Some days I wonder what this job costs me, in the long run.
In my personal world, everything is fine. I woke up this morning, went to work, turned a decent story and came home safely to my wife, who is cooking what promises to be an excellent dinner. One can't ask for more of a blessing than another day of life, and all the experiences it brings.
The story I worked on today is a happy story, filled with smiling faces and fun. It isn't the story that has me blogging tonight. The family of Cpl. Christopher Metternich is on my mind, and also the family who lost their home this afternoon to a fire. His story can be found here. The short version is that he died in the line of duty. He was riding his department issue motorcycle when someone pulled into his path from a side street, and he broadsided their car.
I had no part in covering that story, but it touches me just the same. It forces me to realize what can happen to my own father, who also wears a badge, but it also forces me to look at what I do. I worked on one other newsworthy event today, which was the house fire I just mentioned. We arrived on the scene shortly after the fire department, and I proceeded to get great video of the firefighters working to get the blaze under control. I can't say they were working to save the house, because it was beyond saving. All they could really do was keep it from doing more damage to the homes around it. That phrase I just used, great video. That is what I said when calling the station. "I don't know if anyone is hurt, but I've got great video!"
This family has lived in this house for 30 years, and it has been reduced to charred rubble and ten seconds of video in a newscast, and all I have to say is that I have 'great video.' One family has lost all their posessions, but fortunately no one was hurt. Across town another family is greiving the loss of a husband, father, brother, and son. His loss is also felt by his extended family, his brothers and sisters behind the badge, for whom this is the third officer killed in the last two years, and the second one within a year.
These are the events upon which my job is based, but what does it cost me, as a human being, to do this job? How long can I keep working without losing part of my soul in the process? Heavy questions, for which I don't currently have any answers, but I know they will be provided for me. All I have to do is listen, and treat each day as if it is a gift, because it is.