When the siren sounds at Firehouse 19 and Paramedic Scott is called out to an emergency, he never knows what he and his partner will encounter when they answer that call. A twenty-two year veteran of the Houston Fire Department, my brother works in one of the most poverty stricken and crime ridden neighborhoods in the city. He has told me stories that have shaken my faith in humanity and yet others that have restored it. Unspeakable abuse and senseless violence thrive in the poverty that exists in the 5th Ward.
He has regaled me with stories about everything from delivering babies with a host of neighbors looking on to tackling a gunshot victim who ran across the yard despite a bullet in his forehead. Drugged and diseased prostitutes who propositioned him and homeless men who just needed a meal and a bed for the night.
But the stories about the children are more than horrific. They are heartbreaking.
Five year olds whose innocence is lost forever. Ten year olds, malnourished and weary, carrying the weight of the world on their shoulders and a baby sister on their hips. Teens who are lost in a fog of insecurity, desperate to fill the emptiness and take their own lives.
These stories hit you like a fist to the gut and make you question everything you believe in. It changes a person. It has changed him. His views are harsher. His trust and tolerance has waned. Still one of the best men I know, kind and caring, intuitive and generous he loves his job and his family.
But these horrors lay heavily on his heart.
That’s why I was so taken aback today when I watched as he held his eight year old’s hand, standing over the grave of her goldfish who had just passed on. Savannah was almost inconsolable but so was her daddy. He was weeping. It made no sense to me that a man who sees the worst human nature has to offer every single day on duty would be affected so heavily by such a loss.
And then I realized, his tears were not for “Fishy” but for his daughter and her devastation. Her little heart was broken for the first time. A tiny part of her would never be the same. My brother knew his child’s pain, her loss like only a father can. He was shedding the tears of compassion.
It got me thinking about our heavenly father and how he must weep for us when we are hurting.
The Bible tells us that God calls us his sons and daughters. “How great is the love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called the children of God! And that is what we are!” 1 John 3:1
His Word goes on to say that we are of great value to Him, each one of us! No matter how small. No matter what we have or haven’t done. No matter how trivial or insignificant we consider our needs to be. “Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they?” Matthew 6:26
Our heavenly father is so much more than a King who sits on a throne overseeing His creation.
He is the daddy who laughs when he pushes us on the swing. He is the daddy who cares enough to blow on our macaroni and cheese so that it doesn’t burn our mouths. He is the ever vigilant daddy who reminds us to brush our teeth. He is the doting daddy who takes hundreds of pictures at our dance recitals.
And he is the daddy who holds our hand as we say good bye to a friend. He dries our tears. He wraps us in his arms.
He loves us.