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“People sleep peaceably in their beds at night only because rough men stand ready to do violence on their behalf.” ― George Orwell
Truly, I do not believe this quote has ever held more meaning than it does in today’s world. There are men and women out there…right now even as I type…putting their lives on the line to protect others. Others that they do not know and from which they will most likely never receive acknowledgement or even a simple thank you. Hell, if they do their job right, those served may not ever even know they were in jeopardy. That’s the job of today’s police officer. It is a life of service that seldom gets its due recognition or at least not until they are needed. But let a wolf show up at our door and we pray for the sheepdog to protect us.
The thing about sheepdogs is that the sheep they protect often fear the sheepdog as much as they do the wolf, much the same way we often fear or feel uncomfortable around our sworn protectors that choose to wear a shield on their chest. The thing that the sheep find most unsettling about the sheepdog is how much it looks much like the wolf. It is powerfully built, lean and strong, and has the ability to do great violence. It can be fearsome in appearance and has the same sharp teeth and claws as does the wolf. And if the sheep strays or grazes too far away from the rest of the herd, it will show its teeth to remind the sheep to get back into line. Not out of malice or to show authority; no, it keeps the sheep in line to protect them from the wolf. It is an easy comparison and one that often creates a sense of fear and apprehension for anyone that comes into contact with one.
But there are vast differences. You see, the sheepdog has virtues that the wolf does not. The sheepdog is brave and loyal to those lucky enough to fall under his watch. The sheepdog does what it does out of dedication to the service of others. The sheepdog will stand its ground against numbers incalculable and it knows exactly where its place is despite the cost…standing firmly between the wolves and the sheep it serves. It fights fiercely. It bites and claws and is more than willing to end a life if that is what is called for to save the lives of those it serves. It is also willing to lay down its own life if that is what is asked of it. And it does it out of love. That is a sheepdog. That is also a police officer.
The bible tells us: “Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.” – John 15:13
I know that there might be those that will read this and will miss the message entirely out of some misconception the media has put in their mind about the police. Are there bad cops? You bet. There are also bad doctors, bad truck drivers, and bad electricians. The truth is, the clear majority of police officers do the job well and do it for the right reason. I’m not here to start or win an argument. I’m here, instead, simply to remind you that someday a wolf may show up at your door. It may try to take your child or your wife or your husband. It may try to come in your window at 3AM in the morning. It may follow you in the dark, waiting for the chance to make you a victim. And when the wolf is standing at your door, there may only be one thing standing between you and the wolf… a sheepdog. And regardless of how you feel about them, the sheepdog comes when you call. He comes every time. Regardless of what you’ve said on Facebook or to your friends and family about them. Regardless even, to the many times you have stepped out of line and had to be urged gently back in the fence by the sheepdog. Regardless to the hate you may feel…the sheepdog will stand for you and fight to the death to protect you and your family. That is a fact. That is a police officer.
I pray for the men and women that have chosen to take on the watch. I pray that they are safe and that they have the courage to do what must be done. Today’s is a world of wolves and while I naturally fear for each person who has chosen a life behind the badge, I know that there has never been a greater need for them…heroes willing to do what is right and to stand firmly in defense of the rest of us. The world needs heroes. It needs sheepdogs.
In closing, I just want to say thank you to each and every sheepdog out there walking the perimeter keeping us safe.
Be brave; you’re already a hero.