the pasta dish

The other night Officer AG (AKA the ammo + grace hubby) got home from his shift. It was about 1 am and I woke up to hear him taking off his uniform and banging around in his closet-you know, the usual. Since I hadn’t seem him for a few days (darn conflicting work schedules) I got up and stumbled into the office, blinking in the light as my eyes adjusted from my cozy bed.

We were sitting on the couch, catching up, when he put his still full plate of pasta back on the coffee table. “Is it good?” I asked him, confused, since normally he wolfs down his dinner. “Delicious” he replied. A few more minutes pass and the plate remains untouched, sitting on the coffee table heaped full of noodles and veggies and sauce.

“I saw a gross body today” Officer AG finally says, chuckling. “I was hungry, but the minute I started to eat I could smell it.”

I make a disgusted face and we laugh as he shares a bit more about his day and I tell him about mine. We move on, talking about our upcoming vacation and the darn printer I can’t seem to get to work. I scrape off his plate, stick it in the dishwasher, and we go to bed.

It’s moments like these-these seemingly small, unimportant moments where Officer AG can’t finish his dinner-that remind me of how horrid his job can be. I think that we tend to forget, as do our officers, how dark of a world they face on a regular basis.

When was the last time you couldn’t finish your dinner because you were remembering the odor of a rotting 5 day old corpse you were documenting a few hours earlier? When was the last time you saw a car seat in the store and remembered searching the freeway median for a fallen baby body after finding an empty car seat in the remains of a totaled vehicle? What about the last time you had to tell a stranger that their wife was dead, that their brother had OD’d, that their daughter was in jail, that their best friend was missing?

Our officer’s jobs are, for the most part, awesome. They have fun. They have purpose. They make a difference. They lay their lives down for us every day. But through that they also face immense amounts of pain and grief and sorrow. I’m not an officer, so I can’t understand what it’s like. But as a LEOW (and I know you all can relate) I can imagine the awful things they are surrounded by and wish more than anything that I could take away those ugly memories and feelings.

But I can’t. And you can’t, either.

But what we can do is listen. And hug. And be a light at the end of those dark days.

And we can turn to God and ask for His protection, for His goodness, for His healing. Our officers might wear bulletproof vests but those don’t protect their hearts. I’m not talking about their physical hearts, but their softness. Their empathy.

My daily prayer, along with the request for the safety of my officer, is the protection of his heart. That he comes home to me each day physically safe and emotionally healthy, and that he reaches out when he’s starting to feel broken.

Blue life is not an easy life and not for the faint of heart. But God knew that, and here we are, strong women created for a hard job. We might have some bad days, but boy, is this a great life.

Those who live in the shelter of the Most High will find rest in the shadow of the Almighty. This I declare about the Lord: He alone is my refuge, my place of safety; he is my God, and I trust him. For he will rescue you from every trap and protect you from deadly disease. He will cover you with his feathers. He will shelter you with his wings. His faithful promises are your armor and protection. Do not be afraid of the terrors of the night, nor the arrow that flies in the day. Do not dread the disease that stalks in darkness, nor the disaster that strikes at midday. Though a thousand fall at your side, though ten thousand are dying around you, these evils will not touch you.”
[Psalm 91:1-7]

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