I’ve been involved in two police action shootings during my career so far. One I pulled the trigger, one I did not. To begin to explain all the emotions that go along with that would be entirely too difficult to do unless you’ve been there so I won’t bother. Strangely enough, the one I didn’t pull the trigger in sticks out the most in my mind. I was on the SWAT team at my former department in Alabama, except we called ourselves SRT, Special Response Team. We were a busy team, plenty of action for us adrenaline junkies and plenty of training to keep us on that sharp edge. During one of our operations, we were assisting the county sheriff’s office on an entry. As our team started in to the door, the suspect opened up on us. Three of the first four guys that made it through the door were wounded, two of them pretty badly.
It was total chaos. I could hear the guys who were hit yelling, “I’m hit, I’m hit. Medic, Medic!” I could hear Dave laying down covering fire and screaming at everybody to get out, get out! Automatic gunfire, people screaming on the radio…seemed like the firefight lasted forever but it was over in a matter of seconds. I helped with the wounded. I was carrying Craig to a car to get him to the hospital. He was bleeding really badly all over the place and, as you can guess, in a tremendous amount of pain. I remember talking to him, telling him he was going to be fine. He was hurt really bad. I remember helping get Dave in a car. He had gunshot wounds to his shoulder and head. I think he was probably calmer than I was. It was surreal. Every once and awhile, I still have dreams about that night. I still hear my friends screaming and the sound of gunfire, I still feel the blood on my hands, soaking my call out uniform, holding their shattered bodies.
I can look back on that now and see some lessons, the turns that Christ has taken on this really horrible night. It is a perfect illustration to me of community. I think too many of us try to live our lives as though we were an island. You know, the whole ‘I’ll do it myself attitude’, as if we were the friggin’ Malboro Man or something. Our culture, for whatever reason, only solidifies that attitude. But we cannot do this alone. This life, I mean. We cannot live it alone. We weren’t meant to be alone. God created us to live in community, with others. Living and doing life together.
Look at Jesus’ time here as an example. Sure, He spent some time alone. The Bible clearly states on many occasions that Jesus went out to be alone and pray in the wee hours of the morning or often all night. But the vast majority of His time was spent with others, his disciples mainly. Doing life, teaching, laughing, crying, eating, griping about their feet being sore. Just living life together. I am learning that I need community as well. This is not easy for me. I’ve always been sort of a loner and spent a lot of time alone. But, as I learn more about Christ, He puts others in my life, draws me closer to other people to show me that I cannot do this alone, that He loves me.
When you are wounded by life…and you will be, know this. Christ is there to hold you and stop the bleeding but there are times when there are others there as well, holding your shattered mind, soul and heart until Help comes. Hold on to Him, hold on to them, cherish those we have in our lives that make up our community.