On Tuesday I drove south, towards Fresno’s downtown, but not quite that far. The plan was to go farther on Wednesday, but on Tuesday I was only going as far as the Tower District where the Fresno Police Chaplaincy office is located in a building that once housed an insurance agency when I was young. During my middle years it became an office for a nonprofit agency that helped other nonprofits. Now, in my old age, the building has morphed into the heartbeat of a group of very dedicated people who serve the city with their compassion skills.
The building has been remodeled as of late to also house a trauma team who can see people at any time of day or night who have had a traumatic event such as a spouse being murdered. A child drowning. A parent taken to jail. Sexual abuse. Physical abuse. Verbal abuse. Racial strife. It all takes a toll in this city. The police believed it to be better to treat the root of the problem than try to arrest all of those who have been traumatized and gone on to assault and terrorize others.
The school resource coaches (of which I’m still one even though the last 11 weeks have done nothing) have an office in this building. I needed more stickers and wrist bands to hand out next week at the sixth grade promotion at Columbia. I still don’t know how that event will look, but I know that I am going prepared. Just planning to take part in this event fills me with joy. The head of the coaches, John is a wonderful retired school principal who is also a very smart teacher, not only had the needed supplies, but also stories and advice.
We usually meet once a month during the school year, but haven’t seen each other since February, a few weeks before the shutdown. John shared with me what a few of the other resiliency coaches have done with recording their storytelling. I told him of my fractured attempt. We both agreed that it needed to be done with more professionalism. There might be ways to do that when the chaplain’s office makes another move to a larger building that has room for a recording studio. Many of the coaches will not be returning in the fall, no matter if the school district wants us or not. There are health considerations that will keep them home until a cure and/or vaccine becomes available. Since we have no idea what the school days will look like, we don’t know if there will be room for our stories. It’s all a wait and see.
In the end, we talked about joy. What gives us joy. How to spread joy. Next week’s event will provide joy. We are hopeful there will be joy next fall, too.