One of our grandsons was among the millions of little boys who was fascinated by firetrucks. I recall clearly the private tour our firefighter friend set up for us so that Wil could sit try sit behind the wheel of the big red truck of his dreams. Trying on the firefighter’s hat, he had this almost dazed look on his face, as if it was more than he could fully comprehend. If asked what he wanted to be when he grew up he would join the chorus of children declaring, “I want to be a fireman!”
The early life fascination with the ‘uniformed’ professions, especially those who get to drive big, shiny vehicles, passes away in time as the same boys and girls instead dream of becoming famous athletes who get their pictures on the cover of video games. Yet some of the little boys and little girls do become ‘protectives’ as adults. They do this, not because they get to wear cool hats and ride in shiny trucks, but because they care about saving people from danger. Firefighters, police officers, first responders, they and so many more accept danger every day because they can make society a safer place, literally saving people from burning buildings.
People devote their careers to protecting others not for fame or fortune but because they love humanity. As we are so tragically reminded every week, firefighters die fighting fires, police officers die taking the bullet which otherwise would kill someone else. They accept the fact that in an effort to save others they expose themselves to giving up their own lives.
Why? The love of God spills out of the hearts of people called to protect society. Thank God today for the little boys and little girls who grow up to become, to borrow Henri Nouwen’s phrase, ‘wounded healers’ for God’s children.
“Who can save a child from a burning house without taking the risk of being hurt by the flames? Who can listen to a story of loneliness and despair without taking the risk of experiencing similar pains in his own heart and even losing his precious peace of mind? In short: Who can take away suffering without entering it?” -Henri J.M. Nouwen, The Wounded Healer: Ministry in Contemporary Society (Source: InwardOutward.org)