My Turn, Melodie Fleming: Prayers for officers who protect us

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, August 9, 2022

By Melodie Fleming

On Friday, I went to school to get my empty classroom ready for students. While hanging art and sorting files, I got a group text: “Y’all pray! I’m in Walmart parking lot. There are police everywhere. FB says active shooter.”

I began praying. Have mercy, Lord. Keep them safe!

I also started my mental inventory. Where are my kids?

They both got Mom-texts.  Let me know you’re safe. Active shooter at Walmart.

My next thoughts went to my husband, a city bus driver. Is he driving the Walmart route today? He doesn’t answer calls while working, so I decided to wait a bit then go check on him at the depot.

Still praying, my thoughts went to the empty chairs stacked in my room. Each one represents a child precious to me. Are they out shopping for school supplies?

My husband and I lead a local ministry for “the homeless and the hurting.” Are any of our people at Walmart today? Are they involved?

Feeling helpless, I kept singing softly, calmly tidying my room, and praying. I am not helpless. Prayer is important. I know my friends are praying, too. Shortly, my friend sent an update. No shots fired at Walmart. Police responding to an altercation involving a gun. Fire and EMS leaving.

Relief. Petitions turn into thanksgiving.

I’m writing at a local coffee shop the day after the incident. Moments ago, a Salisbury officer came in and ordered coffee. I thought, was she on duty yesterday? If there really had been an active shooter, this woman could have laid down her life. Yet here she is, ordering a cup of coffee.

My heart filled with gratitude for this person, a stranger to me, who stands as a barrier between my loved ones and danger every day. Quite literally this week, a friend sat in the parking lot while police rushed to her protection.

So, I want to say to all first responders in our city. Thank you for what you do. We need you.

I’m sitting by a window as I write. A car flies by with sirens and lights. Salisbury Police race toward Spencer. It’s time to pray again.

So, I do.

Melodie Fleming assists her husband Tom at Find Your Way Church: A Ministry for the Homeless and Hurting in Salisbury. She teaches Bible at a local Christian high school and is a doctor of ministry student at Charlotte Christian College and Theological Seminary.