Associate Magazine - FBINAA - Q3-2022


F B I N A A . O R G | Q 3 2 0 2 2

Mike Hardee

Faith and Fairness

W e have all heard people say, “It’s just not fair that this hap pened to me,” usually followed with the question, “What did I do to deserve this?” Since childhood we’ve been taught to do good works, live ethically, gratefully and humbly and we will be rewarded. Then why do bad things happen to good people? A large part of my job as Chaplain is to send condolences to departments and families when one of our own has passed or an officer is killed in the line of duty. Each time I do, I’m reminded of the seeming unfairness of life — how could someone who so selflessly served his or her community be taken too soon? Until recently I did not know the full extent of the pain and sorrow these families and friends were experiencing. One Friday afternoon in April my 20-year-old grandson called me out of the blue. He had just received a promotion, along with a company truck, expense credit card and company phone and he wanted to tell me all about it. We talked about his adventures at work, his new apartment and living on his own for the first time. When I asked him how he liked his new home he said, “PeePa, I am living in paradise.” It was unusual for a kid his age to take 40 minutes out of his day to talk to his grandpa, but Wyatt was so proud of his ac complishments and wanted to share them with me. There was no way of knowing that that would be our last conversation and that he would not be having lunch with me that Monday as we had agreed upon before hanging up. Two days later, early that Sunday morning, I received a call telling me that Wyatt had been killed instantly in a horrific vehicle accident. I was gutted. Instantly I began wondering, “How could this happen to us? What did I do that was so wrong that God took Wyatt from us?” I simply could not fathom what I was being told - that a church going, hard-working, lovable kid who stood on the brink of a promising life could be gone. The two-hour drive to my daughter’s house was extremely confusing to me. The brightness of the day was nauseating. I felt sick, broken, and lost not knowing what to do or where to turn for answers. The closer we got to the house, the more I did not want to go and face the reality. When we arrived, my son-in-law Rod, who is a state wildlife officer, met us as we got out of the truck. Before I could even say a word, Rod grabbed me and whispered in my ear so no one else could hear. As if handing off the scene to his commanding officer, he told me I was in charge of the situa tion now — as the head of the family, everyone inside the house would be looking to me for strength, prayers and guidance. Something came over me at that very moment that empow ered me to stand tall and bring comfort and support to the family. That something, I am convinced, is the power of God arriving on the scene as the First Responder. In that moment, He worked through me. I knew I could not fall apart. It was my job to lead. But it was God who took control at that moment, not me. “Be strong and get us through this,” he said.

Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go. (Joshua 1-9) As He walked with me through that day, I suddenly felt He will get us through this . For us, the awesome power of prayer gave us tremendous peace. While we can’t ever know why these things happen to us, we trust in God to guide us and give us cour age to live our lives according to His plan. In times like this, our faith is all we have. Perhaps fairness is overrated for us mortals in that we feel a sense of entitlement, or an exemption to certain tragic experi ences in our lives. In truth, the question really is why not me ? What makes me think I’m so special? Why should I be exempt? It’s been a few months now and when we get together, we enjoy telling stories, sharing photographs and remembering Wy att’s wonderfully playful, caring and joyous spirit. It’s said that we can keep the departed alive in our hearts when we are moved to live as, in their higher moments, they themselves wished to live. I send my prayers to all the families, mothers, fathers, broth ers, sisters, co-workers and friends who have experienced the loss of someone dear. I know this firsthand now — I also know that God works to heal our heart, to strengthen our faith and, if we just recognize Him in prayer and ask for His help, He will hear us. When I am alone and memories become nauseating and real, I ask God for His hand to just be with me for a moment while I cry. He carries our burdens and shares in our sadness, this I know. For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life. (John 3-16)

God bless,

Mike Hardee FBINAA Chaplain Session 232

NOTE: There are a number of support resources available to those of us who are grieving, and I encourage you to seek professional assistance and counsel if you have the need. One such resource I found is the American Psychological Association article titled, Grief: Coping with the Loss of Your Loved One. March 2011 by Katherine C. Nordal, PhD.


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