For a while I committed myself to do a weekly blog. I write novels now for a living and so it seemed like a relatively easy thing to add a thousand or so word blog to my weekly schedule.
While I was writing and sending out my blogs I was getting wonderful feedback and almost enjoyed the self imposed deadlines. I soon realized that few things in life are easy – especially producing a regular blog.
I initially set aside an hour each week to write the blog, edit it, and send it out. The hour turned into two hours and sometimes three hours. (I tend to word smith until the cows come home and so a simple sentence took me far longer than it should have.)
The “weekly commitment” blurred a bit. What began as every week turned into every ten days or so, but I did maintain a somewhat regular schedule for a while.
Although I never quite reached a point where I ran out of things to say, I did run out of time to write about them and so one week I decided to drop out of this form of communication, not for good, just a short break to allow me to catch up on other commitments. I thought I would pick up again shortly thereafter, but the weeks without sending one out quickly added up and before I knew it – several months had passed.
There are always plenty of reasons for not doing something. In my case I had a new book to complete and send on to the printer… I really wanted to spend more time with my children and grandchildren… I had all sorts of additional responsibilities… as I said; there are always plenty of reasons for not doing something.
Decades ago I worked for Swift & Company and we had a really good controller. As with any large company, his department published various sales and recap reports each month. From time to time he would choose a report at random and just stop sending it out to the field. He waited for people to ask for it. If no one asked he just assumed that the pile of paper was merely gathering dust and permanently dropped it from the schedule.
I guess, subconsciously, I thought I would drop my blog and if no one asked about the sudden silence or when the next one was going to surface, I no longer needed to send one out.
Well, this week two things happened – first two separate people commented on my past blogs and asked why they haven’t seen a new one in a while and when the next one would be coming their way. Second, I heard about something that had just happened in Michigan that I really wanted to comment upon. As a result – here is a new blog. I am going to make a new effort to report on a somewhat more regular schedule to any and all that might have some interest in reading them.
So, what happened this week to spark my return to blogging?
I heard about an event involving a group of Oak Park, Michigan police and thirteen long haul truck drivers who banded together to try to help prevent a suicide.
Briefly, here are the details:
In the early hours of Tuesday, April 24th, local police received a 911 call advising them that a man was hovering on the edge of an overpass above the I-696 highway. It looked like he was about to jump to his death
The police issued a distress call to long haul truck drivers in the area. Their specific request was for driver’s to position their trucks underneath the overpass in an attempt to break the fall of the distressed man, should he actually jump.
With all traffic in both directions stopped and trucks closely parked under the bridge they effectively reduced the distance of a possible suicidal jump to five or six feet from what would have been a fourteen to sixteen foot drop to the roadway.
By four in the morning the police were able to talk the man off of the bridge.
As it turns out, this kind of police/citizen response is actually one that local police and truck drivers train for.
I heard this story while driving home late at night. It moved me in more ways than I can or would be willing to list here.
My daughter was born in Michigan. She went to the University of Michigan and i have a hundred thousand dollar jacket to prove it.
Michigan has been going through some tough times but their spirit and basic human kindness impressed me when i lived and worked there as it does today.
In a world where we often seem to be insulated, chained to our cell phones and almost unaware of those around us… this group of overworked and all too underappreciated local police and anonymous truck drivers – each with problems and concerns of their own – stopped to help someone they did not know nor might even have had reason to notice just a few minutes before.
No one asked if this troubled person was a conservative or a liberal.
No one cared who he voted for in the last presidential election – or if he voted at all.
There wasn’t a consideration if he was a Mexican or a man from Mars
Gay or straight, white, black or brown, a church goer or atheist.
Their only consideration was that this was a human being in trouble; someone who believed that his only solution to whatever hell he was experiencing was to end his life, then and there.
Perhaps what I am trying to say is that there is indeed hope for all of us yet.
Every one of us has the ability to make some difference to someone else – yes, there is indeed hope for us yet.
If this story moved you – even a teeny, tiny bit – I would ask you to put your cell phone away for a even a few minutes… look around you… stop and listen to those around you… yes, stop to smell the roses as corny as that may sound. Do something nice for a stranger.
Think about all of the many times in a day when you barely consciously say, “how are you?”, without pausing to hear the answer.
I’ll bet you pass numerous people as you rush through each day looking past everyone around you.
Take a small step – a simple smile is a great beginning.
If you or someone you cared about was that lost soul on that overpass, wouldn’t you feel some hope just knowing that other complete strangers stopped their lives in order to help you wake to a another sunrise?
If you were one of those drivers, pressured to get to your destination, totally wrapped up in your own world, what would you have done?
My mother had a saying, “You can never know what horrors are spinning out of control in other people’s heads. So assume they need a friend or at least they could benefit from someone who doesn’t add to their existing woes.”
I must admit that it took me more than 70 years of living in order to realize how wise she was.
Martin Herman lives halfway up a small mountain in Connecticut. He had a long and successful career of managing troubled businesses back to health.
While still in his early sixties he began a second career as an executive business consultant working with start-ups and troubled mature companies as a turn-around expert.
Now in his late seventies he is in his third career – a published novelist
He has found great pleasure writing mystery novels and has just released the fourth in his Will James Mystery series, “The Return to Sender Files” and a book of short stories written with his daughter, Aimee, a college English teacher and an accomplished author, poet and performance artist on her own. Their book, “A Very Special Dress and other stories” had its official launch at last fall’s “Big E” New England Fair, in Springfield, MA.
He is currently writing a biography of a 92 year old Hartford musician and the fifth book in his Will James Mystery series as well as a book on business basics with his daughter, Jessica Weitz.
With all of that going on he still finds time, most days, to stare out at the beautiful Connecticut sunrises and acknowledge the natural beauty all around him.