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This is a letter I roughed out when my husband was still actively in LE, but I felt like I wanted to share it because hopefully it will encourage you, too!
You know what, I think it’s time we sat down and had a talk, just you and me. We have something important in common – yep, that’s right. Him.
He’s my husband, and it’s safe to say he’s married to you, too.
After all, every time you call, no matter what plans we’ve made, he comes running. Whether it’s a domestic dispute, a natural disaster, or whatever else, he’s always ready to strap on his boots and duty belt and go to work for you.
And look, I know we have our differences sometimes. I know sometimes you need him more than I do and vice versa. But you have to know, it’s not easy for me to send him off with you.
After all, when he comes home, he’s tired. He’s stressed out. He’s anxious, overwhelmed, and depressed. He wavers between totally overwhelmed and wondering if he’s doing enough. Could he have done more? Every decision he had to make plays over and over in his mind as he wonders whether he could have (or should have) done something different.
When he takes off his gear, there’s still a heaviness to him that he can’t quite shake. I know that’s because of you, and it kills me sometimes.
Sometimes, it makes me wish he’d just give you up.
I also realize that’s not necessarily possible. You’re not just a job for him – you’re a calling. He’d feel lost without you, and I guess I can understand.
But I know that when he leaves me for you, he becomes someone else – out of absolute necessity. Otherwise, he couldn’t deal with the things you throw at him.
The awful criminals. The heinous crimes. The unfortunate victims and their families he has to console. The ghosts that haunt him every night because he wishes he could have done more.
They’re things that I know won’t ever leave him – not really.
When he leaves you, I’m the one who has to pick up the pieces. I’m his wife – I’m the one who sees him affected by everything. I see when he falls apart. I see the brokenness behind his eyes when he’s seen something else he desperately wishes he could unsee.
Even though I don’t always know all the details, I know enough. When he comes home and just sits on the bed with his head in his hands, I don’t need him to relive it. And to be totally honest, I don’t think I can handle knowing all the details. It’s why he’s doing it, not me.
But here’s why I wanted to have this little talk: I wish you’d be a little more gentle with him.
Don’t get me wrong. We both know he’s tough enough to dole out whatever you throw at him. He’s strong and he can do it. He wants to do it (if not just to ensure nobody else has to take his place.)
Can I ask you something – just one favor?
I know I can’t ask you to change. I know you never will. It’s just your nature to bring him the worst of the worst, and that’s okay. I’ve made my peace with that.
But if you wouldn’t mind just doing one thing for me? Make it worth it.
All that pain that he has to deal with? Show him the good, too.
Show him the difference he makes and why he matters. Remind him of how lives would be different without him.
Give him opportunities to be a light to the world, not just a sheepdog silently taking out the wolves. Show him how to connect with those who are brokenhearted – whether they’re “good guys” or “bad guys”.
Remind him that not all “bad guys” have to stay that way – and hey, maybe give him the opportunity to help someone be better than they were before.
Don’t just remind him of the victims he was unable to save, but also the ones who never became victims because he did his job to the best of his ability.
Show him not only the bad he prevents in the world, but also the good he puts out into it – the little acts of kindness he does for people that nobody ever sees.
Remind him every chance you get that even though there’s a lot of bad people out there, there’s a lot of good ones, too. They’re just a little less noisy, for the most part 🙂
Most of all, help him to see God in what he does. Help him to see his role in meting out justice, even if it doesn’t seem sufficient in this lifetime. Remind him that God sees everything – and that even if people appear to escape justice in this lifetime, they won’t be able to escape it in the next.
Help him to take comfort in that and recognize that if he’s doing his best, it’s enough.
Honestly, you and me? We’re never going to be best buds. But I think you can agree, he does enough for you. So please, help him remember the good – at least once in a while.