The Chaplain's Notebook


With each sister or brother who falls in the line of duty, something else plummets in the life-space of those left behind: peace. Four of our own fellow officers have fallen in California this month alone. As society changes, societal events seem to disrupt our sense of security. In order for us to return to our sense of peace and security, we must first recognize, and then, second, we must do.

First, let me speak of recognition. Recognize how current events of the day affect each of us at a significant level. If these disruptions cause us to lose some of our balance, it is normal and expected. Even Superman would be affected by this amount of craziness. It changes us in many ways, whether we recognize it or not, or whether we have spoken it or not. Fear, uncertainty, anger, doubt, animosity, anxiety … all are normal, but we must recognize these things. Societal events affect our job, our life, our peace. Not only that, they affect our family more than many of us know. If these disruptions seem to make one feel a bit off right now, recognize it. It is the first step to regaining balance.

Secondly, do something. Doing something helps release internal pressures of life. Emotional well-being comes by doing something that involves others or challenges oneself. In other words, physical activity helps to release the internal stressors that weigh on the body and mind. Conversing with others helps to deflate the pressures that build up in our human spirit. Also, spiritual practices help us reconcile ourselves to God and allow us to feel the protective arms of our creator comforting us as we trust in someone higher than ourselves. Action means action. Do something.

As a member of the chaplaincy, I implore you to converse with your loved ones about your thoughts and reactions to societal events. Even though you have always tried to keep that healthy distance between your family and the street, they need that. Seek spiritual guidance and allow a mentor or clergy member to help you process your significance in the world and your value in the eyes of the creator. Exercise on a regular basis to get the blood pumping, so you are not bringing that tension onto the street or into the home. That tension can lead to serious mistakes. Realize that we are all in this together, processing the events of the day, and there are men and women worldwide “backing the blue” and praying for your protection. We are all fond of telling each other to make it home safe. I am asking you to do something far more important: Make it home healthy.

How can I contact a chaplain? Chaplains are available at their unit of assignment, or by calling the Psychological Services Bureau at (213) 738-3500.