reflections on a Fire Captain

the best part about being in my thirties is that i’ve realized what i like and what i don’t like. i like ice cream, and popcorn (with extra butter), and lazy friday nights with my husband, and cooking, and reading new books, and of course the beach. i don’t like leftovers, and large parties where shallow conversation happens, and bad websites, and chewed gum, and most of all cold weather.

but more than anything else, i know that i like great leadership – and i absolutely can’t stand a situation where less than great leadership is tolerated and expected.

when my husband and i were living in our first apartment, there was a stretch of time (like many many months) when the building’s fire alarm would go off several times in the middle of the night. it was crazy. every night, beginning at 2 AM, this incredibly loud and obnoxious alarm would shriek in our bedroom and we would see red flashing lights, and we would hear doors slamming as people fled their apartments and children crying as their parents carried them down ten flights of stairs in the middle of the night. it was terrible. and it happened every night, 3-4 times per night, for several months. and the best part was there was never actually a fire. every night the system malfunctioned. i’m grateful there was never a fire that destroyed our home. i’m not grateful that the system was not able to function properly.

well you can imagine what began to happen, people started staying in their apartments when the alarm went off.  they knew it wasn’t a real fire, and they weren’t about to continue sacrificing their full eight hours of sleep for a faulty system. but my husband and i are rule followers so we continued to get out of bed every time the alarm went off – Every Time. and i grew to hate that alarm, but more than my hate for that alarm, i hated that no one was leading, and helping us figure out a solution for this terrible problem.

something needed to be done. we needed a leader. so i appointed myself the official Fire Captain of the 10th floor. a Fire Captain would be responsible for checking on the floor each night,and giving leadership and direction when an actual fire was occurring, helping to implement a strategy when real people were in real danger. it was a fabulous idea! and even though no one besides my husband and our next door neighbor knew that i was the official Fire Captain, i now felt confident that in a crisis situation we had a plan, and that someone would be leading in order to care for everyone on the floor.

because, as you know, that’s what happens when you are both blessed and cursed with the gift of leadership. it’s like you can never quite turn it off, even when you are trying desperately just to get a good’s night sleep, instead you must step in and lead. even if it’s a leadership role as silly as the Fire Captain.

i’m in my thirties now which means it’s finally time to be me. to be the leader i was designed to be. and so today, i’m embracing the Fire Captain inside of me. the leader who loves to solve problems, and build teams, and encourage innovative thinking. and today, i vow to celebrate extraordinary leadership and decidedly not tolerate poor leadership.

be blessed, be encouraged, and be reminded: it’s time to be you.


8 responses to this post.

  1. Don’t forget that you love to consume up to 51 grams of sugar in a Jamba Juice. 😉

    I would vote for you as the Fire Captain of the 10th floor. (but not the 9th floor – they have some really qualified people with years of experience.) 😉

    I like the addition of subscribe by email. Nice touch.


  2. Amy,
    I just love this story and had a vision of you in a fireman’s hat LOL.

    Seriously I had to post and tell you that the last line you wrote ( be reminded: it’s time to be you.) is part of my “sacred echo” today. Have you read that book? If not I will have to explain. But thank you as always for sharing your heart friend!
    Love and hugs!


  3. Posted by amyedolan on August 23, 2010 at 3:58 pm

    thanks, john!
    funny thing – i saw your brother this weekend and he didn’t tease me once about jamba juice! 🙂

    wendy, wish i did have a fireman’s hat, that would make my fire captain role complete!
    i haven’t read the book “sacred echo.” sounds lovely. tell me more!


  4. Posted by holly on August 24, 2010 at 12:53 am

    Amy!! I love this post and love that you’re embracing your 30’s, but you HAVE to tell me what happened with the fire alarms. did it ever stop or did you just move? WHY did it keep happening? I can’t imagine how terrible that would be…especially now that i have a toddler who rarely sleeps through the night. i would be BESIDE myself. So, just for my sense of closure, tell me the end of the story!


  5. Posted by amyedolan on August 24, 2010 at 3:01 pm

    hi holly! you are a true storyteller! always wanting to know the whole story!
    after a couple weeks, management replaced the alarm system – and the whole ordeal was finally over. and i remained the Fire Captain, even though my leadership was never needed.

    hope you are well –


    • Posted by holly on August 24, 2010 at 3:35 pm

      I’m sorry, it’s a compulsion! I love a good ending. 🙂 We are well, ministry is in FULL gear right now leaving me a little breathless, but all is well. Wish I could have made it over to Orange to say hi to you both. But at least we have this blog! LOL.


      • Posted by amyedolan on August 25, 2010 at 1:39 pm

        i love that we are catching up here! glad things are good by you – next time you are in chicago, please let me know! would love to see you!

  6. Posted by Wendy on August 30, 2010 at 5:10 pm

    The Sacred Echo is by Margaret Feinberg. It is about how sometimes God speaks to us in an echo. Like you will read a scripture that speaks to you. Then a song will come on the radio addressing the same thing the scripture did. Then maybe later that day a friend will speak something into your life about the same thing. It is an incredible book that is helping me grow in my prayer life. I highly recommend it.


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