We’ll be taking advantage of the More button on this one, kids, so as not to make this a mile long. So, last Monday, I separated from my employer. This leaves me without a job, and with even more debt to deal with. I’m not afraid, though. I know that God’s hand is still moving through all this. I have no idea how we’re going to make ends meet until I find something else, but I know that meet they will.
If you’ve been curious as to the meaning behind my veiled clues regarding a new direction, yesterday, I took the SELECT exam. That’s the Sarpy Exclusive Law Enforcement Candidate Test. It’s a requirement to become a sworn officer for the cities of Papillion and Bellevue, or a Deputy Sheriff for Sarpy County. Deputy Mose has a nice ring to it, does it not? Kidding aside, I’m extremely excited about the chance that this could go through. I’m sure I did just fine on the written tests. I’ve never been a math genius, but the questions weren’t that hard. I sailed through the language and reading portions. I was a little worried about the physical agility test. Turns out to have been a cake walk. The time limit is 2:45. I finished at 1:44. Hopefully, I rank high enough to get called in for an interview and have them run the background. I have awesome references for this kind of thing. With some divine providence, I’ll be spending January through March in Grand Island at the Nebraska Law Enforcement Training Center.
I know I’m getting ahead of myself thinking that far out, but I’m just excited about the opportunity to do something that makes some kind of difference in this world. In my past job, I was expected to help pushy salespeople bend and break any and all rules to bring in more money. It was the most infuriatingly boring position I’ve ever held. 49% of my day was nothing more than taking a 40 second call, calling someone else and saying, “Can you expedite this transfer? Thanks.” 49% of the day was taking a 20 second call, then clicking 4 times to add a promotion. The other 2% was done on real work, solving actual problems. This was a supervisor-level position, mind you. At the end of the day, I did nothing but help greedy rich people get more money or free toys. I witnessed blatantly unethical behavior that I was expected to coddle, cover up, and even assist with (Of course we were supposed to “report” that kind of thing [wing wink, nudge nudge]). I’m glad to be gone and have my hands clean of the entire situation.
If I can get on with any of the departments around here, I’ll have the opportunity to spend my day actually doing something. Now, I don’t expect a glamorous TV life from this, should God bless me with the opportunity. Your average Officer Joe does a lot of boring stuff. Guarding traffic accidents and crime scenes for hours certainly isn’t “fun.” A couple of hours a day on paperwork isn’t “thrilling.” There’s going to be that kind of thing with any job, though. At least in this capacity, I will have the chance to positively affect people’s lives, both by assisting those in need, and helping capture violators to ensure they face justice or are taken off the street.
I don’t necessarily want to take this in a melancholy direction, but that’s where it’s leading me. Sorry.
A lot of the motivation behind this comes from wanting to be able to look back on my life and see that I made a difference somewhere in someone’s life. I’ve often wondered, “If I were to die, who would show up at my funeral? Who would care enough to actually come?” I’ve come to the conclusion in the past that it would be my family, my wife’s immediately family, maybe a few people from church, and my best friend would probably make the trip out here to attend. That’s like 15-20 people, tops. I really can’t imagine anyone else even bothering with it. When my grandfather passed away a few years back, I was in awe at the funeral. There were 100 people there; people that loved him. People whose lives he had touched and left a lasting impression.
He was a Korean and Vietnam war vet. Within two days of his passing, the VFW called my grandmother to get permission to leave a marker for him. They had never met him, but they did this because he was a brother in arms. He served his country the same way they had and made the same sacrifices for country and for family. Would any random stranger stock brokers show up at my funeral out of camaraderie? No. There’s no nobility in commerce.
I see the same when I look at my own father’s service. He’s spent the last 29 years or so in the Air Force or working as a contractor on base. He sacrificed a lot for his service and for our family, and did so honorably. He’s always been my example of how to be a man, a father, and the head of a household. Will my kids be able to say the same? At the same time, I want him to be able to look at my life and be proud of what I’ve done with the talents and gifts that he and my mother nurtured and tended to.
Looking back, I’m extremely proud of my grandfather and my father, and all of the things they accomplished in their lives. There, at the funeral, I looked at myself and said, “What have I done with my life?” I answered myself with scripture. “But when I turned to all the works that my hands had wrought, and to the toil at which I had taken such pains, behold! all was vanity and a chase after wind, with nothing gained under the sun.” That’s when this seed was planted.
Now I have a chance to see it to fruition. I can’t wait to see what God accomplishes through this.
I am ready.