Consequences

I was asked to write a 400 word article for the Star News with the purpose of addressing suicide among Law Enforcement personnel. This short article was meant to lead the reader (the officer) to think I am talking about criminals, and then flip-it to talk about the wake of destruction caused by officer suicide. Star News is a monthly magazine for Law Enforcement personnel.

Consequences

Why do they do it? Why do they act in ways that leave a wake of destruction behind them? How can they do that thing that they do, and not consider the consequences to everyone they love? Is it selfishness, or a way to alleviate some suffering or perceived injustice that the world has dealt them? Who knows? It differs for each.

The fact of the matter is that there are real consequences to their action. The children—abandoned because of one moment of selfishness—will never return to what they perceived as a normal life. The spouse, who once had a partner in life’s great adventure, now finds herself facing a lifetime of struggle and loneliness. What about the parents? How many parents are asking themselves, “What went wrong? We never thought it would be our child!”

It is time we realized that the choices we make affect everybody that we know. One bad choice in a desperate moment leads to a life of pain and suffering for others. We see it frequently—don’t we—this selfishness that destroys the lives of good people. We see it every time the handcuffs are used and we make the trip to lock-up. However, it is not society’s criminal element that I am writing this article about.

I recently lost a very dear person to suicide.

The truly heartbreaking part of the experience is not (I am sorry to say) the loss of the loved one. The heartbreak is what the individual left behind. The tragedy is found in the eyes of the older sister who was trembling as I hugged her in an attempt to console. The tragedy was in the heart of the mother who will forever think, “If I had done this (or that) differently…” Then there is the Father who doubts every day whether he was a good parent of not. And if there are children… The aftermath does not go away—it is part of the wake—and the ripples of the wake will be felt for a lifetime.

Unfair? Yes. Tragic? Yes. But in one moment of selfish relief many lovely people were sentenced to a life of damage, a life they did not choose, a life traumatically changed.

Remember hope… there is always hope!

When it Rains, it Pours

NOTE: Written years ago, right before the passing of my grandmother.

The beauty behind storms of adversity is that they tend to reveal who you truly are. For me it means focus and a sharpening of mind and action. But it also means a hint of calculated, emotional removal from the circumstances. Down to business. Hear Father. Do as instructed. I do not know whether this is a good or bad, healthy or harmful. I will leave that to the reader. However, after a week like this one, I thank Father for the ability to focus in the downpour. Life is grand and full of tragedy at the same time and I am often reminded that without the knowledge and covering of Father’s sovereignty it would at times be too difficult to bear. May I share?

The funny thing about storms is that–many times–they come out-of-nowhere. Skies are clear and then, “Crack!” Lightning splits the sky. Saturday was such a day. The skies were clear and the weatherman had given the “Thumbs Up!” On the sidewalk before me I saw the first drop of water darken the concrete. Little did I know it would be a violent and vicious storm.

Crack!

My elderly grandmother, who had always been both physically and mentally strong, suffered a massive stroke. Grabbing the umbrella, I braved the weather and made my way to her side. Praying into her–I believe–understanding ear, I shared Father’s spiritual and physical healing abilities so that she would have hope. It gave me hope as well. He and only He could speak through the noise of the rain and clear her storm.

Crack!

The next wave of the storm came in the form of a hostile dialog with an individual with whom I had to stand my ground for what was morally right! Without getting into it, Father was being portrayed as evil in a storm of hostility and I had no choice but to stand for Him. So again, I grabbed my umbrella. You see, I love Him–He gives me breath–and I had to make a stand on the side of righteousness. It brought harder rain, but I chose to ignore the downpour and do what was right.

Crack!

The storm had now grown to the height of its intensity. A call from the Sheriff’s Department… “Chaplain, we need you right now! We’ve got a dead baby! The guys are having some trouble handling the scene. We need you here.” So I grabbed the umbrella again, and flying to the scene I ministered in the storm.

It seems that the eleven-year-old babysitter decided she would give the one-year-old baby boy a bath. She was distracted and left the room. It was raining so hard by now that the child was left floating in one of the enemy’s puddles.

The baby was without a heartbeat for more than ten minutes and when I left the chopper was preparing to transport the child to Children’s Hospital. What did I do? I placed my umbrella over the child. I laid hands on him and prayed to Father. As the child was being prepped for flight, he opened his eyes and began to have a seizure. Is he alive today? I may never know. I did my part. I covered him with my umbrella. I protected him from the rain. It was all that I could do. That was all I was meant to do.

Clear Skies…

Right now, as I write, the umbrella is closed and in my hand. I have peace. The umbrella of Father’s sovereignty gives me that peace. The storm lasted four days. The sky still has clouds in it, they have not fully rolled away. Grandma is still in the hospital with little improvement, the hostilities from my moral stance are unsettled and I still have no idea about the child. However, the umbrella is right here in my hand, and I will open it again when the first drop of water appears on the road before me.