The Chaplain's Notebook


Perhaps one of the most important questions we can ask ourselves is: “What do I believe I was born to do?”
As I walk and talk with LASD deputies, I often feel I’m among people who’ve discovered their purpose. They truly believe in being society’s peacekeepers and servants. They really do believe in protecting the weak, the elderly, the defenseless, the victims of injustice.

These men and women have what I refer to in my theological training as a “holy calling.” They are called, committed and deeply motivated in their service; to maintain all of our welfare — regardless of race, religion, sexual orientation, socioeconomic status, you name it — by preserving safety and peace.

This type of commitment is often tested, and sometimes it is tested daily — especially as we’ve seen recently on the streets of our cities. This is where the rubber meets the road. It’s easy to talk about commitment. It’s quite another to pay the cost and live it out every day. As a more mundane example, I’m usually committed to losing weight until I sit down at the dinner table. Then I find myself not quite so willing to pay the price of dieting!

With true commitment comes the ability to overcome obstacles we confront in the pursuit of any worthwhile and noble dream. We may tend to think our success is due to some sort of genius, some magic, some special favor — but most of the time, it’s simply due to hard work and the discipline that comes from commitment.

Woody Allen once said, “80% of success is showing up!” And Jeff Olson wrote, “Showing up is essential. Showing up consistently is powerful. Showing up consistently with a positive outlook is even more powerful.” Amen!

Success most often happens simply by holding on and persevering in the battles of life. And that only happens when we believe in what we’re doing! It’s the decision that nothing will overrule my determination to make a difference. This is my duty, my calling and my purpose.

My prayer for all peacekeepers is that you will have the tenacity and faith to rise to this high calling daily. I don’t need to tell you that we, your communities and your department — all people of goodwill anywhere — honor you and your family.

Unfortunately, in law enforcement, many men and women start out well, with good intentions, then burn out. We need to keep our goals realistic — and pace ourselves. As a theologian once said, “I may not know if I’m actually doing your will, but I believe it is my desire to do your will that pleases you!”

May your commitment carry you through, brothers and sisters. One of the great apostles at the end of his life’s journey said, “I fought a good fight and kept the faith.” Only committed people conclude life’s pilgrimage with such words. And please remember:

“Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.” (Joshua 1:9)