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By Mark vonAppen

In days overflowing with uncertainty, soaring numbers of line of duty deaths, budget corrections, jump staffing, friends and mentors moving on, it would be easy enough to curl up in a ball, turn it all off, count your sick days or add up the days until retirement.  Many of us work for bosses who mimic characters from The Land of Oz, seeming to have no brain, courage, or heart.  As our fire engines and fire houses fall apart, we follow the golden road seeking answers only to find lies waiting for us from those pulling the strings from behind a curtain in a gleaming castle.  None of it is real and not much happens to make our difficult job any easier.  We struggle to make a broken system work and the ever growing chip on our shoulder gets heavier and heavier.  Most of our fears never materialize, yet a sickness can fester if left untreated.

We could sit around the table with hang dog expressions and pine for the days of old.  A vicious cycle of belly-aching, toward the organization or each other, can ensue that causes us to turn on one another and threatens the very family that we swear is so dear to all of us.  Passion becomes work and days become a swirling mess of hate speak and back biting.  The health of the family declines and as a result, people take more and more sick days.  

Let's get one thing straight, the old days are gone.  If we wish for the past, worry for a future that might not happen, the present goes by and we don't live the days that are right in front of us.

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