Yesterday I carried out a political tangent of sorts… Today I am on another soap box. It is not a new one with me. But it is one that I need to stand on periodically. Life is too short to get caught up in pettiness. Relationships are too precious to devalue, because of unresolved interpersonal conflict. I am on this soap box for a reason…
Last night I got home from work mulling over the events of the day. I was a little snippy, because I had to work during part of my day off. Several matters of no real consequence were taking up unnecessary room in that head of mine. But for some reason I was allowing myself to be consumed by these concerns that supposedly have no real consequence! I went to bed at 11:30 and slept for two hours.
At 1:30 a.m. the victims’ services counselor with The Texas Department of Public Safety in my region called me. She informed me that we had lost a trooper in a fatal car crash near Post, Texas. A young trooper…. The trooper’s parents live here in Granbury. I was charged to accompany my DPS captain and sergeant to notify the young man’s parents of his death.
I have done numerous death notifications over the years. I have undergone extensive training, so it is not done incorrectly. They are never routine. My philosophy is to treat those families as I would want my family treated. I was thankful in this case to be in the presence of highly competent and compassionate law enforcement supervisors. I have always held those men in high esteem, but early this morning my opinion of them soared even higher.
We soon learned that the deceased man left a young wife and a 6 month old infant. By noon today, I learned that one of my young troopers was close to the man who was killed last night. They endured the DPS Academy together. And then I found out that the deceased trooper had given my nephew his first job at a grocery store. (He had been in the grocery business prior to be accepted to the DPS Academy.) It truly is a small world.
Today I am grateful for life. I am thankful for those I love. I view my young troops differently than I did a few years ago. I don’t want to admit it, but I am indeed old enough to be their father. I treat them like my own grown sons. I care about them more deeply than I am able to verbalize.
Tonight there are all kinds of thoughts rumbling around in my head, but none of them are petty. All of tonight’s feelings really do have substance. I am thinking about how to best serve those I love. Now that is not petty… I needed to get on that soapbox, because for some uncanny reason I get caught up in a web of pettiness periodically. Sometimes it takes a tragedy to break out of such webs of pettiness!
May God bless the family of Trooper Jonathan McDonald tonight.