I generally just tried to keep my head above water during this times when I revisited all of the things I had started and stopped over the years.
When I look back, many times during my life I have found myself pursuing “things” in order to prove that I could accomplish something. I would take on a mission or a project just to numb the feeling of isolation in our law enforcement marriage, or numb the confusion of our spiritual lives being on different paths. Pursuing, progressing or trying new things can be a solid part of your growth in many ways, but doing it for the wrong reasons can invite some deep sadness. In my mind, I defined many of my starts and stops as “failures” and it is tough to get past.
I finished the year 2020 by taking in the themes, emotions, sights and sounds of the “Chronicles of Narnia”. Brian and I watched all three of those brilliant movies over the last few nights and appreciated them in a new way..
I was taken by the journeys the characters endured; those moments when they fiercely pressed on when encountering fear, uncertainty, loss, temptations, fighting people who did not have their best interest at heart and figuring out what weapons were essential. Spoiler alert; the primary weapon they used was a sword.
I could see the similarity of these journeys to what I saw in 2020, and there are a few words I'd like to freshen up for 2021...
This year has been a doozy so far! The year of 2020 will be known for introducing a new topic
of conversation that may have otherwise seemed quite odd. That topic would be,
You may overhear this question as you dine in the parking lot of your local restaurant, “So, what
vacations were cancelled for you this year?’ The answers range from places like Paris to New
York and Scotland to the Rocky Moutains. The facial expressions used by those telling stories
of their well-planned, but cancelled vacations look as sorrowful as if a
favorite puppy was lost in the process.
However, some people just shrug and say, “Oh, we hadn’t planned anything for this year.”
Gulp. That should be shocking.
There is an overwhelming message coming through loud and clear; people today are walking away from church.
Could it be that we’re reeling from the 2020 Quarantine that closed churches, prohibited singing and condemned community groups - isolating the believer from any kind of fellowship, so the idea of church naturally took a back seat?
Maybe it’s that we went to church for the reason of “checking the box” for the week, but never attended with any kind of conviction, so it was easy to leave when everything went online.
Possibly, we have some old wounds that are surfacing in our emotional life and we don’t really think church is the place to help fix anything, so we cocoon into safety, choosing a random television show for entertainment instead of researching a pastor’s website for the latest archived message.
Or…you’re a Law Enforcement Officer and you’ve experienced a fair amount of ugliness within the walls of a church during your career.
(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.
The Ups and Downs of Life...