The scene has repeated itself so often that I wonder why I continue to find myself surprised. Regardless of how obvious things might seem to others, I fail to anticipate that life is never quite what it appears to be.
Everyone had plans in place. Local personnel had worked hand in hand with the regional teams. From the extensive list of reviews, workshops, and testing, I was confident that we were prepared. The obvious “if” on technology remained, however, except for this unknown, everything was good to go.
Initially it seemed that our known risk was the only loose end. Everything was accounted for! Yes, there was one small yellow flag in one part of the operations, however it did not tell us much so nobody worried about it. When the volumes that triggered flag did not begin to reduce, the internal warning bells within my head began to ring. Why was this flag still waiving?
I was not the only one wondering. While the initial flag was on improving our ability to handle the volumes, the larger question was simple. Why were the volumes this high?
The euphoria of getting through the first days morph into a new awareness. We were sailors surprised to have made land. “Once everyone was accounted for and we realized we had all made it, we learned that we were on the island of Malta.” (Acts 28.1) The flag began to tell us of a new reality. We may have thought our plans encompassed everything; they over covered so much. We believed we had the right checkpoints. We did not have any wrong ones. We just did not have everything we needed.
The next surprised me. Communities often want victims and points of failure. It seems integral to the perception they carry about themselves. This one was different. They embraced the present, asking what should they do now. One could feel the collective purpose and commitment. The need to find a reason to learn a lesson was replaced by the process of learning and solving the problem to move forward.