(Tweaked reprint from my book, Lives Behind the Badge)
It’s a thankless job. Our officers are typically not given the accolades they deserve but what they are given are the midnight shifts, sleepless nights, mounds of paperwork, angry victims, whiny complainers, dangerous situations, little pay, and loads of stress. Then, to top it all off they get to come home to families who, unfortunately, are not always the most welcoming bunch, especially after many hours away from home.
There are bills that need to be paid, lawns needing attention, children starved for daddy time, wives wanting to express their 80,000 plus words, and Uncle Ed needing help to move that two-ton piano for the fifth time.
I remember on one such occasion, my man had been gone for several consecutive days. I was going through stress overload with household duties, kid issues, and a lack of outside friendships. I needed Rick’s undivided attention, but so did everyone else in town. Life for me was at an all-time stress high, and I didn’t think I could take much more. You could say that I wasn’t in a particularly thankful frame of mind.
At the sound of my boys bickering back and forth and my daughter whining in the hallway, I yelled “You kids are driving me crazy!” I often said that as a way to vent frustration. Not that I really meant I was actually going crazy, but sometimes being home alone with them continuously due to Rick’s work shift caused me to want to run away and hide somewhere for a very, VERY long time.
I began nursing and rehearsing thoughts that were less than becoming: Why was it that I was always the one ushering my children to ball practice and band concerts, fall dances or school plays? Why did I have to carve pumpkins and put together King Tut costumes? It was me that helped feed homeless kitties and bathed mangy dogs, not him. I was the one who repaired a hole in the wall or put a door back on its hinge. I paced the floor during the dark of the night while my toddler screamed in pain. Where was this man of mine?!
Just then, God interrupted my thoughts: You are the one I have given all these blessings to. You are the one who I’ve entrusted these three precious lives with, and you are the one who your husband chose with full confidence to care for such precious cargo. He is the one I’ve chosen to protect and serve the community, but you are the one to supervise the home.
At that moment I realized how much I had to be thankful for. God had blessed me with one terrific husband who was willing to work such long, tedious hours so that the five of us could enjoy all the good things in life.
Yes, he missed many of the special moments because duty called, but it brought a smile to my face just knowing that he could do his job unafraid of what he might walk into at his shift’s end. I was serving not only my family, but my God!
Our kids are grown now – three of the most fantastic human beings at ages 18, 22, and 24 1/2. It warms my heart when I see them conversing with one another in civilized tones, and even desiring to spend time with one another. I never thought it possible! Oh how quickly time has passed, but how thankful I am to have been given these opportunities.
“Lord, I am the one who is so blessed. I am the one who you have showered with such greatness. I am thankful.”
“A wife of noble character who can find?...Her husband has full confidence in her and lacks nothing of value. She brings him good, not harm, all the days of her life….She watches over the affairs of her household and does not eat the bread of idleness. Her children arise and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praises her.” Proverbs 31:10a, 11, 27-28
Have a blessed Thanksgiving,