Corporal Darrell Campbell with the Snyder, Texas Police Department was shot in the head in a line of duty incident early Tuesday morning. .He has been hospitalized in Lubbock’s University Medical Center since the shooting occurred. I was not at all surprised to read in media releases that patrol officers with the Lubbock Police Department are staying with Campbell and members of his family in the Intensive Care Unit area around the clock. They are there to provide security and support for the Campbell family 24/7.
I have several reactions to their prompt and consistent response. In 21 years of volunteering as a law enforcement chaplain, I have seen such actions over and over again. Police officers are extremely loyal to each other. They are also trained to respond to a crisis in very definite, tangible ways.
Their actions this week at the hospital are also a reflection of their identity. They are protectors. That is who they are. Consequently that is what they have to offer a family facing the reality of a loved one who critically injured.
What about the rest of us? What do those of us that do not go to work with guns on our belt have to offer? Interestingly enough the very day of the shooting I read an essay from Henri Nouwen that addresses this need. He puts us on the right track with the following ideas:
Your unique presence in your community is the way God wants you to be present for others. Different people have different ways of being present. You have to know and claim your way. That is why discernment is so important.
Allow me to offer a not so subtle reminder. You are a unique presence in your community. You can be present for others in ways that no one else is suited to do. This week some of my dearest friends in the world are recovering at home from a serious car crash after being hospitalized out of state. Several of their friends are “running interference” at their home, so they can get some needed rest. Their loyal supporters are accepting casseroles, greeting well meaning visitors, and generally keeping the house going. They are being present for someone in need.
My encouragement to all of us is: Know and claim and our way! The needs abound. Your unique presence in the community is the way God wants you to be present for others. Where will that lead you tomorrow? Your unique presence is needed right now!