Tuesday, January 25, 2011

The Man With the Golden Helmut

Annelie – my wife and professional colleague – and I have seen the actual Rembrandt painting;  it must be in some museum in the Netherlands - we just can’t remember where! I liked the painting so much that when I saw a reproduction in the Fort Wayne Public Library I bought it immediately to hang in my office in the Samaritan Pastoral Counseling Center at the First Presbyterian Church. When I had to make some sense of a particularly difficult counseling session, I used to turn in my chair and study him. He has been up in the attic for a while now, but as I have finally decided to write a blog, down he comes and up on the office wall where he can look over my shoulder.

A couple of those nearest and dearest to me for some time now have been telling me I should go on the web. For those who have considered writing a blog it does not take me to help them pronounce, "pro-cras-tin-a-tion."

The winter got suddenly longer with the recent bloodbath in Arizona. It flashed in my mind what I regard as a normal memory that keeps coming back. I was a Methodist pastor in southern Louisiana and had gone to a Goldwater for President rally. As I came in I suppose I had noted the gun racks in the backs of pickups. After a while the talk started. I can still see the scene when it hit me, "It is going to be open season on liberals if this guy gets elected." The winter got longer Sunday when the media started reporting four police officers shot in Detroit. Then at noon Monday it was two officers in Florida.

Some memories die hard. A while back I was the mental health consultant for a sheriff's department when critical incidents occurred.  One morning my secretary canceled all the appointments. Soon we had the sheriff and thirteen guns, including a young officer, sitting in my office.

You may know that gossip has it that once upon a time a couple of new officers - some where, some time - after a particularly grizzly accident, would go out to a spaghetti supper just to show how tough they were. After some time I came to the conclusion that nobody in that department could have served long enough to live down a stunt like that. Well, sitting in the group was a female officer who, considering with whom she was sitting, had a reputation for being tough. As we all talked, I had never experienced a person more sensitive, more caring. When at work I am sure she was treated "as one of the boys," but if she ever came into a room where I was sitting I would immediately stand up at the entrance of a lady.

Writer's reluctance broken, I hope we see each other tomorrow.

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