BSW Stories - Page 23

My learned that his friend and fellow officer didn’t make it. With his back against the wall, he was sobbing so hard that he was shaking. I felt the best thing I could do was to be there, side by side, and to silently give him physical and emotional support. job as a hospital chaplain is to mainly listen – to patients and their loved ones, as well as staff – and on the night of the shooting, words were again secondary as there were no answers to the questions we were all asking. Later, during a TV interview, I started to cry right in the middle of it. I was shocked by my reaction, as I normally don’t cry. But I realized that I was crying for the officers’ families and for our staff – especially those who tried to save lives but couldn’t – as well as our entire community. Under such circumstances, you just can’t tell somebody, “It’s going to be OK.” So instead, our chaplaincy team offered encouragement and praise, especially to the staff, which could easily have been forgotten in the commotion. What ministry we did offer was to pray with the families, or simply give a pat on the shoulder or a hug. No one was trying to be a hero. The attending chaplains debriefed after it was all over, and we realized that we were going through our own grief. We learned that when things are so big and so intense, we have to trust our instincts and training and be all right with our limitations. Times like these help us remember that we’re all human. Sometimes the only way to honor and respect grief and pain is through silence. That tragic night, I was standing, at one point, shoulder to shoulder with a Dallas police officer who had just – Alan Wright 21