To anyone who loves someone in law enforcement right now:
Maybe you hold them as they cry over something they saw on their shift. “I can still see his eyes before I fall asleep at night”…they hold their head in their hands as they tell you about performing CPR on a child who passed away. They tell you about holding the hand of a woman whose son was murdered. They tell you about working fatal car accidents and drug overdoses. It’s all so broken. You just want them to come home whole.
You watch your loved ones work through a pandemic. There is no sheltering in place for them. You watch them gingerly open the door after a shift, sanitizing the things they touch. They take their uniform straight to the washing machine as they try to keep you safe. They don’t have the luxury of keeping danger outside of the door. They have to run in when others can run away. The what-ifs keep you up at night, but you give thanks for the sound of the door creaking and the sound of Velcro unzipping. They are home.
You see what happened to George Floyd, and you break. You cannot fathom a cruelty that would strip a man of his breath. Of his dignity. You wonder how God will mend this shattered world, when and if He will wipe away these burning tears from our cheeks. You see your Black friends grieving and hurting and wondering how someone who swore to protect them could take their life. You want to tell them that this is not who we are or who we want to be. You grieve, hurt, and wonder too. You want a world that is wide enough and safe enough and fair enough for everyone.
You hear the last words of Officer Anthony Dia who gasped, “Tell my family I love them,” after he was shot in a Home Depot parking lot, and you break. You see cartoons depicting officers with knives to their throats. You see social media posts urging people to throw a brick at a cop today. You see signs that say “save a life, kill a cop.” There is so much you want to say, but you hold it back. You try to hold the forgiveness softly in your throat, but you shake as they leave for work again. Maybe they kiss your forehead and tell you it is going to be okay as you plead for them to stay. But they don’t. Even the cat stretches up and clings to the uniform for just a second before they walk out of the door for their shift. “Come home safe,” you say, but your smile is weak.
I see that you are carrying so many heavy things right now. You can let them fall at the cross. Jesus came to earth to bring all of His hurting people home safely. My friend, Jessica Ponder of Remnant Church, writes, “Jesus heals and forgives lepers, proud men, centurions, thieves, government officials, racially marginalized, unfaithful spouses, doubting friends, and oppressed peoples.” He came for the Samaritan woman, the sinners, the grief-stricken, the possessed, the blind, the paralyzed, the tax collectors, the powerful, the outcasts, the people whom we love and the people with whom we disagree, the people who have been kind to us, and the people who haven’t. Jesus loves, forgives, and comes to save all of us. We are all bleeding out and reaching out for His cloak. We are pleading for the suffering and for those paralyzed in fear. He hears us. Jesus touches the broken, bloody places in our bones and our hearts and our souls. His love and forgiveness restores us all.
Let your pain fall softly. The things that are hard, the things that are heavy, the things that are hurting—drop them to break open at the feet of Jesus. Let your tears fall into His hands. The Gospels say that Jesus comforts His disciples with these words: “Do not let your hearts be troubled. You believe in God; believe also in me. My Father’s house has many rooms; if that were not so, would I have told you that I am going there to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am. You know the way to the place where I am going” (John 14:1-3, NIV).
We know this fractured world is not our home. We have a long way to go. We have work to do. And in the meantime, I hope and pray that all of the people you love will come home safely.