He’s Just A Man

 

Is he a symbol or a man?

To you, he is a symbol of something more.

He’s a faceless uniform that walks the streets. You see his blue, you see his gun and shield. You see his car on the side of the road, and instinctively check to make sure you’re not speeding. You point him out to your child and smile. You call him “hero,” when catastrophe strikes, and you say “Thank you” when you pass him.

To you, he is a symbol of something more.

He stood on the side of the bridge with you, when you had lost all hope, and life seemed empty. His voice was quiet then, calm.  He asked you who you were, the names of those you love. He told you he had babies, too, and that he understood the weight that fatherhood can put on your heart. He reminded you of all the good that was still here for you, and that your life was worth so much more than you realized.

You never knew how afraid he was that the wrong word would leave his lips and send you into the swirling icy water below. You didn’t hear his heart pounding in his chest, or the sigh of relief he gave when you finally turned to take his hand.

To you, he is a symbol of something more.

That blue came in your home and took away your father. That blue showed up and you saw your mother cry. The gun he carries on his belt was out. His voice was loud and angry when you heard him. His eyes were watching you, and his heart was crushed, but you were only a child, and you didn’t understand.You didn’t know that the father who treated you so well, had murdered dozens without regret.

To you, he is a symbol of something more.

His hands pulled you out of hell – a hell that was all you’d ever known. You saw anger in his eyes, but not toward you. For the first time, you saw someone angry for you – angry for the abuse you’d suffered, the pain you’d lived through. In that moment as you watched him push the evil one away, you knew what it felt like to be safe.

He wrapped the blanket around you and held you tight, singing you the lullabies he sings to his own children. Your face is forever seared onto his heart – his heart that was broken that night for you, and will never be the same.

To you, he is a symbol of something more.

He’s the person to avoid, the face you lie to. His feet will chase you, his eyes will hunt you, and the crimes you thought no one saw – he will make you answer for them. You see him and you see the Law you didn’t obey.

To you, he is a symbol of something more.

You hate to think of him because his face was there beside you that night. The blood, the horror, the finality of death all around, and your body shook with agonizing cries as you watched him lift the tiny lifeless body off the ground. He came home that night and held his own sweet babe for hours. He still remembers you, and knows your name – he’ll remember it long after the memory of his face has faded for you.

To you, he is a symbol of something more.

He brought home your missing loved one, he found your stolen goods, he talked to your troubled child, he removed your violent spouse. You see his blue, you see his gun, you see his shield. Some of you love him, some of you hate him, some of you question him, some of you admire him.

He is a symbol to you.

To me – he is just a man.

He’s a man who holds my hand when I feel weak, and speaks the gentle words my heart needs.

He’s a man who walks beside me through the storm of life, and promises that when the sunshine comes again, he’ll still be there.

He’s a man who builds a home and family with me, plants in our garden, makes pancakes with our children. He starts dance parties in our living room, and YouTubes “hair styles” so he can learn to braid our daughter’s hair.

He’s a man who knows that courage isn’t always exciting, that honesty is sometimes painful. He understands that love, the love that transforms lives, cannot be selfish.

Each day he puts on his blue, straps his gun to his belt, and carries his shield to become a symbol of something more. He leaves us here to answer you – to warn you to slow down, to smile at your little ones, to find your missing loved one, to snatch another child from the depths of hell, to hold out his hand and bring a man from the brink of death.

When he kisses me goodbye, he’s just a man who loves me.

… a man who might never come home to kiss me again.

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