(Edited, originally written as a column for
The Police Chief Magazine, an IACP Publication:
Focus on Officer Wellness, Educating the Police Spouse)
"Fatigue roughens up the
edges of your nerves;
it exposes your fears
and your weakness.
Imagine my surprise one evening while walking down a seedy street in Portland, Oregon with my family, when without control my entire body froze and I began to shudder with fear. “Linda, let’s keep walking” my husband replied. I couldn’t move. I had just passed an alleyway that looked identical to the scene that I had created in my imagination, when hearing of my husband’s shooting many years prior.
My body was stiff as the words my husband used to describe the entanglement that happened between he and a suspect replayed in my mind and, also seemingly replayed right before my eyes. The sun was setting and the darkness was brewing, I could imagine the fight, the bodies rolling around on the ground, his fellow officer in training and her apprehension regarding getting involved and the eventual horror of the outcome. I was simply paralyzed.
Last summer, we left the comfort of our home and camped in a 21 foot travel trailer for 21 days. It was supposed to be what we would call “our sabbatical”. A time of refreshment after my husband, Brian’s, retirement and an entrance into more ministry opportunities
Linda Seitz, PeaksandValleys.life
Creating bountiful stories from our otherwise ordinary lives.
“I begin to think, that a calm is not
desirable in any situation in my life.
Man was made for action and for
bustle too, I believe.”
Last summer we took a camping trip to celebrate my husband’s retirement. We hitched the travel-trailer to the truck, filled up on gas and food, created a comfortable bed in the back seat for the dogs and headed off with the plan of driving all the way to South Dakota to see Mount Rushmore. During that trip, we basically “winged it” in regards to finding camping spots and landmarks to visit along the way.
One day, as we rounded the corner of a road that was seemingly unending, we came upon a beautiful view of the river down below and quickly turned into the campground that was along the water. Excitedly, we were enticed by the movement of the rushing water and quickly chose a campspot on the grass that had a pathway to the river.
That evening at sunset, with a glass of wine in hand, sitting lazily by the water, we made a decision to brave the river in the morning. The campground we were at offered “white water” rafting expeditions that you could sign up for in their general store. We had gone white water rafting before with a guide and a whole boatload of people, but this time it would be different. The clerk at the store fitted us for life vests, gave us our inflated canoe and sent us on our way. I asked if a guide would be coming with us and he replied, “No, the river’s water flow speed is acceptable for you guys to go on your own - of course we could give you individual canoes if you prefer, hardly ever does a couple go rafting together that they don’t come back divorced.” Ha, Ha…the laughter ensued as we picked up our raft and paddles and hit the water.
“When I stand before God
at the end of my life, I would
hope that I would not have
a single bit of talent left,
and could say, 'I used
everything you gave me’."
I was left sitting in shock after the phone call, wondering what it would have been like if I could have visited her just one more time. I spent days reminiscing about the way she asked questions to help equip me for the current task. Questions that would inevitably prompt me to study, learn and grow - but, also questions to help me delve into the purpose that God had designed for me, and she gave me the confidence to believe that I was capable of living it out. I should have been breathing in the goodness of the wisdom I had received from her as well as breathing out a whisper of thankfulness for the God-given gifts she used to pour into hurting people. But, oh how painful this loss turned out to be.
Marriage is tough, but it can be so character shaping. There are times you want to give up, throw in the towel, raise your fingers in a big “W” ‘whatever’, roll your eyes, sigh and walk away. But, I believe the growth is in the staying. The choice you make now to stay will benefit you in more ways than just keeping the marriage, it will pour into your maturity in ways you will not be able to comprehend until you are a little further down the road. You will just have to trust me on this one. Being mature is so much better than following your whim of chasing “happiness”.
The Ups and Downs of Life...