The Things They Carry
I am currently reading a book by Tim O'Brien titled "The Things They Carry." It reminds me of the difficulty that our Officers, Dispatchers, EMS, Firefighters, Medical Staff, and their families carry everyday. As in war that O'Brien describes, our first responders carry many types of gear/equipment based on their role and responsibilities. This ranges from a phone and computer, a scalpel and stethoscope, an axe and hose, IVs and stretchers, handcuffs and guns, to supporting and loving the most precious people in our lives in any way that they need. Some of this equipment takes its toll on the body from the weight, heat, and long hours of service. However, beyond the obvious stresses in the lives of our emergency personnel, there are other things they carry. They carry things like helping a person wash brain matter off their hands after finding their loved one who just committed suicide, dealing with the mental anguish of being forced to take another human life, seeing children who are abused physically, sexually, and without hope, or losing those closest to them due to the responsibilities placed on them.
These emotional and mental stresses on our emergency personnel is commonly more devastating than the actual job functions they are called to do. The suicide rate among our emergency personnel is the highest of all professional vocations. More officers die from their own hand than they do from on the job fatalities. What can we do to help? This is one of the primary reasons we exist. As Chaplains we have the opportunity to be involved in the daily lives of those we get to be with. We may simply have a conversation about the Broncos, about how they are communicating with their wife/kids, or things that you can't imagine. What is important is that we are there with them in their life, able to provide encouragement, advice, to simply listen, and be able to share the love and hope of Jesus Christ when He opens the door for us.
Could we ask for anything better?