It’s Saturday morning, Cam is out running errands on her day off, and I’m at home alone (yes, we are again empty-nesters again) thinking about the chores I need to get done before heading off to Marinucci Arena for an afternoon Gopher Hockey game. As I finished a healthy breakfast (I say healthy because that’s clearly not aways the case) I heard that voice in my head say “Let’s write something, something to share…” At this point, I’ll not go into any detail about that voice, but I’ve found it’s a good idea to listen to it. So I put on another pot of coffee, and here we go…
In the neighborhood of 15-20 years ago, while I was still a police chief, there was a very special day in my life. I was sitting at my desk at the police department when Father Tim popped his head in my doorway and said “Hi Chief!” I always enjoyed Fr. Tim’s presence and asked what brought him to the PD today. He replied that he was making his rounds and checking in because he felt the need to see someone. Tim was one one of our department chaplains and our department was currently struggling with a particularly challenging issue. I jumped up and asked him if I could help him locate who he was looking for. His simple reply was, “Well, I’m here to see you Chief.” A little surprised, I invited him in to sit down and I immediately felt something. I don’t want to get too mystical, nor dramatic here, but simply said, I felt something calm enter the room. It’s a feeling I continue to experience whenever I think back on that day. Father Tim was not only one of our department chaplains, he was my chaplain… and he cared about me.
I honestly don’t remember specifically what the department issue was at the time, but I can narrow it down to one of the four or five most challenging I faced as chief. I also can’t remember the details of the conversation, or anything he said to comfort me, guide me, or calm me. But I will never forget, that he was there, and he cared.
I have been a full time police, fire and EMS chaplain for more than a dozen years now. I have served in a variety of chaplain roles to dozens of public safety agencies, organizations and associations. I have had literally thousands of chaplain interactions with cops, firefighters, and medical responders, as well as with those who are served by these dedicated public safety professionals. In those interactions I’m often asked what it is that I actually do as a chaplain? What I do, is what I was taught to do. I was taught not through words, but by actions, by one of the best people I’ve ever known: “Be there and care.”
Thanks for listening!
Pastor Dan, Chaplain