He came home one Wednesday evening. It was later than normal and had been a long day for him. There were meetings and stressors. There was a forty minute drive home that turned into an hour and some change due to one lane traffic and construction. The daylight hours were quickly fading.
He stopped on the way to pick up food for the family. After walking in the door with food he realizes he was shorted an item. I call and he goes back to pick up the forgotten food item. Was it a necessary food item? No. In fact it was queso and chips. An item he knew would make his daughter happy. So he left again.
He comes back to the house with the queso. A three-year-old daughter who greatly appreciates that queso showing up in front of her with a “Thanks, Daddy!”
He opens his food and takes random bites as he gathers around the dishes in the sink and begins to hand wash. The random bites continue as he serves his teary-eyed wife her food with chips and salsa. She had a long day. No sleep. A newborn constantly nursing, rendering her to the couch most of the day. All she wanted was a meal and a shower. Oh, and sleep.
Meanwhile, he goes outside to clean up the toys left out by the children and grab drinks for the house. Locks up and comes in only to run bath water for his daughter. He gets more dishes going and a few more bites of his food. He puts his daughter in the tub and washes her up. While her conditioner soaks in, he gathers his uniform needs for work the next morning, and takes a few more bites.
Next is his son. He gets him in the shower and makes sure he cleans all his body parts that a five-year-old may miss or do a poor job.
He finishes the dishes. Feeds the dogs. Holds the baby so his wife can take a quick, necessary for sanity shower, and then he goes to the back of the house to shower himself.
His combat boots never left his feet from the moment he left in the morning until he reached the shower at 8 that evening.
When I was young I used to fall asleep listening to his voice on the scanner. Before bed my brother, mother, and I would watch him check over his uniform to ensure every emblem was exactly just so. We’d see him check his boots to ensure they were clean and shined. He’d examine his gun belt and ensure his sidearm was clean, working, and ready to go for the ride. As he put all these items on, the last thing he attached was usually his radio. The radio that would keep him an open line of communication– a safety device, a help-aid, a voice at the other end as back up.
Eventually the night shift turned to days and he’d work all day fighting crime, maintaining peace, upholding the law only to come home and cook for his family. He’d cook, do the dishes, and serve our family. He worked as a team with my mother, ensuring we had the finances to do the things we needed and wanted. He and my mom chose careers of service to the community, but they were always serving even more so behind the public eye.
During the school year, especially during volleyball and softball seasons, his uniform was on his frame from sunup until well past sun down.
My husband. My dad. These two men embody what a servant’s heart looks like in action. They serve their families above themselves. They serve the community in uniform before themselves.
You see, they both come from places where they know what it’s like to go without and a place where people stepped in to serve their lives where they most needed. Both of them put on a uniform to protect and serve. Both choose a career where integrity is of utmost importance; thus they live what they believe is most honorable– service.
I’m grateful to be taken care of by these two men because I’m not wired like that. I don’t see needs and fulfill them like they do. They show their love through service, too. For example, my dad knows I love lattes. A few years ago he surprised me and made me a cinnamon latte with whipped cream and cinnamon sprinkled on top. It’s the little things that could go unnoticed, but add up to something bigger.
My son has two men in his life who serve like this. My little man began bagging groceries in line at Kroger. It’s a task he’s seen both men do. It was a task that needed done. He started doing it.
Father’s Day 2016: I reflect on the servant hearts of the men in my life.
#FridayFive link-up with Mrs. Disciple.