My husband is a new firefighter. It has almost been a year since he started his initial training. I was not ready or prepared for the call I got this past Saturday. Vivi, our almost 2-year-old, and I were driving home from Chic-fil-a and she was singing a song about her chicken nuggets (perhaps we eat there too much) when my husband called. He was on shift with our fire department. He said I didn’t need to worry and that he was ok. Why wouldn’t you be ok? He told me he had been in the middle of a gun battle, but that he wasn’t hit. Then he rushed off the phone. Wait. what? I understand that there are hazards to being a firefighter. They fight fire. I get that. However, why would anyone shoot at a firefighter? We live in Tallahassee, FL. Not a big urban area. It is a nice small town to me. Coming from New Orleans, it seems almost quaint. When we moved here with my family 15 + years ago, I thought there were trees everywhere! So, that being said, I never thought anyone would shoot at firefighters, well ever, but especially in this town.
We are coming out of a shooting on our college campus, Florida State University, several days earlier, and then this? I am not shocked. I don’t hold that sentiment that I didn’t think it could or would happen to us. People are people no matter the location. It just wasn’t in the forefront of my mind. I believe that mental illness is a very important issue that keeps presenting itself in traumatic ways.That is a whole other post.
After he hung up, I wasn’t sure what to do. How to feel. I felt numb at first. How should I handle this? So, I called my mom. I texted him and asked a million questions. I started to worry about his fellow firefighters, about the people involved. Yes, he was ok physically, but what had happened? I just wanted to touch him, see and feel for myself. I felt angry and lost in that emotion. Why? In a way, it still doesn’t seem real. Everything happened in about 12 minutes at the burning house. His truck had pulled up to fight a fire that happened to be in the middle of a gun battle. To learn that a person had intentionally lit his home on fire to lure first responders there to kill them was overwhelming. A sheriff’s deputy lost his life because he was first on scene. The other wounded deputy was taking fire as he told the unarmed firefighters to get out of harm’s way. There are bullet holes in the fire engine. It is only because of the bravery and quick thinking of our first responders that my husband is alive.
I will not dwell on this and he will go back to work, as planned. I believe that firefighting is a calling for him. He is wonderful at helping others. He has a servant’s heart. I will not lay awake and worry for his safety. I know that God is in control. That is not to say he is immune from getting injured or killed. That is always a possibility in his line of work, but it is really a possibility for anyone anywhere. Saying that God is in control, for me, means that this life is temporary. I know that is much easier to say than to live when something horrific happens. My husband came home. There was a wife who didn’t get to hug her husband again. That is my reality now. I think that often times the spouse gets forgotten. That is fine. None of us need recognition. Just know that there is a person behind the first responder. We don’t get to know what happens until it is over! That is hard for me. I am doing the whole parenting thing by myself every other night. I love my child more than anything, but she can be quite difficult! (No clue where she gets that from….) I am just now, in all my 31 years, learning that it isn’t all about me. This is our life together and his career does affect me. We have to support each other or it will be too much. I know he misses us and he has a stressful job. I know he would like to trade places sometimes. I am realizing how stressful more and more each day. He literally risks his life for people he has never met. The selfish part of me says, “STOP THAT RIGHT NOW!” I want him for me and Vivi! Yet, that is one of the qualities I love so much about him.
I felt a true peace as I sat in church with him the next day. I know from the depths of my soul that it is because of the prayers from my family, friends and church that he was alive. I get stronger in my faith daily. I am learning to trust fully in God, to leave worry behind. For me, it is a daily thing. I have to lay it at the cross constantly in prayer. No matter what happens, I am not in control, God is. There is no way for me to stay sober or alive without that assurance. A marriage is a team. We work together. Together, we have dedicated our lives to helping others. I don’t put gear on (well, unless you count my jewelry) to go to work everyday. We both have different roles. We have to make decisions to support the other. I think I am finally understanding that.
I can never forget that there are people out there with evil intentions. People that want to kill others for no logical reason. The tough part about it is that those people need and deserve Christ’s love just like everyone else. We, Christian’s can only win the battle with the love of our Savior. Don’t fuel the fire by pouring hate on it. That helps no one, but our enemy. He can’t walk into every fire that a gunman is there waiting to harm him. We can’t live that way. That is where relying on God comes in.
I haven’t written in a while because I have focused on my Chloe + Isabel business to help make some money! I miss writing and I have been told that others miss me writing as well. After this weekend, I had so many bottled up emotions I wanted to get out. My family is a work in progress. It always will be. As long as we continue to have Christ as our focus we will be just fine. This is last tragic event was incredibly hard to process. There are so many “what-ifs” that keep running through my head. I am trying to turn those into positive things. I want to really make sure that I am living each day according to God’s will because the reality that it is so short is very real to me right now. What is my purpose? How can I appreciate each day? Each gift of life?