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When I met my husband, Robert, he was working as a Deputy Sheriff in the jail. He described his job as a baby sitter to the bad guys. I didn’t feel I had any reason to worry about him while at work. Being a baby sitter seemed pretty easy and boring. Then a few years later he transferred to a street position, a traffic cop. Again, I didn’t think there was any reason to be alarmed or worried. I pictured Robert chasing down people for speeding, running red lights or other driving no-no’s like talking on the phone while driving.
Thankfully Robert didn’t come home often with these stories. I honestly couldn’t listen. It would frustrate Robert when I would continually try to change the topic or simply walk away. I would rather change a diaper or clean up puke than listen to his horrifying story. Yes, he was standing in front of me, so I knew the ending was fine, but I couldn’t handle hearing how he almost died. I knew I wouldn’t be able to get the story out of my head and would become a basket case while he was at work, so I couldn’t let the stories into my head.
Unfortunately, this caused a lot of tension in our marriage. I was annoyed at him for telling me such awful things. Didn’t he know I could only handle hearing about sunshine and rainbows?! Robert thought I didn’t care about him because I wouldn’t listen to his stories.
Several years later, we found a counselor who helped us with our communication skills, or I should say lack of communication skills. Robert learned he did need to debrief after going through intense situations he sometimes faced at work. However, I wasn’t the person to do this with. It needed to be with someone at work, a fellow officer, who understood what he was going through. I learned how important it was to be a good listener. Robert wanted to share his day with me and I needed to let him. Most importantly, we both needed to take the others feelings into consideration and not be so selfish.
I’m not saying things are perfect all the time. I am saying that communicating, talking and listening, is much better than keeping your thoughts to yourself and letting your mind take over. A lonely mind can be a scary thing.
My prayer for us today ~ Lord, help us to share our thoughts with others in a kind and respectful way, Amen
My husband, Robert Duvall, has been a public servant for many years. He was first a Paramedic in Contra Costa County, CA. He then became a Deputy Sheriff for Contra Costa County in 2000. In 2009 he was injured on the job and medically retired in 2011. For a few years, because of his health, he was forced to stay home and take care of himself. His days were filled with many doctor visits, ER visits and many hospital stays. In 2012 he had 2 massive surgeries. In June he had a stint put in his heart along with an oblation done. In October he received a Kidney Transplant. Thanks to the God Almighty he’s now doing well. Not quite 100%, but pretty close!
During Robert’s health trials he felt God tugging at his heart to become a Chaplain. So with the support of our Pastor at church he signed up for Chaplain training as soon as he recovered from his Kidney Transplant. He’s completed his class and put in all the hours and is set to graduate in September. I am so proud of Robert and all the time and energy he has put into this. It’s so exciting to see God working through him.
The Servant page is for Robert to share his stories. He’s experienced many things over the last 25 years. So please check back often to read them.
Please click here or click the Servant tab at the top to read Robert’s first post.