“We are the blue so strong and confused, tracking down dusty roads finding what we lose. Dancing with the casualty spirits of the wars. Shedding a few tears for the beggars and the whores.” – Chuck Ragan It’s what you will
Tonight, I have swapped out the traditional ale with a red wine. A Cabernet, to be exact, from California Roots. Consuming said beverage adds a fancy feel to writing in a nearly dark room as my family sleeps upstairs. Not too bad for a $5 bottle of wine. Tonight’s thought was sparked by something my 3 year old son said to me as I walked out the door, on my to work as a police officer. He said “Come home Daddy, okay”. My response was “of course, buddy, Ill always come home”. I don’t often think about how my family interprets my job, hell, often I don’t know how it is I interpret it either. The job has become, well a job, and although the aspect of danger lingers overhead, I often ignore it.
A front row seat
Tonight my thoughts wander to what it is I see and how it is I perceive it. I have chosen a profession which puts me in the front row seat of tragedy, comedy, despair, evil and, at times, good. There is no filter or censorship. Things unfold as I try my best to understand what exactly is happening. This profession also has led me to work odd hours, making a “traditional” schedule nearly impossible. My wife is often a single mother, rallying my boys for bed time and doing her best to juggle work, home and sanity. I know she won’t say it, but I know she feels alone many nights and for that I am truly sorry.
I often think about those that become cynical or angry after years of exposure to these events and a complex schedule. I cant say I blame those who have chosen that path; however, how those nuggets of real life effect me is entirely up to me.
Is it worth it?
When I think about my 3 year old understanding the fact that my job is inherently dangerous, I wonder what I would tell him if he asks why I do it. Why risk anything at all? Is it worth it? My response may sound something like this:
The world is not all sunshine and rainbows, those who tell you it is are selling something (one of my favorite quotes). You cannot shy away from the things in life that may seem difficult or hard to understand. You cannot hope to be sheltered and protected from the worlds ability to wear you down. You cannot hope for an easy life, but you can build the strength to endure a tough one. Through my eyes I see the evil that lurks in homes of the mundane. Through my eyes I see what suffering truly looks like. And, through my eyes I see the desperate and broken. You may think these exposures break me. That they make me hardened and bitter; however, my exposure to evil allows me to see true good. My exposure to suffering instills gratitude for my life. My exposure to despair and the broken allow me to see cracks in my own foundation, things I need to fix. These lessons are learned hard and fast because you face them. Through my eyes I pick up those lessons and I apply them to my life.
Repercussions in the mind
The real challenge is understanding at which point these exposures lead to real distress. Of course, I cant experience these events without some kind of repercussion in my mind. Thoughts that may spiral out of control and reek havoc on my mental health. I understand completely that it is something I need to mitigate and address. It is not always easy.
It can be a hard and thankless job and it can be a rewarding one as well. It can be hard some days or easy on others. It’s a front row seat to real life. Lessons I can bring back to my kids. I value every evening at home with my family more than the “traditional” man. I am grateful for those moments with my wife and kids. I am grateful for my wife more than she can ever understand. So, maybe it is all worth it. Maybe those lessons will build a better father, husband and person. I feel it has; however, like anything worth fighting for in life, it takes work. Like Chuck Ragan said, “smell the roses and fight for something”. Those words often ignite my resolve to be better, present and grateful.
Well, the last sip has left the glass and its time to end this quick thought. Maybe it made sense. Maybe, it flowed and sparked thoughts in your own mind. But, now it’s time to turn in. Tomorrow will begin with a quick moment with my wife before she goes to work and coffee on the couch as my boys watch cartoons. The Moments I am grateful for everyday.