I feel like I’ve been gone on a long trip, far from home. Instead, I’ve been inordinately busy for the past nine days, driving straight east, from my side of town to a neighboring city, for four of those days to attend chaplaincy training. I headed south two of the days, to a whole different part of town, across the freeway, to smile with and coax small children to eat their vegetables, behave themselves, and learn a lesson or two.
The chaplaincy class was geared towards being a police chaplain, which after four days of training I know I don’t want to do. I cannot stand the idea of seeing murder and mayhem such as we learned about over the 32 hours of the course. It was a harrowing, draining experience that caused nightmares. Probably some depression in there, too.
There were 15 of us, all in it together, pulling for one another, and we all walked away changed. Our reward–knowing we had learned something new and stepped into a world that few will see and experience. We also got a certificate. Those who can deal with the gruesome details of police work will be better chaplains for it. I, on the other hand, will not be going out on calls to suicides, murders, missing children, domestic violence, or even making death notices. That one alone gave me nightmares. How do you tell someone that a loved one is dead. Quickly, we learned, very quickly, so as not to prolong bewilderment as to why a chaplain is at their door.
I’m glad I am a school chaplain, and even that is hard enough. Children see and hear more than they should. It changes them, and they bring those changes into the school. That’s where I will meet the gruesome details of life. I will work with a calming voice, lots of care, stories and stickers. I guess I’m doing something right as the police chaplaincy office came out last week and videotaped my classroom presentation to use in training. Hopefully, what I am doing can be of use to others.
For now, though, I am tired. I am feeling overwhelmed. I am behind in so much–chores, errands, preparations for this next week’s classes, reading, and especially, writing. So, while the laundry has been spinning in the washer and dryer, I have been sitting here, collecting my thoughts, throwing them on the page, so to speak.