I have tried so many times to write something while I have been here at the academy. Something to explain the transition. A great metaphor to reveal my inner workings of my spirit. Each time I sit down I write several lines and then it all falls apart. The words no longer make sense. The concept disjointed. In frustration I will push my laptop away and declare another day I will try again. I have so many words to say, but together they just do not do this justice.
Today I will try again.
I am a cop because I do not know how not to be. It is not just that I am most comfortable in tactical pants and combat boots. It is not that the shine of my badge makes my heart flutter like a little school girl. It is because when I dig deep into my core, the aspects of me that I cherish most, are that of a Guardian and a Warrior.
We have 2 1/2 weeks left here in Academy County. It seems everyday we have another “final test” in some major aspect of our training: knife defense, firearms, defensive tactics, interview skills. These lessons are important and surely they will save lives. Over the course of the past 15 weeks something else has developed in my class. A deep sense of purpose. We have seen videos of some terrible things. We have seen what the ultimate sacrifice looks like. We pull together and understand what it means when you tell someone you have their back in this job. It means you stand at their back and you do not flinch. You do not turn around even if the gunfight is behind you. You maintain your position because that partner is relying on you. Trusting you with their life.
What does that look like in relationships? A good friend once came to the realization that in the bible it is said we should put on the armor of God. As the armor is described, she realized nothing was stated for the back. Warriors do not retreat, she declared, so we have no protection over our back. The only way a Warrior can rest, she went on, is when another Warrior takes up position behind them and uses their body armor as cover. Standing at their six, a Warrior can finally take a breath.
We learn support positions in building clearing and active shooter situations. One is always rear guard. Only when “support!” is cried out, can that rear guard turn and face the force in behind them.
We are called to cover one another. Called to stand in the gap between life and need. Stand in a support position covering each others backs. Without it, the enemy will have a place to attack. Slithering up behind us, he will climb us and sneak into the spaces between our armor. He will invade our head and bring the battle to a whole new front. Like a schizophrenic, we will begin hearing voices not our own. Taken as truth we will accept them. The game is nearly won then. An infection can kill a person just as easily as a knife wound. No need to create a scene when you can kill from the inside.
We are all called to be Guardians. We are our brothers keeper. We are called to call out the lies in one another. Call out the chinks in each others armor. And most importantly, we are called to stand in the absences, taking each others backs and saying, here I will stand. Here I will remain.
There is something terrifyingly wonderful about standing in that position and hearing your partner fight a battle, while remaining steadfast in your position. You are trusting them as much as they are trusting you. Your body armor protecting each other. Your trust protecting each other.