STRATEGY & TACTICS FOR BRIDGING MARITAL DISCORD TO HARMONY
The woman screamed to the man: "I WANT YOU OUT OF HERE!! NOW! TAKE YOUR JUNK & GIT! Traumatic words for any spouse to hear. Many events lead to marital discord. They vary in intensity, necessity, anxiety, anguish, greed & grief (just a few!) Not all accusations are reasonable, accurate, sound, or provable. Like beauty, suspicion & distrust is in the eyes of the beholder. There are many ways to formulate a plan for deliverance or restoration. The accused / accusing spouse must have an interest in healing & restoration. To do this he/she must have a developed sense of love, patience understanding & forbearance. Let us examine some aspects of the restoration process, and how you can approach reuniting.
I DOING NOTHING IN DESPARATION
A. The pain or importance of an event diminishes or is placed in proper focus as time goes
B. It my be easier to deal with after the intense feeling of intrusion & mistrust is moderated.
C. The down side is: That there is no closure or growth while they are not addressing
D. Unconditional forgiveness must be examined & practiced
E. Ignoring each other does not permit interchanges of thoughts or feelings.
F. This might be interpreted as indifference or acceptance of the misconduct by one party.
G. While giving each other space, there is no addressing other daily challenges occurring in the relationship.
II VENTING: (RELEASING ANGRY FEELINGS)
A. Controlled venting of feeling should be factual, not expanded or ancient history. Only one
Subject addressed at a time.
B. Venting can be done in the accused presence, to a mentor, in prayer, or even counseling
C. Select a time to impassionately confront issues!
D. Remember as anger rises, resolution diminishes.
E. Angry accusations beget angry responses.
F. If possible, have a neutral arbiter to control verbal exchanges of commentary.
G. Allow each one to make a statement without interruption. Control rhetoric & out bursts!
H. Maintain space between the participants.
I. Physical expression & contact is dangerous,-avoid it!!
J. Be careful in saying what you mean, but couch terms so that you mean what you say.
K. Confrontation can have unforeseeable results. Manage your words. Keep alert.
III Space Making
A. Depending on the severity of feelings. One of the spouses should vacate temporality.
This is not abandonment on abdication, but it is part of the healing process. It will allow reflection on the relationship, and hopefully put all aspects of the union into perspective and balance.
B. It is judicious to have a mutual agreement as to counseling, while the two are separated
Prior to leaving the session.
C. It is also desirable to leave the "Door of hope" open, No matter how aggrieved the parties feel. They are not the only persons of consequence. Children AND parents have an investment & the severance of divorce impacts all the family. DO NOT ETCH THE OUSTER IN CONCRETE!
D. Severances is an ugly word. It is more of a permanent concept that mere separation. It is also more painful. Children feel severance acutely; Separation is of equal interpretation to them. There is only subjective rejection and abandonment when mommy or daddy go away. Neither is a temporary concept to a child.
E. Unforeseeable Effects
A saying in my family is: “Never set into motion any force you cannot control to its end; or what you can not predict in its outcome!” This applies to marital discord. A Mormon saying which is also apropos is: “When dealing with loved ones, always treat them with patience, forbearance and love!” Human kind is fragile. But breaking points are not easily discernible. Some people are in such stressor overload that it could only “take one more straw to break the camels back!” The moral of this story' Read the two statements above & be guided accordingly!
F. Permanent Injury
Relationships are fragile! When we say harsh words to our loved ones. Do we calculate the lasting effects' A little boy was told by his mother in a fit of anger, “you’re never going to amount to anything, you’re as ignorant & incompetent as your father!” “Then why did you marry him, Mama'” The boy picked himself up across the room. The statement consciously lasted through to his young adulthood. In counseling him, I could tell he was very bright, and… very articulate! When I asked him why did he never achieve to his ability' He looked down & fidgeting, said, “Well, when I was 5, my mama told me I was no good. She said that I was just as ignorant as my dad! I loved my mama, ya know. She was big & I was little. My mama knew everything and I believed her. Her negative attitude drove my dad away, and I never saw him again, till last year. He has got married again and owns a big construction company. That’s when I began questioning my mother’s ability to evaluate people. When I found out my dad wasn’t the loser she hammered in to me. I began doubting what she said about me too. That’s why I’m here. Can you help me' At 24 this man was conditioned to believe he was a loser. Dad proved him wrong. But it took him 19 years to find out that a statement delivered in anger had a life long effect, on an impressionable child. Oh, yes! He went to work for his dad and is now a company vice president! He has no relationship with his sour and bitter mother. What a pity. Her acerbic nature seriously affected two loved ones!
G. Shifting Relationships
Physically, people grow and mature at different rates. But this rate of growth applies to the educational, occupational and spiritual aspects of our lives as well. Husbands and wives need to keep pace with each other. This does not mean unthinking subservience; or being a slave to the mate, but it does mean growing in grace, purpose and interests, together!
Wives like to shop! Ok, guys! Go with them! You say,” I’d be bored out of my skull!” Possibly, but invite her to go with you to the drag races, fishing, boat show or basketball game. Make it very special. Court your spouse as if you had just met and wanted to marry him or her. Think back what did you do or what wouldn’t you do, when you first met' Everyone likes to be indulged, to be courted, to be placed on the pedestal. Think of the story of the pearl of great price! A man saw it and greatly desired to obtain it. He sold everything he had and purchased it. The possession of this beautiful gem brought him great joy. He sacrificed many things in order to have one greatly valued pearl. Your spouse is likened to that pearl. Do not let your spouse grow away from you. Marriages do not fail from sudden accidents or incidents of a calamitous nature. They usually suffer from “Death by malnutrition”.
H. SPIRITUAL MALNUTRITION AND BOREDOM
This need not be the case. Any plant left without light, water nutritive elements will wither and die. Do not let your relationship die. That married partner was the most important person in your life, But interests selfishly experienced, Impelled that loved partner to draw away from you. Your “Investment” in love, time, goals and children, can wither just as surely as the drought-strickened plant. Before this happens, evaluate your circumstances, plan restoration. This is your consecrated mate, your life partner! One you wanted to spend your old age together. Love needs to be encouraged. Take a second Honeymoon to a quiet place to share closeness with each other. Be with that person, and continue the blessedness throughout the rest of your life. Shift into a gear of higher commitment and purpose together. Make it a voyage of Re-discovery.
God bless and sanctify each of you in your relationship. If you are hurting please call me.
Chaplain Harley Broviak.
TO BE NAMED PAUL!
“I’M GOING IN FOR A DISABILITY RETIREMENT HEARING, WOULD YOU COME WITH ME' HE ASKED' PAUL HAD BEEN ONE OF MY FAVORITE OFFICERS TO GO ON RIDE A LONGS FOR 8 YEARS. HE HAD BEEN A HIGHLY MERITED MARINE FOR 8 YEARS BEFORE BECOMING A POLICE OFFICER. HE HAD SERVED WITH DISTINCTION FOR 10 YEARS. ONE NIGHT WHILE CHASING A FLEEING SUSPECT ACROSS A FIELD HE STEPPED INTO A HOLE AND PAINFULLY FELL. HE RAN AFTER THE SUSPECT AND CAPTURED HIM.
LATER HE COMPLAINED ABOUT SEVERE PAIN IN HIS LOWER BACK, BUT DECIDED NOT TO GET MEDICALLY CLEARED BECAUSE IT WOULD TAKE 2 TO 3 HOURS AND HIS BEAT WOULD NOT BE COVERED.
“AFTER ALL, HE SAID, IT WAS PROBABLY ONLY A PULLED MUSCLE” HE CONTINUED TO SELF MEDICATE, BUT EVENTUALLY WENT IN FOR AN EXAMINATION. HE HAD TWO FRACTURED LUMBAR VERTEBRAE. HIS CHIEF PUT HIM ON MEDICAL LEAVE. HE USED UP ALL OF HIS SICK TIME OVERTIME, COMP TIME AND VACATION. HE ASKED TO BE RETURNED TO LIGHT DUTY, BUT HE COULD NOT GET CLEARANCE. HE WAS FINALLY WITHOUT PAY AND INQUIRY AND PROTESTS BROUGHT NO ASSISTANCE OR RELIEF.
THE FAMILY BUSINESS KEPT HIM AFLOAT FINANCIALLY FOR A WHILE. THEN A LONG TERM CONTRACT WAS NOT RENEWED; AN EMPLOYEE EMBEZZLED ALL OF THEIR EMERGENCY FUNDS, INCOME TOOK A ROLLER COASTER DIVE DOWNHILL, AND EVERYTHING STARTED TO FALL APART.
THE HOUSE PAYMENT DID NOT GET PAID, THE BUSINESS RENT WAS OVERDUE, CAR AND TRUCK PAYMENTS FAILED TO BE MET; A DEBTOR DID NOT MAKE A PROMISED LARGE PAYMENT ON A DEBT; HIS OLDEST CLIENT DISPUTED PAYING A 6 MONTHS LATE INVOICE. WOW! WHAT ELSE COULD HAPPEN'EVENTUALLY THE HOUSE WENT INTO FORECLOSURE. THEIR DESERT CABIN WAS PLACED FOR SALE AND TWO DAYS BEFORE CLOSING A LIEN WAS FILED ON THE CABIN. THE $60 K WHICH THEY WERE RELYING ON TO PAY ARREARAGES MELTED AWAY. THE BUSINESS HAD TO CLOSE. T HEY REFUSED TO ALLOW HIM TO GO BACK TO WORK, AND HE WAS STILL WITHOUT A PAYCHECK. HIS WHOLE WORLD HAD COLLAPSED. HE AND HIS WIFE WERE IN DESPAIR OVER NO MONEY, NO HOME, AND EVERYTHING THEY HAD WAS REPOSSESSED OR LEVIED ON. HE APPEALED TO THE RETIREMENT BOARD AGAIN. IT WAS DENIED AND HE WAS ORDERED BACK TO WORK AGAIN. UPON BEING EXAMINED HE WAS FOUND TO BE UNFIT AND SENT HOME .AFTER THIS LATEST REJECTION AND ABANDONMENT HE QUESTIONED WHAT WAS HAPPENING TO THEM. HE TOLD ME THAT THERE WAS NOTHING ELSE THAT COULD HAPPEN. HE WAS WRONG. WE WERE SITTING IN A CAFÉ GETTING A SANDWICH WHEN HIS WIFE'S CELL RANG. SHE STARTED TO CRY AND LEFT THE CAFÉ. PAUL ASKED HER WHAT HAD HAPPENED' HER TEAR STREAKED FACE CONTORTED AS SHE SAID SHE DID
Is it one word or two words' If it is one word it defines a day of ceremony & festivities. A day we can all feast upon the abundance of gods blessing upon us. It is a day for family & friends to get together and share love, camaraderie, & warmth. It is a day in which we traditionally celebrate deliverance from oppression, stressors & hunger. It is a day to delight the appetite and savor the cooking skills of grand mom’s & moms!
If it is two words it does not define a traditional day. It is not just the last Thursday in November upon which we celebrate a good harvest. It does not mean turkey & dressing, cranberry sauce & “Punky Pie”. It is not a long traditional line of ceremony.
When we contemplate what it means to us as a two-word phrase we can look deeper into the meaning of the words. We can propose that each of us realize certain blessings on each day we live in our wonderful country the blessings are easily enumerated. Let us name a few of them:
The blessing of freedoms. Freedom from oppression, freedom from persecution. Freedom of choice, of residence, type of occupation of travel, of education, of ownership, of unimaginable wealth & mobility, of self-determined goals & achievements, just to name a few!
We accept all of these blessings of freedom without question or gratitude. But they are not & have never been free! Each has been purchased with a price. The price has been in the concerted efforts of millions of American men and women who fought, sacrificed and gave their lives upon the altars of duty, service, equity & patriotism. They fought most nobly & well when it was impossible to win at all, but they did. It meant abandoning everything. Any family leader ever wanted, to risk life, limb, future & family to respond to a call to fight for equality & justice. These qualities, which were denied to all but a privileged few.
As officers we are the bastions of defenses to the manipulator, the aggressor, the usurper and the criminal. Those who would destroy personal destiny and the common good for selfish purpose. Because your predecessors, like you each gave their devotion to the causes which has made this country exceptional, so THANKS-GIVING is what we all should give to each of you who wear the badge, serve & protect us without qualms, restraint or fear of sacrifice. Our thanks to all of you guys & gals! Let us always love & revere you and all that you stand for!
GOD BLESS YOU!!!!
© Chaplain Harley Broviak
24-7 (951) 232-3837, (949) 723-1362, (949) 697-9110!
RUNNING & HIDING
When calamity strikes people tend to run. When we're consumed with fear from calamity we want to hide on seek shelter from accusing eyes and regressed criticism. Police officers are no exception we are indoctrinated from the academy on that suspensions, demotions & terminations go with the job, and the process can be vicious! The stigma of disciplines is a part of the frightening concerns of he officers. But it doesn't stop with the officers. Wife’s and children suffer as well. Recently an officer's wife called me crying about her neighbor's cruel treatment of her children. They live on a quite cul-de-sac with eight other polices families. On that day her three children came home broken hearted & feeling deep rejection. Sobbing with out cause, to mother inquiry they stated, "We were told to leave because our Daddy was a Bad Man” (The father was put on administrative leave) and that we could no longer come to the homes to play with our friends. The mother went next door and the door was slammed in her face. She was told, “Your husband is a dirty cop and we don’t want anything to do with you or your bratty kids.
Her question to me was “How could they do this to me and my kids. We've been close for 8 years. My husband didn’t do anything wrong. He is highly decorated, highly regarded as officer of the year twice, and very professional in all ways. He is constantly taking classes to improve himself in his work. He gets along with everybody and the chief said he thinks of him as a son. He was suspended (Later restored). The answer to her question is not easy. It does have to do with policies and a very liberal society who recants police officers as “Cossacks”, cowboys and, they are quick to yell out threats about cops out of control about constitutional rights abuses by officers on the “Poor criminals” in our society. As a constitution list, and having taught constitutional law. I am offended by persons who cry foul at officers who have been accused of violating the rights of others. Yet those same agitators who will protest vehemently over the “Savage” treatment of Gitmo terrorists will interfere and demand Public convictions of the honest and decent men and women of law enforcement before having been, tried and convicted in a court of law.
This is a goose and gander defense. When you couple the public’s attitude on police discipline with the shabby treatment by officer’s families in the case above cited you realizes that forbearance is Humane, a rush to judgment is violation of fairness & excision and excoriation without factual support is tam amount to inflicting terror upon a family. Why should little kids (and wife’s) be body slammed' If we are to be fair in treatment, not just politically expedient, we must not assume that an administrative leave is a conviction for criminal conduct. It can be purposed for malfeasance, misfeasance, or violation of dept. procedures. Before any of us condemn one of our brothers or sisters in law it behooves us to know all of the facts: Read the “unbiased” judgment by an impartial finder of facts, then support the finding, or protest against politically motivated discipline. Media justice ain’t no justice at all, neither is neighbor hoodvigicantion. Judge not lest you be judged! You could be next!! You are in my prayers each day.
© Chaplain Bro 24-7
“WHO TOOK MY CLOUDS”
As a little boy time seemed so often to stand still. One of my favorite quiet-time doings was to lay on the grass and watch the beautiful fluffy summer clouds drifting along. In my imagination, I saw many manifestations that only a child’s mind could contrive.
I had seen this cloud, as it slowly moved across the deep-blue sky in all of it’s puffy down pillow appearance. I was shocked from my reverie by my mother’s impatient calling. I quickly answered her question and went back to cloud gazing. But I became anxious and startled when the cloud no longer appeared in the big vast window of the sky. Three year olds do not have a vast repertoire of knowledge as to natural things. Never before had one of my cloud friends “Just up and departed” while I answered my self with my imaginings. I ran into the house and was upset and did not understand what had happened to “My cloud” in those short moments' To me the cloud was like a toy, or clay to mold, or sand to shape. I shed salty tears and mom walked outside to “Help me look for it”. It was then that she explained the never-ending changes in clouds. And other things in life as well.
I did not like that concept, and asked her if I would ever see “My cloud again”. She told me “No honey”, it has gone. It can never come back but it will send a lot of its brother clouds for you to “Play with”.
It was a moment of awakening for a small child to learn that life is ever moving, circumstances ever evolving, and change is certain. That was troubling to that 3yr old boy. It bothered me for sometime and later on I asked her if she would sometime “Go away” like my cloud friends' She spared me of the truth until my attendance at a funeral for Loren, A boy hood friend who died from illness. The truth of life sinks in when we are brought up short by reality. It didn’t happen to me all at once, nor does it happen to any of us so quickly as we might like. The lessons of life are hard lessons. We learn thru pain, anxiety and trauma. It behooves us to apply a little recap of life’s daily events at the end of our day. We can analyze what we did. Why we did it, and perhaps think of an alternative to our action if it left us feeling guilty or anxious.
In the bible it says, “ Sufficient unto each day is the evil thereof “ Plainly speaking it means: Don’t brood or condemn yourself if you make a mistake. Recognize it. Forgive yourself and others, then move on. You don’t want to carry old baggage over to the next day. We can eventually become like the homeless one pushing a shopping cart full of what we’d call junk. To the spiritually, emotionally and physically bereft or deprived the junk may be all that he has. He will treasure it regardless of its real value.
In our spirits we must differentiate between experiencing life fully in all its dimensions, or not getting involved. It is one of God’s gifts that we plumb the depths and experience the exhilaration of the heights so that wonderful life lessons which will help us to mature spiritually. This is the time when we can thank him at the end of the day for helping us to fulfill our divinely ordered destiny. If we truly believe and trust in him, We can know that the answer to life’s questions really do make sense though it may seem out of place or even hidden. Then we won’t have to say to our divine “Parent” “ Who took my cloud”
Call me if you lose your cloud!! God and I love you!!! Chaplain Broviak
SHELTER FROM THE STORMS
The phrase, ‘Into each life some rain must fall is an old cliché.” It tells of what happens to each of us on occasion. Each one needs protection from the occasional storms in life. In the physical world it is shelter, a raincoat or umbrella. In the emotional – psychological world it is another type of safe haven. A devoted family member, Confidante, Pastor, Priest, Rabbi, or a Therapist. We tell them the troubles of the heart, the conscience and the psych. sometimes the telling is enough. No advice is needed. Just the purgation of feeling will satisfy the one purging. That which is most often ignored is the spiritual. How do we weather storms in our spiritual lives' To whom do we go when troubles brew up in our soul' Is there a refuge for this kind of trauma'
Spiritual anxieties must be dealt with just as effectively as the physical and emotional traumas. The differences are to whom we divulge our anxieties. Spiritual mentorship does not always indicate seeking a human confidante, therapist or religious mentor. Religion is mans definition of what god is, as related by man. Spirituality is mans direct communion with God. We go to the throne of grace in prayer beseeching HIM. When we thus petitions god we must have intent to resolve, trust in him for the right solution, and faith that god’s answer will fulfill our divine destiny for the exaltation of our spirit.
Do we always get exactly what we ask for and want' Not always. God’s overview will give us different perspective on the solution. It will be in our best interest in service to him and to our fellow human beings. In our Fathers house there are many gift waiting to be distributed to us. When we willingly submit to him he knows our life’s direction. His judgment is infallible, ours is not. If we want to lead, we must first learn to serve. No success can be lasting or divinely important if it is not oriented to serve him. The dark clouds that interfere with the sunlight, The rolling and echoing thunder that can frighten & unsettle us, and the lighting bolts, which disturb us, are similar to the storms of life. We have similar effects in all three aspects of life’s troubles. We must learn to avoid the harshness and dangers they present to us. We can have an “Insurance Plan” in effect to make us feel comfortable and sure. That plan is to have a continual open door to the divine. Don’t wait till you have a crisis to go to God in prayer. But even if you do not “pray without ceasing” you can always have an audience with him. His grace is always there for us.
Before you get to the state of hopelessness, reach out for divine assistance. God will never reject you, nor will he abandon you. A good parent will not do this to his child.
Neither will god! He is not embarrassed, even if it is the first time you ask for relief, release or deliverance! If you can but “touch the hem of his garment” you will get answered. As the storms of lives rage about you, you will know peace. Even in the psalms he told us those comforting words. “ Though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil!” Neither should you! Praying for each of you daily. I am his and your loving servant. God bless you all.
Chaplain Harley Broviak
The Devil, You Say!
When he walked in, he appeared arrogant, self-assured and indomitable. His sharp uniform expressed his pride in his occupation as an officer. He made light of needing to talk to someone! He was okay. His life was o.k. His wife was a beauty and his kids were healthy achievers. There was a…. BUT! “So! What is bothering you Chester'” Nothing much Chaplin, just some growing pains in our marriage, I’m really bothered by some signs I’m seeing,” I said “ why don’t you tell me all about it'”
The storybook romance had been great up until the second child came. Then Ginger started with drawing from him. She became bitter and complained about him being a “sex magnet” to all the police groupies. She had seen the way they looked at him, smiled at him and flirted openly. His denials had no meaning or effect on her. Her smokey eyes focused on him suspiciously each time he walked in the door. Hugs and kisses disappeared, intimacy was gone and he slept “on his side” of the bed. It was as if a small copy of the “Berlin Wall” was running down the center. Do not cross was her implied message.
Chester was a normal male who did not understand her distancing and gangster style turfing. He talked to his doctor, “simple, guy, its post partum anxiety and the stress of caring for two children!” Possibly true, but was there something else' One day he was looking for a uniform button in her sewing room. Under some clothes, he found a liter of brandy and some porn books. He was perplexed as to why she would have alcohol and porn in the house' He did not confront her and watched. Ginger got progressively worse. It’s all your fault she would say. One night while on watch 2 He called home, the phone rang several times then was answered by a young female voice said “when are you over”' He heard rock music playing in the background. He asked for a couple of hours off early and drove to his house. There were two strange cars in the driveway. He parked a distance away and waited. Soon a car pulled up a few houses away. There was a man and woman in it. The woman opened the door and he saw his wife lean over and kiss the man passionately. His heart pounded furiously. He wanted to jump out and blast both of them. Only his sense of duty and honor stilled that desires. He went into the house.
Next, two boys and two girls walked out caring brown bags. He took the license numbers and drove away. He went to a safe spot where he could be alone and tried to adjust his mind to what he had seen. Tears flowed, anger developed and rage mounted. He thought he should confront her, at once. But he decided against it, and drove home. Ginger had bought a second cell phone and for which he did not understand why'
When the phone bill came he intercepted it and called the two three numbers must called. One was to an apartment and the other to an office. The man he had seen, lived and worked in the two locations. Upon confronting his wife she threatened to have him arrested for abuse, call his chief and” tip him off” to alleged law violations call. Their church, his men’s club and all their friends disappearing and humiliating him. She’d spill all kinds of angry, spurious allegations about his person, his profession and his perverted life style! In talking to many of his friends at work, church at the gym and his notary club. They, without exception, stated that “Chee” as he was affectionately called was a straight arrow officer, devoted father and husband. There were no deviations from propriety in any area what so ever. Ginger filed for divorce and threw all his personal property into the front yard. They were divorced and for two years she has done every dirty trick to destroy him. Her tactics were a cover for her guilt in s two-year affair Chester said! “ The devil was alive and well she is living in my house!” Chester is also alive and well! He is a different man, now. More reverent than Arrogant! He is recovering . Thank God!
God Loves You!
Be safe out there!
Mark Twain said, “Courage is the resistance to fear, mastery of fear, not absence of fear.” No one needs courage more than peace officers. People are taken hostage, people are terribly injured in homes, vehicles and planes. They are swept away in rushing waters, and earthquakes trap them in collapsed buildings. Any trauma to the person can leave them physically threatened or trapped. Quick thinking is necessary to extract them from the peril, which may plunge the officer into extreme peril. There are so many adept at physical rescue but what about those who are imperiled by emotional or spiritual circumstances' Of whom and by whom can they be rescued' To enter into the realm of emotions, the intercessor must be very courageous indeed. If one is faced by an immediate and pressing emergency, two means of approach can be considered. One is just being there. “What is troubling you'” and “Can you tell me all about it'” is the second approach.
Asking those magic questions can open a lot of doors, it can also be like a box of roaches, once it’s open you don’t know where they will go. And likewise, you do not know where the troubled one will lead you. It takes courage to intercede into a troubled heart. May be you wouldn’t like to hear it, may be you don’t care, may be it is beyond your capacity to cope. But immediate need may force you to courageously step up to the plate.
A rookie officer was dispatched to a “jumper” at the Wiltern building at Wilshire and Western in Los Angeles. The people standing around the bottom of the building were yelling at the young man to jump; cat calling and taunting the troubled youth. The sergeant told the rookie to “go up and bring him down.” The man was standing on a 10th floor window ledge. The young officer protested, “Hey Sarge, I’m deathly afraid of heights!” The sergeant said, “So am I, but you’re going up there and talk this guy out of it. That’s an order!” Reluctantly the officer prayed for divine assistance as he took the elevator to the top floor and then the steps to the tower. He could see the man silhouetted against the summer’s setting sun. He was holding onto the frame of the large opened window. He was sobbing and his body shook as he stood at the brink of impending death. The catcalls and taunts were plainly heard, echoing into the tower room. When the tower door opened, the man turned around yelling, “Don’t come any closer or I’ll jump!” The officer prayerfully said those few magic words. Then as the man moved out on the ledge, the officer, shaking with fear, went to the window and sat with his feet dangling over. His heart raced, thumping like a big drum in his chest. He felt dizzy and nauseous. He asked God to give him just a little more courage and calm. Remarkably the feeling of great peace took over and he calmed the youth. He never recalled what he said to the man, but after about 20 minutes, the man had stopped his heartbroken crying and took the rookie officer’s hand and came in through the window. As they walked down the steps together the youth said, “Weren’t you scared'” The officer replied, “I was terrified until I asked God for courage. Then an overwhelming sense of peace took over. I felt God’s presence on that window sill. I don’t know if I could ever do it again, but I hope you never do that again either.”
So thinking, praying and acting courageously will get you through terrible and severe emotional, physical and spiritual crises. Live as if you had courage. That means thinking, praying and acting courageously. Resist fear or master fear. President Roosevelt said, “The only thing we have to fear is fear itself.”
God bless you my brothers and sisters.
Your 24/7 brother.
Daily prayer for guidance and success
When I first became an officer I was told by my sergeant, “Hey bro, if you are going to go anywhere in the lash-up, you have to be seen with the right people.” Sounded good to me. Sarge brought me an application to go on a retreat with the chief. Wow! What an opportunity, right' Yes, it was exactly that. But not in the way I expected. During the next 10 years of retreats I got to meet “the Chief” for three days each year.
“Chief” Jesus changed my life so much more than just my previous salvation. For those three days of silence, reflection and prayer were instrumental in changing the way I appreciated all aspects of my life. It became my special time of reflection, consecration and commitment that built with every year. I was with a “band of brothers” who daily faced the same challenges as I did. These three days of silence, loving care and teaching, good food and the beauty of a billionaire’s mansion on the Malibu coast brought me a little closer to God and my eventual ordination as a pastor and chaplain. It’s strange. I never wanted that job as a “wussy, goody-goody two shoes.” But God in his unalterable vision kept gently pushing me inexorably to it. I wonder now why I resisted him. I could have served him diligently for a lot more years. I felt that my job as a “kick butt and take names” cop was primary. Yet unknowing to me and irritation to my partners who often said, “Hey bro, knock off the curbstone counseling. We got crime to crush and butts to kick.” They eventually grew to accept my attempts to change the men, women and kids we faced down each shift. Slowly the other officers would come to me with problems and solutions. I just “fell into it.” Or did I' God in his greatest wisdom, much greater than ours, has made each of us in our own individual mold. There is a plan, the Master’s Plan, for our lives. We can accept and endure the pain, or be swallowed up like Jonah in the whale (he ran from God’s plan for him), or we can submit to God’s will for us. Gently we can be moved by the tide of our lives to that safe harbor of service to him and our fellow creatures.
It really is fulfilling, my brothers and sisters, to be dedicated, consecrated and committed to serve you whenever you have needs. Talent develops from experiences and exposure to life’s vagaries. Nothing learned is ever wasted; it just resides in your knowledge bank until it can be spent.
Here is the prayer I have opened my days with since the mid-50s.
The Peace Prayer of St. Francis
Lord, make me an instrument of thy peace. Where there is hatred, let me sow love. Where there is doubt, faith. Where there is despair, hope. Where there is darkness, light. Where there is sadness, joy. Where there is injury, pardon. Oh divine master, let me not seek so much to be consoled, as to console; to be understood as to understand; to be loved as to love. For it is in giving we receive. It is in pardoning that we are pardoned. It is in dying that we are born into eternal life.
Remember, God loves you and I do too!
If you want to travel, go to someday I’ll TODAY. When I was 18 years old I bought a set of sterling silverware for my mother. Hers had been lost during a move. It was beautiful, all sparkling and shiny in its piano finished, flame mahogany chest. Over the years we had meals with mom many times. Each time we came she used her silver-plated ware. I wondered why she didn’t use my gift and asked her. She said, “that is so beautiful. I am saving it for special occasions!” What a tribute. I had bought this gift and she treasured it so much she only used it on special occasions. Fifty years went by. When mom died I had to clear out her house so it could be sold. In a closet I found many boxes of gifts, beautiful things given to her by dad and my siblings. They had been opened and then placed into her “someday I’ll” closet. She had treasured each gift and on the gift cards was the day they were received and stated who the donor was.
There on a lower shelf was a beautifully finished mahogany chest wrapped in a cloth. When I opened it, I found my gift card. “To my wonderful mom, for all the great times and your love and care. I hope that you will accept this to replace that which was lost during our move in December 1941.” Love, your son Harley.” The silver was shiny and bright still. It was wrapped in nontarnishing papers. It had never been used. This was mom’s “someday I’ll” closet. Someday I’ll wear the beautiful gown, someday I’ll carry this expensive alligator purse, someday I’ll wear this amethyst necklace, earrings and ring, these hand carved cowboy boots, 30 to 40 boxes of beautiful gifts stored in a dark closet. Treasured but not used, not seen by others, not seen by mom either. They were there. She owned them. They were examples of the love, affection and care of persons who loved her in return. But they were hidden and for the most part forgotten.
How much like the gifts that all of us receive from God. “Someday I’ll use my gift of friendship! Someday I’ll tell my wife how much I appreciate her and buy her that ring, fur coat, new car, just for her very own. Take her on that Caribbean cruise. Etc., etc., etc.” Someday I’ll take the day off and take my kids to the beach, the ballgame, and the mountains, go camping. On and on, endless, well-meaning self promises that “die aborning.” The gift of our companionship, our presence, or interests, our recognition of the joys of our friendship for them.
But when we open the “closet to our lives,” we see the beautifully wrapped “gifts” God has given us, with all of the cards dated and stating what their purpose is. But they were left in the dark, unused, unknown but to the closet keeper. The moral of the story' Travel to “someday I’ll” today and everyday. Don’t let your God-given gifts mold or gather dust and memories. Wear them, use them, share them, loan them, and give them away. Let them be exposed to the light! And … let them (your gifts) be bright and shiny for all to see!
Be blessed each day.
A Prayer For Any Day, Every Day!
St. Francis of Assisi prayed a special prayer to start his day with dedication to god. It is so appropriate; that I too have begun my day with is since I first heard it in 1958.
Listen to it and see if it says something to you spiritually.
“The Peace Prayer of St. Francis”
Lord make me an instrument of thy peace,
Where there is hatred, let me sow Love
Where there is doubt, Faith
Where there is despair, Hope,
Where there is darkness, Light,
Where there is injury, Pardon and
Where there is sadness, Joy
Oh, Divine Master!
I do not seek so much to be consoled, as to console,
To be loved as to love
For it is in giving that we receive
It is in pardoning, that we are pardoned
And it is in dying, that we are born into
This may seem to some as theologically outside of their belief. But if you look closely at it, and listen to it as you read it aloud, it becomes a dedication of your best self for acts of selfless giving. When you think about the message in it. Is there any doubt that it will cause you to spiritually grow as it had done for me' Try it, you’ll like!
Out Lord smiles upon you and I pray for each of you.
Fury On Wheels
Each of us spends hours in our cars each week. This time is used in varying ways. For some it is only transportation, for others it is an “office.” Our work (and driving a patrol car is work) can be both exciting and boring. It can be a peaceful time or it can dump us into stressor overload with high adrenalin and /or a testosterone pump. (Pardon me ladies!)
The driving is not always the exciting part. It is the unexpected acts of a foolish, “me first” intoxicated or discourteous driver. These challenges require quick action and responses, which jerk us out of lethargy. We react explosively. Our reactions will be based upon experience, training, anxiety, level, and mood.
During our shift, a period of tranquility is a necessity for each and every officer. Though, we cannot have it every moment. We should have breaks to regroup, recharge our batteries or just zone out. With out this recess we would eventually become pathological and react with the reptile brain, that is the lowest level of mental state. It is basically survival oriented. There is no thinking, no rational, no logic, no mulling over choices. The reptile brain only seeks either violence escape or gratification for the body.
Without good parenting, education, training and social values, a car can become a lethal instrument. Do you remember the drunken soldier who fought with his girlfriend, got drunk to avoid the pain of the parting, and stole a Bradley tank from the motor pool' He then drove it over on or through anything that got in his way. His reptile brain, the only part that function in an intoxicated state, took over and he sought violence and destruction, because he was hurting. There is no logic to his theft or his destruction of so many innocent persons property. Nor does his state of mind reduce the guilt of his acts under the law. It does give insights into the psyche of the intoxicated, persons who have glandular imbalances or those who behave irrationality due to stressor overload.
Police work in the last 20 years has changed drastically. Shooting from the hip is no longer a desired scenario. There are times when it is necessary (Dep. David March would have been a case in point) But we now seek less lethal solutions for confrontations which over come us. Driving will always be a dangerous activity. There are more and more elderly people driving. Their thought processes are slow and unusual. There are more young people who drive and they think they are immortal. There are people from other cultures who were walking barefooted in the jungle a year ago, who now have a car!
What is the Message' Be alert not inert. Expect the unexpected. Keep your reactions sharp. Avoid driving when angry, sick, debilitated, or sleepy.
Remember how much we all need you. You are our vanguard of protection and you are God’s specially ordained supporters of law and order
Be Safe out there!
Each officer projects and develops an official persona. Our faces and body language tell people a lot about who and what we are. Some people are able to read these subliminal clues. The predator uses them to discover a weakness or an attack opportunity. They develop this sense to give them additional intel to be able to overcome and to vanquish victims. Most of us do not develop this until we have been in the field as journeymen officers.
Our persona will transmit signals to the predator. If it reads alert, professional, prepared, wary and honest, he may avoid contact. He would rather find an officer who has his guard down, is soft, fatigued, bored or complacent. Any of these perceived aspects of the officer can be used to the criminal’s advantage. If you transmit any of these signals, the predator will pick it up, analyze it and at the right moment strike out or attack. Then you become prey.
Even a hungry or frightened predator will avoid contact with someone who broadcasts a state of ready alertness. A personal assessment of how you appear should be considered at least a couple of times each year. This can be done by oneself or with a trusted partner. Get a full-length mirror set up at an appropriate distance; walk up to it several times. Notice how you walk, your posture, your carriage, your demeanor! Broadcast confidence, command presence and infinite control. Evaluate each approach, study it, feel it, practice it until it becomes comfortable to you. Say to yourself “if I was a bad guy, how would I react with this officer' What does he telegraph to me' What are my face, walk, body language, posture and presence saying' Am I exuding command, presence and control' Do I broadcast confidence' Am I standing tall and erect' Did my eyes quickly do a survey or areas of potential danger or ambush' Did I make and maintain steady eye contact with those I am interviewing or interrogation' Is my voice steady and assured' Am I ready to act to any degree or level in my role as an officer'”
If you get negative answers or reactions, go back and practice them until they become automatic!
Welcome to coppers charm school.
© Chaplain Harley Broviak
Are you a sheep or a goat?
It is said life has a way of separating the “sheep from the goats.” It is just fine to be either a sheep or a goat. So long as you know your place and your purpose. If your life makes you or you embrace “sheephood,” you will live a sheeplike life. If you choose to be a goat, you will be tied to that as well.
Your choice of one over the other should be done with analysis and personal dedication and prayer. There are no courses in either class. It is solely up to you to become creative, inventive and intuitive. Usually, one will find the way because humankind tends to “classify” us and we could be found living as sheep or goats because of peer pressure.
Can a sheep aspire to be a goat' Why not' A sheep is complacent, a herd creature willing to move as the leader indicates the direction. Not given to thoughts of danger or future, the life of a sheep is quite simple. Eat, move with the flow and get sheared in the spring! Not much progress or adventure, just a day-to-day mostly predictable existence. Humdrum, a bit boring and little stress.
You can be a goat! What do goats do' Well, they are different from sheep. More independent, self-assured, playful, even combative. They climb mountains leaping from crag to crag. Racing over the rocks and rills standing silhouetted against the rising sun. They are hard to catch, not willing to be submissive or annually shorn. A bit arrogant and even outrageous, they do not court complacency or a static life. In the simple sense, goats are involved and explore living each moment dynamically. They do not contentedly graze over lush fields of grass, but can exist on tough alpine growth, bushes and shrubs.
So what’s the argument' Just this: choose now what you will be, alert or inert! You can choose your life goal. You can be what you want to become. You can choose the boring flatlands or you can ascend to the pinnacle and heights for glorious living’s sake. Life is an adventure and an exciting one. Or … you can drift through it! Moving with the flock never knowing, never tasting the splendid things of God’s kingdom. Boredom is not the way of the law enforcement officer. Each of your partners hopes that you are not there to coast. That you are like the playful goat, trying to achieve the heights. Experiencing new vistas, being totally alive and filled with joy!
Being a goat is not all that bad!
In His service.
© Chaplain Harley Broviak
A Sense of Valor
Await God’s moment, then do your duty! In every officer’s life there is a single moment where all of the powers of the self and the universe combine to bring about an important event. Each of us will experience this circumstance at some time in our career.
All of life’s lessons, training, schooling, discipline and family instruction will coalesce at that time to give us a shining moment. It may not be earth shattering, or 6 o’clock newsworthy, but to us it will give that special feeling of having stood on the razor’s edge of time; to do something heroic, exceptional and singularly moving. When this happens you will feel vindicated for the one square foot of space you occupy in God’s kingdom.
For me, it was as an off-duty observer of blinding head-on crash on a highway. Five drunken undocumented immigrants swerved across the center line and hit a small station wagon with a husband, wife and two small boys in it. A crowd quickly gathered but nobody rendered aid. I ran to the large car. Four of the occupants were dead. I triaged the survivor who was alive but pinned inside the car.
I grabbed a young man and told him to stay with the driver until help came and went to the station wagon. Only the man and woman were visible. Both were dead from massive trauma. The backseat was folded down and a small hand was slightly protruding. I had to go through the back hatch and with the help of a body builder who pulled the wedged seat up and back, pulled the first child out. Then I saw the second child under him. I gave CPR to the second child and we laid them on a blanket to triage for other injuries.
After 10 minutes the ambulance arrived and I reported the status of the nine persons involved as the paramedic worked feverishly to prepare the children for transport. He said, “I need my spine boards.” I ran to the ambulance and returned with splints, ties and spine boards. When the children were stabilized, though still unconscious, they were airlifted out. The firefighter put his hand on my shoulder and said, “ I don’t know who you are sir, but I’d work with you anytime.”
Three lives were saved that day. I left without anything further said or done. I was recognized by a client who called the board of supervisors. I was honored by them for an act of valor, which I had not sought. The saving of two little boys and the compliment of the seasoned rescuer was my pay for the day. I had trained for 25 years to be prepared for that incident. Await God’s moment, then do your duty!
In God’s love to serve you all.
© Chaplain Harley Broviak
Is it good, or is it bad to have anger' Anger is a tool like our other emotions. It can be used like a bludgeon or like a prod. As an example; Jesus walked into the temple in Jerusalem and surveyed the circus-like atmosphere. He became angry and focused his anger on the hawkers, the shills and the usurers who defiled God’s house with their thieving, conniving and outrageous conduct.
He went to the dove cotes, sheep, goat and cattle pens, opened the doors and shooed the animals out. He then went to the money changers who had to change money from foreign countries into the money of Roman Jerusalem. Their tables were throughout the atrium. He swiftly overturned the tables and the coins flew in all directions. He told the astonished sacrificial animal merchants and the bankers: “You have taken the house of God and changed it into a den of thieves!”
Although these persons performed a service in providing animals for sacrifice and money was changed for tithing to the temple, their prices were extraordinarily high. They didn’t just exact a profit, they charged many times the value of the animal’s worth and high rates for making the switch from the money of their home countries to Roman money.
Anger can be a motivating force to action. In a class I taught on combat shooting I exhorted the officers to become angry that the suspect would dare to draw or point a weapon at them. This was a controlled type of anger; translated to a regimented fury and action dedicated and focused on survival and winning the confrontation. It emphasizes the old saying, “As a man thinketh, so is he!” You must think survival!
Fervency, the power to push yourself beyond your normal limits, is a controlled emotional response. Emotions, which are controlled, help to make their outcome positive. Never underestimate the power of your emotions. We have all heard about the frail young woman who lifted the car off her son, or the brave man who jumped into an ice-covered river and rescued several victims of a plane crash. In order for officers to survive in today’s world, we have to use all the tools at hand. Creativity along with a survivor’s attitude will get you through overwhelming circumstances. You must have control of emotions to use them. Anger is only one emotional tool you can use.
Be safe out there!
In his service
© Chaplain Harley Broviak
Thou Shalt Not Kill
“Hey Chaplain, how can I be a good servant of God and be a cop' What about the 10 commandments I hear you talking about' Didn’t you call them the most important signposts on the road of life'”
“In my job I have to be ready to take a life and I’m scared that I will violate the commandment to avoid killing some felon! What do I do' I’m having a really hard time trying to follow God’s laws and then I read this: Thou shalt not kill'''”
I answered this by instructing the officer as follows: The Greek language translation, which was used at the time of Christ, was taken from the Hebrew. King James translation brings the message in Exodus 20 verse 13. It reads: “Thou Shalt Not Kill.” But is this reasonable, rational or logical'” Some of God’s favorite humans were his warriors. There was a whole lot of killing going on by these warriors. Look at shepherd David who slew (killed) Goliath, he was the giant who held the whole Israeli army at baby. David found favor in God’s sight when he stepped forward with a slingshot and three small round stones. Everywhere you look in the scriptures you will read of warriors, who killed many people, yet found favor with God and became Israel’s leader and king!
How can we read these commandments and believe they are God-given and see people who breach them become God’s chosen' Isn’t that a conflict to be instructed in his holy word to avoid taking life and then seemingly being rewarded when they break a holy commandment' There has to be rationale that makes this gross sin either pardonable or excused. We know that each of us will be justified in taking the life of a vicious felon who was threatening the life of our child or another loved one. We would not be held responsible if we did take a life out of necessity. Our penal code says killing is excused if justifiable. Justification is based upon avoiding death or serious bodily harm to an innocent person, or by a peace officer in the course and scope of his duty. Should that killer (taker of life) be eternally condemned for killing the felon' The answer is he will not be held liable. It all comes down to translating correctly from the Greek to the English language. The accurate and proper translation is: “Thou Shalt Not Do Murder!” Next question please. Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!
In his service. In his love.
© Chaplain Harley Broviak
Understanding the frailties of humankind is a lifelong job; one aspect of living is avoiding or overcoming disappointment. We place our trust and confidence in friends, colleagues and neighbors. Sometimes our hopes are dashed to pieces like a mighty ship on jagged rock reefs.
There are many reasons why people disappoint us. Some are emergent, some are political, some are the result of fear or because the person who made the promisor is lazy or uncaring. The effect is still the same, regardless of the motivating factors.
Each of us wants to have the assurance and the certainty that what one commits to can be depended upon. To have a commitment breached unsettles us. It can breed self-doubt or a loss of esteem. Certainly rancor, bitterness or anger can result. Estrangement also happens. To allow the negative feelings to build can cause a relationship to fail. It colors our days if it is unconfronted or unforgiven. If the person is very powerful or politically connected we may not be able to confront out of fear of reprisal. To let anger smolder is asking for a life-altering action. Small or great, the effect is cumulative. In the Bible it says “Sufficient to the day is the evil thereof!!” Basically, don’t carry bad thoughts or negativity over to the next day. It will only continue to grow and add to the pile of nonsense and minutia we carry around in our heads. You can’t just forget it and let it slide. You have to consciously forgive it. Then, and only then, can you go on to the next chore, job or recreational activity with a free mind uncluttered with old resentments, rages and angers. You won’t even have to seek revenge!
When you say, “it’s over, it’s past, it’s gone!” Well, it must be! Don’t give safe harbor to bad thoughts. Don’t keep “garbage” in your head any more so than you would keep garbage in your pocket. Don’t get angry. Don’t get even. Just get ahead!
You’ll grow in grace, you will be at peace with yourself and you’ll be able to smile, be pleasant and be productive. Just ignore the small stuff! (It’s all small stuff!)
In his service
© Chaplain Harley Broviak
The Mirror of the Soul
An old saying states “Before you look critically into another’s face, stand before God and let him look into yours!”
It is easy to look at others with disdain and rejection when they are fragile or in despair. Life is not always easy for any of us. Mistakes are made and when they surface we are forced to be at least self-analytical. That is so much easier than when our colleagues evaluate us.
“Judge not, lest you be judged,” It says in the scripture; and; “All have sinned and come short of the glory of God.” The message in these sayings is to “Be kind to all of those you deal with, for you know not the terrors behind their eyes.” And … allegations are not necessarily factual or true. Anyone can accuse anyone else, at any time. For anything! The destroyers of this life seek only that. Inflicting pain and causing distress was not Christ’s way of serving others. If you look at others with the idea of inflicting them with distress or loss of esteem, you may exult in your ability to stir this pot. But as in physics, every action (bad or good) has an equal and opposite reaction. Wow! We’d better be careful how we treat others, huh'
If we believe science, we each broadcast certain vibrations or an aura. Those who are sensitive can subtly ascertain the aura we project. If you can “read” this information it could serve you well, or, it can be used maliciously to damage another.
Kindness and understanding of the curious envelope called a body should be our direction when we deal with others. That is what Christ’s examples teach us. It is well for us to let God judge and punish rather than we tender human beings who are limited in understanding and overall perceptions. For if we err, we tarnish the mirror of the soul …… ours!
God loves ya, me too!
Be safe out there.
© Chaplain Harley Broviak