“There are two opposing forces in this world, order and chaos, and I thank God that you are there when the two collide”. This is a quote that will long be etched in my mind. One of our police chaplains offered it to police and fire personnel as we debriefed after a particularly tragic car crash that resulted in two deaths and sent many others to the hospital. As public safety professionals we spend our days trying to bring order to chaos in our communities and the lives of our citizens. But what are we doing to deal with the chaos in our personal lives?
Here is my suggestion, try spiritual defibrillation. Over the past couple of years I’ve had the opportunity to talk with a lot of public safety professionals and share ideas about the concept of spiritual fitness. When talking about spiritual fitness I have found that comparing it to physical fitness is the best analogy. Most people understand that addressing diet and exercise, preventative care, treatment for injuries, and performance training programs apply to both physical and spiritual fitness. When the heart, the power source of the body, goes into fibrillation and experiences a rapid, unsynchronized, irregular and chaotic rhythm, life stops functioning. The heart needs to be defibrillated or shocked, to stop. Once stopped, it can regain the healthy and effective rhythm it naturally has, causing life to start again. The same concept can be applied to a chaotic, out of sync spirit through spiritual defibrillation.
Let’s face it, our lives are full. We have a lot to do in a limited amount of time. We spend our time multitasking, managing work demands, processing information and carrying out family responsibilities, which are all things we choose to do and need to do. But when these things get out of order, become irregular, or rapid and unsynchronized, they can have the same impact on life as a fibrillating heart, they stop it from functioning. This is when we need spiritual defibrillation. We need to stop.
There are a number of ways to defibrillate the spirit, such as prayer, meditation or a quiet walk. Personally, I like to spend quiet time reading and reflecting. It gives me focus apart from the chaotic distractions of life. I also have a good friend who will lead me through a meditative prayer exercise, again allowing a peaceful and restful focus. I have found that the most effective defibrillator is the one customized to each individual and each unique spirit.
So take some time today and every day to defibrillate your spirit. Stop your body, stop your mind and stop your soul. It isn’t easy and you will have to work at it. But when you truly do stop and when you give your spirit the opportunity to regain its natural and healthy rhythm, you will experience amazing results. You will be in a position where you can bring some order to your life. Taking a break from the chaos that the world and our profession can throw at us will make us healthier individuals and more effective public safety professionals. Give it a try.