(Editor’s Note: This was posted to Facebook on Christmas Eve by Knox County Sheriff’s Office Captain Aaron Yarnell. After 12 hours, it had 88 comments and 129 shares. Enjoy!)
On Dec. 24, 2004, I was running the patrol beat 404. I was driving down West Emory Road when I got the call of a domestic situation. I responded first as I knew my beat partner was just a little out.
When I walked into the house, I remember the odor. I remember the mess on the floor. I remember the dirty clothes. I remember dirty plates on the end tables from days past. I remember the litter box full and spoiled.
I remember seeing a little boy sitting in front of a television with SpongeBob playing. I remember hearing mom and dad yelling from the kitchen as he looked over his shoulder at me and smiled. I said, “Hey buddy, how are you?” He pointed at the TV. I said, “Are you watching SpongeBob? I love SpongeBob.”
I remember wanting to ask him if he was excited for Santa as I made my way to the yelling and breaking of dinner plates. But Santa probably wasn’t coming for him. I remember thinking more about him than the yelling from 20 feet away. I told him to keep watching SpongeBob and I would be back.
As I made my way to the kitchen, I broke up mom and dad who were arguing over their next fix. As I took one into custody, I can remember seeing the little boy who had moved to the dining room area full of beer cans and trash. I remember looking at him and telling him that SpongeBob was missing him and he better go back to see what that silly Patrick was up to.
He turned around and walked back towards the living room TV. I remember thinking he didn’t have a Christmas tree. He didn’t have a stocking. He didn’t have the excitement of family coming over for the holidays. I remember hurting for him. I remember as I type this the same feeling in my stomach.
Needless to say, Walmart was still open. And that little boy did get some toys for Christmas. But this isn’t about me or about what I did. This post is about every Christmas Eve I wake up and say a prayer for all the officers who have to see these kinds of routine calls and (for) all the children who are living their lives as a voiceless victim.
Do me a favor. Say a quick prayer for true peace and love and good will to all.
Christmas is about love … say that prayer for our brothers and sisters in blue along with our children who are not as fortunate as most of the children whose moms and dads are reading this message right now. Even if you may not believe in God, do your friend a favor. Just shut your eyes and say, “Please watch over our officers and hurting children.” That’s all.
There is power in prayer. I have seen it. I have felt it. I have witnessed it. Take a minute. Shut your eyes and pray.
Be thankful for what you have. You never know others’ struggles. Stay thankful, stay humble. Stay positive, even when your Christmas Eve ghosts from the past come back to say they are still there year after year. I am thankful for those reminders as me sharing this with you will hopefully help someone else. May God bless us all.