About Bradley's Blog:

A cop, a writer and a whole lot more.

Here you'll find my thoughts on writing, links to my published works, law enforcement musings and other tidbits. Please subscribe to my blog and I encourage you to share anything you find worthy. Thanks!

Disclaimer: these are my opinions and mine alone. I am not speaking as a representative of the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department in any shape or form here. These are not necessarily the opinions of my employer.

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How Much is Enough?

Sacrifice. What does that mean?

It's a word that gets used quite a lot, but do we really know what it means?

Sacrifice can be a noun or a verb--a thing or an action. It's often correlated with religious premise, but religious figures or practices don't have exclusive rights to it. Common synonyms are forfeit, endure, cede, immolate and suffer.

The one I like most is simple: offer. It's not glamorous and doesn't require an advanced degree to be in one's everyday vocabulary. But offer also doesn't put the sting into it that real sacrifice actually embodies. Generally, sacrifice hurts.

Watch this quick video and when you come back, we'll talk a little more about sacrifice.

Was that sacrifice? Perhaps somewhere down the line that we didn't see. Maybe whoever was paying for all that good stuff, maybe that was a sacrifice to them.

Of course, we all like what's going on in the video; if I could do that for my job everyday I'd probably do it until I was eighty years old. But would it get boring? Would I get tired of giving out gifts when some of the people have nothing good to say about others until they're getting something for free and a camera is watching? Or would I get tired of it because I have no skin in the game?

I'm almost convinced that at some point, it would become like every other job, where it becomes the same-old, same-old.

You see, I've been in policing all my adult life. I've always done it because I want to make a difference for people. There are lots of crazy, interesting, horrific, joyous and sometimes funny stories to tell. But after doing it for so long--coming home from a bloody crime scene, or dealing with someone who lost something precious to them, or helping rescue someone from a dangerous situation, and having my wife ask how my day was, the answer usually comes out, "It was fine--same-old, same-old." And I think it's safe to say I've got some skin in the game with policing.

I believe this is a slice of the human condition. We're never satisfied. Even a pro athlete or a famous entertainer gets to a point where it's the same-old, same-old. LeBron James gets tired of basketball. Jon Bon Jovi gets tired of singing "Livin' on a Prayer" for the thirty-thousandth time.

What if we introduced real sacrifice? I've learned when I give, if it's really a sacrifice, there's something wondrous to it that can't be quantified. When it hurts some, it means more.

In today's post-modern society with dwindling attention spans and multitasking to the nth degree, the real substance of what sacrifice means is often reduced to something altogether different. It seems today, sacrifice to many people means to not gain something, as opposed to giving up something. Or if we give, we only give to the point of being comfortable, not to the point of sacrifice. There's a huge difference.

The greatest sacrifice in all of history, of course, is the ultimate act of grace and selflessness that Christ made by giving himself up for each one of us. By allowing himself--no, delivering himself to be tortured and murdered. He sacrificed himself to advance the cause of all humanity. He died (and rose again) to build a path between a broken mankind and our Creator.

Watch the following video and consider whether or not this is sacrifice. (It's nineteen minutes, but when it's done, you'll say every minute was worth it.)

So why should I sacrifice anything--especially if I'm not religious or don't believe in the Christian version of things?

Why shouldn't we simply seek compromise more often but avoid real sacrifice since we get nothing or next to nothing out of it personally?

Think about the state of society. "He With The Most Toys Wins." Have you seen that bumper sticker? It's meant to be funny but isn't it how we often live our lives? Is that satisfying?

"We want more! We want more!" The little girl in the TV commercial is cute, but she's describing the tip of the iceberg in the ugliness of the human condition.

The endless, never-ending, impossible to quench sense of "We want more!" It drives our markets, our behaviors, our pursuits and never quite delivers the peace and satisfaction we seek for any sustained period of time.

Perhaps if we retrain our thinking, our motives, our purpose, we might find understanding sacrifice and pursuing it from time to time will provide the satisfaction that we've sought and never found.

Could it be that giving is more satisfying than getting?

It's a radical thought, no doubt, but it's nothing new. I didn't invent something here and I'm certainly no master of putting it into practice. Most parents have tried to teach this to their kids, especially around Christmas time.

If you've read much of what I write on my blog or elsewhere, you probably know I like to work in layers. I like to get beyond the surface, down deep, where lasting, meaningful thoughts are provoked. With that in mind, have you considered how sacrifice affects others? Have you considered how it can extend way beyond the person you gave to? Did you ever see the movie "Pay it Forward" from Mimi Leder?

Here's the last video I'd like you to see. Let this drill down into your thoughts about sacrifice.

Who did the sacrificing? How much did it hurt and how happy was he that he could do it?

Consider what sacrifice means to you and your family and if you want it to be different. If your answer is yes, that's the first step. Take another. It's what I have tried to do in my own life when I feel led to do so.

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