I know: right now, you probably don’t feel like much of a “gift” to anyone. It’s likely that you are physically tired. You feel mentally exhausted. You’ve been working as much OT and off-duty as possible. There are gifts to buy, bills to pay, a wife and kids whom you work your ass off to support.
You want them to have everything. Will you EVER get to the finish line? It can feel pretty darned discouraging at times.
WHEN THE SCALE TIPS
I’m in Chicago for a week to spend Christmas with my family. I went to a local uniform store here because the one at home only stocks two pairs of pants and one four-cell flashlight. The Chicago operation has everything I could imagine – and then some. It’s like a toy store for cops. I got myself a desperately needed pair of new off-duty boots.
While there, I chatted with a couple CPD guys. Seems we all have the same assholes – they just use different names. One cop looked like he had enough time on the job to be getting longevity checks. We commiserated about the state of his city, i.e. it’s a mess. In closing he said off-handedly, “I’ve got seventeen years in and just over thirteen before I am able to get out.”
My initial reaction is that he is well past the point of being excited about the J.O.B. He wasn’t bitter, angry or negative. His remark was said in a very matter-of-fact manner. In context, I heard: I’m here to do a job, I will do what’s expected but I don’t plan to the star performer in the department anytime soon. The ‘spark’ felt by so many in their early years is gone.
WHO LET THE AIR OUT OF THE BALLOONS?
I reflected back on my days working patrol full-time. Do you remember these moments?
- Working overnight on Christmas Eve when you really wanted to be home assembling toys for the kids for them to find on Christmas morning?
- Recall spending Thanksgiving Day sitting on your butt, babysitting some jerk in the hospital?
- For those working corrections: remember when you first realized that holidays never come inside those walls? Not for anyone – including you.
- Recall when you got stuck working and missed Christmas morning with your young kids? When you couldn’t go with the family to dinner at Grandma’s because you couldn’t get the day off?
You are not alone.
Your sacrifice will not go un-noticed.
You are actually doing God’s work. I know: it sounds corny. Bear with me for a moment. Practically speaking, God doesn’t do any of this stuff:
- Send emails
- Have a cell phone or leave voice mails
- He doesn’t have his own cable channel
So, if there is a God (I believe there is), is He interested in us? How does He communicate with us – if at all?
The first thing that comes to mind: he inspired mortal men to write a book of directions commonly referred to as, The Bible. That was a good start, but the story doesn’t end there.
If we listen with our hearts, God lets us know what’s up. A wise man once said, “If being a cop isn’t in your heart, likely you won’t be a good one.” In my heart? Ever heard it said that being a cop is a “calling?”
What’s a ‘calling?’ The job just ‘feels’ right. I know in my gut that I’m in the right place. My calling came late in life probably because I didn’t shut up long enough to be listening. But, I know with solemn certainty that coppery is where God wants me and it’s where I will be for the rest of my life.
My belief is often reaffirmed when I connect with a young cop in a distant agency where I’m going to be holding training classes. I usually ask the youngster when he first knew he would be a cop. I frequently hear, “When I was five (or six, or seven) years old. I’ve always known.” That is an example God blowing in our ears and talking to our hearts.
I AM A GIFT?
I read a recent posting from New Mexico officer named Joe recounting how Sgt. Bob Schnell had deeply and positively affected his life since his teens. Bob earned the nickname, ‘Robocop’ over his career. Schnell’s recent passing deeply gouged the emotions of many whom he had touched over his years in service. Joe’s eulogy closed with this statement: “Remember, you are someone’s Superman.”
With regard to those cops who feel ‘called’ to this work, with certainty, we have made an indelible mark on others at times without even realizing it happened. Just being who we are has changed the lives of others. With each touch, we demonstrate the love of God to those whom we encounter – even those we arrest.
Yes, we all get weary of the bullshit that inevitably comes with the job. Sadly, it most frequently comes from INSIDE the police station. We are frustrated with our peers and supervisors who search-out only the negatives, ignoring or marginalizing the truly good things that happen in our midst.
Occasionally, the depth, breadth and size of our personal sacrifice seems grossly unfair. I urge, beg and plead with you to press on. The next time any of us is feeling unduly put upon, I suggest you to think through this short Bible verse:
For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. John 3:16
Think on that for a moment. God gave his Son. Have ANY of us EVER made a sacrifice which EXCEEDS that one? Chew on that bit of history and then decide how you really feel.
You are someone’s Superman.
ON THIS CHRISTMAS DAY
I will close with another passage from the Bible. You may already know it. Whether or not you do, consider what it means in your life. It affects you every time you don your uniform and go out to do His work. He will always be at your side.
So Joseph also went up from the town of Nazareth in Galilee to Judea, to Bethlehem the town of David, because he belonged to the house and line of David. 5 He went there to register with Mary, who was pledged to be married to him and was expecting a child. 6 While they were there, the time came for the baby to be born, 7 and she gave birth to her firstborn, a son. She wrapped him in cloths and placed him in a manger, because there was no guest room available for them.
8 And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. 9 An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. 10 But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people. 11 Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord. 12 This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.”
13 Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying,
14 “Glory to God in the highest heaven, and on earth peace to those on whom his favor rests.”
NOW, IS OUR TIME
Consider this Christmas Day that God has called you to this life’s work – much as he called Mary to give birth to Jesus. Like Jesus, we are asked to minister to, guide and help the least among us.
Often, it’s really a struggle.
When those moments of doubt creep in – as they most certainly will – remember that your Brothers & Sisters in Blue share your calling, your struggles and your rewards. They are there to deliver God’s messages in times of need and they may have a message for you.
You are one of the blessed ones. You are someone’s Superman.
Thank God for you – YOU are the best gift of all.
At the bottom line, it’s all about saving just ONE life.
This article comes from the CopBlue Vault.
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