Chaplain's Corner: The Roads to Jericho and Emmaus
Chaplain Bill Wolfe
Hello, and welcome to this September’s edition of the Chaplain’s Corner. Friday night…September…and Texas…that means all roads lead to Jacket Stadium. Sting ’em, Jackets! Oh, sorry, got a little carried away there. I’m glad it’s September. That means it will start cooling down in a few weeks and our chances of rain should be going up. Hot and dry gets old pretty quick.
I guess it wouldn’t be too unusual for a patrol deputy to think about roads when there are miles and miles of miles and miles out here in western Llano County. I can head out of the City of Llano going north, south, west, southwest, or northwest and have nothing but ranch land for at least 13 miles, no matter which way I go. Boring to a lot of deputies, but I like it.
Well, what I wanted to visit with you about this time out isn’t concrete and asphalt. It’s not a state highway or even a ranch road. I want to focus for a few minutes on two roads mentioned in the Gospels, what happened there, and apply it to present day.
If you’ll permit me to pull out my “revised-slandered, slightly amplified, and loosely paraphrased” version of the Bible, I’ll try to condense a little and adapt the text into terms we in LE may relate to better.
OK, first is the account of the Road to Emmaus. (Luke 24: 13-19) Two officers were walking slowly back to the cop shop talking when a Subject they didn’t recognize joined them and began talking with them. He asked them what was going on, why they were so sad, and that He noticed they were wearing mourning bands on their badges. They came back with, “You’re not from these parts, are you?” He replied, “What’s happened?” “We’ve had a line-of-duty-death in our department. We’ve just had the funeral and some of us are taking it pretty hard.” The little group walked and chatted, and as they passed a little café, the men said “Would you care to get a cup of coffee with us?” When they were seated, the Stranger asked, “Have they held a debriefing yet? I’ve conducted a few and it helps to talk about it.”
The second is probably familiar to a lot of you. It’s called the Parable of the Good Samaritan. (Luke 10: 30-35) A police widow on her way home dropped to the roadside, crushed and broken, unable to face going on. An officer from the husband’s department passed by, and feeling awkward, not knowing what to say, crossed over to the other side of the street. A little later a neighbor came down the street and, seeing the widow’s distress, didn’t want to get involved and crossed the street and went another way. Some time passes and a third individual comes down the street and sees the widow in her distress and can relate. This woman sits down beside the grieving widow and begins to speak words of comfort … “I, too, am a survivor. Let me help you.”
Perhaps some of you can find yourself in one or the other of these little stories or know someone who might fit. LODDs take a heavy toll on survivors, be they coworkers or family members – as if you didn’t already know that.
The “good news,” and you may already be aware of this, is that there is an organization whose sole purpose is to bring survivors together to help other survivors rebuild their shattered lives. The name of the organization is “Concerns of Police Survivors” – C.O.P.S. The message I want to share with you is that you don’t have to deal with pain and loss all by yourself. There are others who have “been there, done that, don’t want the T-shirt” and are ready to come alongside and help you.
Someone has turned the story of the Good Samaritan into a little chorus sung at church: ♫ “He found me bleeding and dying on the Jericho Road…” ♪ Now after having become the Chaplain for the Central Texas Chapter of C.O.P.S., every time I hear that chorus, I think of survivors and the pain they bear each and every day. The chorus continues: “And He poured in the oil and the wine, the kind that restoreth my soul…” Yes, God and time play a big role in the healing process, but so do friends who have been down that road and can relate to where you are.
You can find out more about the programs that C.O.P.S. offers by going to their website at www.nationalcops.org. The national website also has all the state chapters and contact persons listed. I encourage you to contact the closest chapter and let them help get the healing started. If you’ve not had the misfortune to have experienced a LODD in your department, perhaps you’d consider a financial donation to your nearest C.O.P.S. Chapter.
Hey, thanks for listening and helping us help others.
Blessings to you and yours.