Everybody else's lights during the holidays
The holidays can be a lonely time for the cops, firefighters and paramedics
This article, originally published May 27, 2014, has been updated with current information
By Michael Morse
The holidays can be a lonely time for the cops, firefighters and paramedics.
Our homes are miles away. The lights and decorations many of us spent our days off perfecting shine bright for everybody but us. Those of us with families have to leave them behind when it's time to report for duty, and we find ourselves out in the cold, patrolling the streets, answering the bell and keeping the neighborhoods we are sworn to protect as safe as we can.
It's Christmas time, and even though we had to leave our homes and families behind we do bring some lights with us. We ride through neighborhoods not our own, our lights illuminating the way, flashes of red and blue bouncing back at us, reflections from darkened windows, crisp sirens piercing the silent night. Other people's families are behind those panes of glass, and I take comfort in the effort that the people who live there put into their holiday display.
Early in my career, I would look upon the city I served as just the place I worked, and treated it as such. I forgot to see that though it was just a place that I temporarily inhabited, it was in fact my home away from home. Behind the doors were people just like me, people who went to work or to school, and left their loved ones behind.
I love their Christmas lights. I love the way they look. I love the way they make me feel when I look at them. I no longer mind leaving my house at four in the afternoon and turning them on, knowing full well I won‘t be home till long after the timer turns them off.
I used to only turn them on when we were home to enjoy them. Then I realized the lights aren't about me, or even for me. The lights are for everybody, just like everybody else's lights are for me.
I'm glad I realized that, it makes me like the lights even more.