Ladies and gentlemen, once again we have passed into a new year, when most of us spend time looking at the reflection of our lives. We become more emotional and see things in a different light. We remember family members who have passed and welcome the smiling faces of new children born who will take their place at the holiday tables. It is a time when we as Americans should look at our future and ask questions and seek answers.
There is a fog that has descended upon this country obscuring clear direction and free choices that we as Americans once took for granted.
I recall an incident from my early days, 1982, as a police officer in the city of Colville, Washington, which at the time seemed very humorous. Today I see it as a metaphor of what we are now experiencing in this country.
I would like to start this story by admitting to you that I am not a religious person. I do not attend services in any house of worship other than weddings, including my own, and funerals. I also do not consider myself an atheist because I have had enough amazing experiences in my life to know that we do receive gifts of thanks for doing the right things in life. These gifts just don’t happen; they have to come from somewhere or something that is bigger then us mortals.
The Colville valley in Northeast Washington is one of those undiscovered treasures. Truly beautiful to those who live and visit there. The Colville River flows nearby and within a short distance the Columbia rest in the reservoir known as Lake Roosevelt. In the fall and early winter when the air cools these bodies of water create a very dense fog.
It was a cool early December night and I was the only Colville officer on duty. The fog was so thick that the powerful street lights were but a glow, as if someone had laid a thick blanket over them. It was almost impossible to tell where on Main Street you were, unable to recognize any of the features of the buildings. As I slowly drove my patrol vehicle up the street, something to the right caught my eye. I tried to focus and make sense of what I was seeing. A rather bright light is shining low to the ground and I just barely make out the silhouettes of people some standing some appear to be kneeling. I radioed to the dispatcher that I was going to be making contact with a group of unidentified people at an unidentified location somewhere on the main city street. I left the warmth comfort of my car and using my best officer voice I said, “Colville Police, is everything OK?” I received no reply and the only sound that could now be heard was the sound of the snap on my holster being released and the sound of my heart pounding within my own head. I once again announced my presence in a clear loud voice with no response and no visible movement. I walked within feet of the forms only to be confronted by three wise men and numerous barn animals and in the center, a man named Joseph and his wife Mary. They looked fondly down at the face of there new born son Jesus. The snap of my holster being secured and a sigh of relief were the only sounds to be heard. Although the temperature was cold I felt warmth in knowing that even though shrouded in fog, the nativity scene, the symbol of faith for millions was present. It was impressive and means even more now then ever before. The fog descends on us all, believers and non believers as well as others like me who are somewhere in between. People like me are looked down upon by many who say you must make a decision and commit to a specific church or religion. I openly disagree, with the understanding that I will stand with you and protect the doors of your place of worship from attack by those who disagree with you’re beliefs.
I will stand with those who are willing to knock the chisel from the hands of those who would see the symbols of religions removed from the stones which mark the graves of our beloved veterans. I grieve with the mother of the fallen soldier who chooses protest as a way of stating her feelings. Although I am not in total agreement, she has earned the right. I stand with and support those who are willing to take on and destroy others who will see us all dead in the name of a religion they have perverted and soiled by killing innocent men women and children. What is responsible for the fog that blinds these people? What is responsible for the fog that blinds the leaders of nations and prevents them from making the best possible decisions and choices?
If you are inclined to pray, perhaps I could persuade you to ask for the lifting of the fog that seems to have blinded us all. God bless!
Randy J. Cole