Jul. 13, 2016

Let's wrap this up, shall we?


I am a daughter, a sister, a wife, a mother, a grandmother, a colleague, and a friend. I am a woman and I think like a woman. My husband and I constantly discuss that I cannot possibly know or understand how he feels as a son, brother, husband, father, grandfather, fireman, safety professional, and friend. Tommy and I realize many of us believe we know what everyone else should be thinking and think we know how they feel. This is simply untrue.

I have multiple friends who are wives, mothers, daughters, colleagues and friends of police officers. I cannot claim that I know how they feel, but I can assure you – I know fear.

My oldest son has been in the military since 1999. When he joined the military, it was a tremendous shock to my heart and my soul. If you were to line up my three sons when they were little boys and tell me, “One of your sons will go into the military…” I just can’t say that I would have picked this son. He has such a sweet spirit that has been so bruised by his career. But, it was his choice. He felt called to do it and we continue to walk with him every step of the way. We are so proud of him. Let me repeat – as a mother of a soldier, I know fear.

My middle son recently gave up a career teaching at the university level to fulfill his lifelong dream of being a firefighter. He has always been special. No more special than his brothers, but special in his own sort of way. He has battled bullies most of his life. He was brilliant in a world where athletic skill mattered more than academic giftedness. I use to tell him that Deer Park appreciates brute more than brains. Let me tell you one more time as the mother and wife of a firefighter – I know fear.

My youngest son works in Emergency Response and recently took a very important job in New York City. I praise God that two of his friends from Deer Park made the move to NYC long before he did so that he has friends to live with and friends to watch out for him. He is my baby. He is my "BB." People say things like, “Oh, no! New York City!? Aren’t you scared?” Let me be perfectly clear – yes, I am afraid.

I keep searching for words to say to those friends with police officers in their family. I keep remembering my African American friends’ words as they share what their sons have to endure being a person of color in the South. I respond to the prayer requests from both sides of the civil unrest. There is nothing I can say to take away pain, anger, frustration, hate (I know…I know…you don’t “hate” anyone), disharmony and fear.

There are no words. However, I want to share with you how I’ve learned to deal with fear. It sounds so simple, but is so very complex. It took me years to grasp this solution to my sleepless nights and panic attacks. I vehemently rejected it throughout my soldier son’s first and second deployments. I avoided it with my second son by telling him that he is too gifted not to teach. I’ve faced it head on with my youngest child who recently selected a career in “pandemic diseases,” because, quite frankly, he pretty much lets me know he can handle things by himself. Oh, I know that he loves me, but he does not allow the mama button to kick in when he has decisions to make regarding his future. He asks my opinion and I give it intellectually; not emotionally. (I’m not really sure any of my sons enjoy female emotional stuff.)

To the mothers, wives, sisters, daughters, girlfriends, and loved ones of our present day police – God sees what is happening. God knows the root problem. God hears your prayers.

To the mothers, wives, sisters, daughters, girlfriends, and loved ones of struggling black men – God sees what is happening. God knows the root problem. God hears your prayers.

“At what time I am afraid, I will put my trust in Thee.” Psalm 56:3

One short little Bible verse carries me through the moments of panic and those times I simply do not feel like I can pray another word. Say the verse. Pray the verse. Ask God to help you believe the verse and put the verse into action.

I know fear. I also know the Conqueror of fear. His name is Jesus. I wrap myself in His love knowing and understanding that He is connected not only to my heart, but also to the hearts and lives of my children.

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