Each Tuesday, I pause and take stock for all the good things in my life – a weekly gratitude list. I give thanks for many reasons: it’s good for me, it helps me beat back the tide of negativity that crashes through my soul, it allows me to remember how much is right in the world.
Each week, I have the same opening paragraph, and then I launch into that week’s list.
But this week is different.
I can’t keep from crying this week.
I spend part of my week in Hattiesburg, Mississippi. My husband is from Hattiesburg. I teach in Hattiesburg.
And this week, Hattiesburg is in mourning.
Since I first started seeing the posts come across Facebook and Twitter, I’ve been overwhelmed. I think as I get older, the more emotional I get. I didn’t know Officer Tate or Officer Deen, but I’m wrecked.
I have loved a police officer or two in my day. I have good friends who have been or who are police officers. At one point in time, I spent so much time helping people study for the final academy exam that I thought I could probably pass it myself. Best friends have husbands or family members who serve.
As I said in a post on my Facebook page, it’s been a really long time since I knew the fear and anxiety of waiting for an officer to come home or the worry and terror that comes when you hear an officer is down, but I remember. And I hate that there are two families who are devastated and local law enforcement agencies left reeling.
This week I’m so very thankful that there are men and women who are willing to step into the brink and say, “I am the one. I’m on my way.”
I’m so thankful that there are men and women who sign up to risk their life for little pay, often needing to take second jobs to make ends meet.
I’m grateful that there are people who pay attention, who as a friend on Facebook said,
…were exactly where they wanted to be.
Officer Deen was a dedicated and experienced Police Officer who observed something in his designated patrol area that made him suspicious. Rather than looking the other way he made a stop to investigate further. His suspicions were correct. The car was occupied by armed felons. I don’t know where they were going or what their intentions were. We may never know. That is because Officer Deen and Officer Tate put themselves between those armed felons and the public. And that is what selfless and dedicated Police Officers are willing to do for us every day.
I’m thankful that the city of Hattiesburg has come together, that for the most part, there has been an outpouring of love and compassion. I’m grateful for the way cool heads prevail in the midst of this pain.I'm thankful that people recognize pain is pain - hurt isn't a competition. Click To Tweet
As I was driving home from work Monday night, I came upon the processional that was bringing Officer Dean home, and I have to say – I’m thankful for the reverence and respect shown to him and his fellow officers.
There will be time later to think and talk about law enforcement and our communities. I’m glad that Hattiesburg fully recognizes that, that we take this time to mourn.
Mostly, though, I’m humbled. I’m humbled that there are people who answer the call, who are willing to put their lives in jeopardy to protect mine. I am not that brave, nor am I that noble. I’m not that good.
I’m thankful there are people who are better than I am.
Thank you Officers Tate and Deen. May you rest well and may your families be comforted by the knowledge that the community their loved ones served mourns with you and recognizes the sacrifices made by both the officers and the families.