The 'BARKING OWL' always has something to say, and like the feathered version, can be either WISE...............or ANNOYING!

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Stretching Question One of...Five

Every day in the shipyard, workers gather in manageable groups of a few dozen, generally separated according to the various trades, and "stretch." Along with dozens of other fitters, I stand outside in whatever weather is beholden and go through a series of ligament warming, muscle waking, and bone bending exercises designed to prepare our bodies for a safe and productive day.

During this grind, one of the leaders begins to ask us some of the FOUR questions we should ask ourselves throughout the day.  I have come up with an additional QUESTION FIVE to ask myself every day, but first...


"How can I hurt myself today?"

I know; this question sounds suspicious.  "Why should I be looking for ways to hurt myself?" I wonder.  But the real meaning of the query is not really too far hidden.  Our supervisors want us to ask ourselves again and again, "Will the job I am about to do hurt me in some way, and if so, how can I avoid such an unfortunate consequence?"  Less suspicious, but harder to say when you're trying to touch your toes (WITHOUT bending your knees!).

This is in fact a very good question to ask in the shipyard where a guy like me might step off the deck of a ship and fall 40 feet to the concrete bottom of the dry dock, or inadvertently walk into an open manhole, or even klunk my head going through a tunnel.  I could easily forget to flip my welding shield down before striking an arc and thus burn my little retinas, or potentially leave off my protective sleeves and catch some hot slag on my left forearm a few inches below my wrist on a Tuesday morning...for example (The burn would certainly be healed and resolved by now, thank you for asking.).

More importantly, we should all consider such a question outside of the ship yard's chain link gates as well.  Stuff happens. And we must pay attention. As adults we appreciate the lessons our parents taught us so long ago don't we?   I know I still look both ways before I cross the street because this issue of potential danger was so well ingrained in me by their realistic and protective tutoring. But there are so many more dangers, not so readily identified as those we learned of as toddlers, that we must be prepared to counter every day.

There are many terrible hazards we modern folk have trivialized.  We have dangerously dismissed the idea that anybody can actually be hurt by the choices they make.  Those who dare to give warnings are mocked.  Those societal pesks who spend their lives suffering from the dire consequences of bad decisions are ignored or minimized or judged to be weak.  Some spend years rationalizing the harm done by bad parents, and end up repeating the awful pattern.  Others resist following such trails but gird themselves with bitter hatred, and live their lives linked to perpetrators by chains of unforgiveness.

Stretch yourself a little and let's answer QUESTION ONE as if it were meant the way it sounds.

How can I hurt myself today?

I could disobey my parents.
I could ignore my teachers.
I could hate cops.
I could refuse to vote.

I could "experiment".
I could embrace pornography.
I could start smoking/drinking/gambling/using drugs.

I could drop out of school.
I could quit my job.
I could move back home.

I could marry carelessly.
I could disdain my vows.
I could commit adultery.
I could divorce my spouse.
I could abandon my kids.

I could believe whatever I wanted to.
I could listen to fools.
I could dismiss God.

Better to work in the shipyard blindfolded, than face life without heeding good instruction.
By not listening to important warnings, I have often "hurt myself," but thankfully, have found that God can, and wants to redeem what I have lost.

By the way...MILLERWRITES copy is COPYRIGHTED. Why cut and paste when you can simply copy the link?

1 comment:

  1. How can I hurt myself today? Having injured myself twice during a road trip (which still continues), this seems like a good question to be asking.


I can't wait to see your response so, unless you can leave a pizza, please leave the next best thing; your comment!