Ep. 96 - The Ph.D. in the Glitch - A Beacon Series Interview Ft. Hersch Wilson, author of "Firefighter Zen: A Field Guide To Thriving In Tough Times" by New World Library
So often, the guests I’ve spoken with on Find the Good News have been relevant to what was going on in my life, or in the world at the time. This hasn’t been intentional, or by design, necessarily; I talk to the guests in turn, accepting whatever good people come into my life through the Good News signal.
It’s a fascinating thing, really, to speak deeply with a guest and adopt, or understand, their worldview for the duration of these talks. I take the things we discuss seriously, and I’m always looking for something applicable and relevant that I can put to work in my very ordinary life. When I visited with Hersch Wilson, author of the new book “Firefighter Zen: A Field Guide To Thriving In Tough Times,” I had no idea that only a week after our conversation I would be asked to put everything in our talk, and his book, to the test.
You see, Hersch’s book is all about finding meaning, resilience, hope, and your personal metal during the difficult days that are sure to come, moments when everything you’ve trusted in crumbles before your eyes. Hersch, who has been a firefighter since 1986, calls these moments of discord and disruption “the glitch."
On August 27th, only 9 days after our conversation, Hurricane Laura barreled through Southwest Louisiana, and I—along with all the citizens of our region—got to experience the glitch first hand. Everything that I had read in Hersch’s book, and had taken away from our conversation, immediately came into play.
One day you’re planning your next podcast episode, tightening the screws on your existing comforts, thinking about how to navigate the existing glitches caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, the approaching civil boiling point, made worse by divisive, power-mad politicians in an election year, and the next you’re quickly making evacuation preparations, shoring up resources, leaving stability behind, eventually returning to a powerless region with no potable water, filled with shattered businesses, crippled infrastructures, desperate citizens, and obliterated homes. This was the glitch, and I, along with many others, was in it.
I thought of my conversation with Hersch often over then past weeks of stabilization and recovery. Hersch Wilson has found a way to navigate the glitch with practical wisdom and grace.
In this conversation, and in his book, Hersch does not skirt around difficult subjects and chooses instead to deal with life as it really is. He takes all the unsavory parts life brings as a whole, feeling its sometimes coarse, bumpy skin, then in the midst of it all, he offers perspective to help us do more than just survive; he shows us how to thrive.
I didn’t know just how grateful I would be to have read Hersch’s book in advance of the storm. Having the opportunity to visit with him ahead of this natural disaster ended up being a great gift. It was a blessing in the glitch, and I hope that our visit, and his book, will be the same for you.
Now, it’s time to look at things just as they are without the preconceived notions of this-and-that, then tune your attention to this Good News Beacon, and press play on a little good news.