Kim Bentz

Kim Bentz
Fairfax, Virginia,
Middle aged and starting over, falling victim to the economic downturn and my own bad judgment. ---------------------------------------------- My mind has never been changed by force or angry voices. My thoughts, opinions and convictions have been changed by the gentle wisdom of kind friends; by thoughtful prose; by great reporting; by intelligent, not demeaning, persuasively written words; and by love. Of these, the loving chastisement, gently spoken has the most power to alter the course of my thoughts. ------------------------------------------------


JANUARY 14, 2010 1:46AM

Just Another Day on the Job

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He tells the story.  It's his job.  It's his work, what is a normal for him that he recognizes is not part of our daily lives.  He thinks we should see what he sees, know what he knows.  Then we would understand that when some people are convicted we would understand the nature of the dispicable things the convict had done and the appropriate level of punishment they require.

Apparently their relationship was troubled.  Or maybe it was just the guy that was troubled.  He decided he wanted to kill himself and take her with him.  He was driving his pickup at the time.  She was in the seat beside him.  He was driving down the road at a high rate of speed.  The road dead ended at another road.  At the far side of the T, the utility lane stretched out, a wide swath of green lawn with massive utility poles carrying service to tens of thousands of people, maybe even the military base at the far side of the river.   Between the road and the utility lane was a high dirt berm.  When his pickup hit the berm it didn't crumple as he thought.

 They went airborne.  The force of the crash made a horrible bloody mess.  Three days later when someone came across the truck, they were horrified to find them inside, rotting flesh and all.  The force of the crash threw him on top of her.

The emergency services arrived and they looked inside to figure out the best way to extract them and to assess the situation.  Her eyes opened.  They jumped.  Three days she laid there, his dead body on top of her, decomposing on top of her.  The details will be left to the imagination.  Too gruesome.

She lived.  He tried to kill her along with himself.  She lived.

And the guy telling the story told it over pizza.  Such is his job.  Such are the things he sees.  He sees what others don't want to see.  He deals with what others don't want to deal with.  He is there for some of the most horrible moments of people's lives.  He sees some of the worst that humanity has to deal out.

Whatever he is paid isn't enough.  He is one of those who can see this and show up the next day, and the day after that, and the day after that.  

 Because her eyes opened. Those are the ones that keep him going.


On a day like today, when we are hearing about the horror of the Haitian earthquake and feeling the inertia that comes when we simply don't know what to do, when the horror of something happening so far away makes use feel useless in our inability to provide active assistance, I can't help thinking about the emergency rescue worker who told the tale.  A lot more tales will come from the rescue workers who make their way to Haiti to help, many of them will be tragic; many bodies will be found.  Today I'm thinking about the workers, and what it takes for them to keep going.  Perhaps they don't focus on the dead.  They focus on the one whose eyes open.  I need to find a way to bring this attitude into my life.

Maybe this is how you deal with troubled students, when many will not be helped.  Maybe this is how counselors deal with the people who won't get better.  The look for the ones whose eyes are opened.

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