We had set up a 45 minute "no panic policy," because being in law enforcement means he often thinks he will be able to make the 9pm check in call all the way up until he gets a crazy dispatch at 8:59. I've always been a worrier, I've always been working on it... But knowing that I needed to table the worry for 45 minutes was good for me, because even a minor damage accident can take that long if people are being a pain.
So, we hit the 45 minute mark and I tried not to flip out. By 50 minutes I had texted him, "You ok?" I got no response. At the 57 minute mark Snuggs called and blurted out the following; "I'm okay. I'm pursuing some idiot with a shotgun, but I'll call you when I'm done." And he was gone. And I was left sitting on the other end of the line wishing he hadn't called at all.
A couple of months into dating a cop you only know enough to be dangerous to yourself. My mind raced. "He's out there in the big bad world literally chasing some maniac wielding a shotgun in the friggin dark. He says he's FINE? WHAT THE HECK! I'm just supposed to sit here in my jammies, two hours away, and feel okay about this? Please, God, keep him safe."
I loved him, but I didn't trust his training, I didn't trust his coworkers, and I was doing my very best at trying to trust God without a full understanding of what that even meant. Not to mention, right on the edge of engagement, I knew there was no way in the world I could go on without him. I did a lot of holding my breath, literally.
Flash forward a few years. In 9 days we will celebrate our 5 year wedding anniversary. We have two kids. I love him so much more than I did then, more than I even knew I could. I've learned to trust his training. I've learned to trust his coworkers, and I've learned a lot more about trusting God.
Now I know I could go on without him. Not that it wouldn't hurt like hell, or that the thought of it doesn't make me tear up and feel like vomiting, but I know I could go on. He has helped me create two children who would simply require that of me. I wonder sometimes if that was part of his child making plan.
I'm a strong woman in that I am capable of many things, but in loving him, and in his loving me, I've softened and weakened. I need him in a way I never thought I would. I love that. That's exactly how God intended it to be. But that also terrifies me for what my life would look like if he wasn't here with me anymore. I try not to think about that. It doesn't do anyone an ounce of good.
I no longer secretly wish he'd turn and run. That doesn't do any good either. It's not a job for him, it's a calling. It's part of who he is in the depths of his being. He wants, with all of his heart, to make this world a better place. When everyone else runs from the risk, LEOs run towards it. So my hope is that he will be strong and push on and catch the dirty crapper.
Nevertheless, about once a month I get a phone call or text message that still knocks the wind right out of me. Immediately, I pray. I pray the same prayer that I've prayed every time for the last three or so years. "Lord, be with him every breath and every step." Then, I open my eyes and go on with my life. I go on sweeping crumbs and wiping booties, I go on reading stories with my lap full of littles, I go on breathing, I go on.
Part of it is that I've learned to trust him, to trust his training, his judgement, his will to make it home. Part of it is that I've learned to trust his backup. I know the faces that go with the names. I know their wives and their kids. I know who will hold his hand and pray with him if he needs that. I know they want to make it home just as badly as he does, and will do everything in their power to make sure they all stay safe. It really is a brotherhood. Part of it is that I've heard enough stories, and seen enough footage that I've been a bit desensitized to it all.
But more than any of that, this is what makes the difference: the growth of my faith in God alone.
Being a Law Enforcement Officer's Wife isn't an easy job. The wife behind the badge. But it's driven me right to where I need to be, in the arms of my Creator.
I don't pray for God to keep him safe anymore. I want him to be safe, always. But, my will is not God's will. God has called him to be a hero, and that comes with a price, sometimes the heftiest price. God is in charge of that, just like He's in charge of everything else.
I've changed my prayer, and I can't foresee a time when I will stop praying the very same prayer I prayed today. "Lord, be with him every breath and every step." God knows I don't want him to go. I'm not ready for that. But I know that has zero bearing on when God calls him home. So, my hope for him today, and every day is that God would be right there with him. Lord, bless him. Lord, protect him. Lord, guide him. Lord, keep his focus sharp. I could go on and on, but God knows exactly what Snuggs needs far better than I do. So, I keep it simple. I keep it real.
"Lord, be with him every breath and every step."
And that is enough. It has to be enough. In Christ, alone, my hope is found.