidant, someone with whom we can share our feelings without violating HIPAA. You can do this, we must do this. You always have one person in whom you can share and that is God. Some of us can take our feelings or emotions and bury them deep in our mind. Like cities that take trash and put into landfills covering it up; the trash is still there. Are we doing the same thing with our disturbing calls? We must seal the landfills of our mind with the gift we find in the solace of God’s strength. The bible states it this way…
My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.
Stay safe and be blessed.