PRAYER AND REFLECTIONSfor police and military personsINVOCATION FOR SAFETYCalling in a wise embracing power May you feel the warmth of loving hands Owlish protection in wild dreamsProtective rings ‘round dark scenesSweetness to youCompassion, compassion tooHearty rose, sky love blueHallowed armor, holy wavesEven ‘yond earthly graves--2020No coward soul is mine,No trembler in the world’s storm-troubled sphere:I see Heaven’s glories shine,And faith shines equal,arming me from fear.--Emily Bronte
PSALM 23The LORD is my shepherd, I lack nothing. He makes me lie down in green pastures, he leads me beside quiet waters, he refreshes my soul. He guides me along the right paths for his name’s sake. Even though I walk through the darkest valley, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me. You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies. You anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows. Surely your goodness and love will follow me all the days of my life, and I will dwell in the house of the LORD forever.
LORD’S PRAYEROur Father who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread, forgive us our debts (or trespasses) as we forgive our debtors (or those who trespass against us), and lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil (or error). For thine is the kingdom, the power and the glory, forever and ever. Amen.
Guilt, Remorse and GriefWhen we are on duty and in the middle of a dangerous encounter, our main partner or someone else we work with regularly could be killed through gunshot wounds, a knifing, beating, a vehicle hit and more.If this happens to someone we have developed some sort of relationship with, someone we have gotten to know better or perhaps even have become close to, it can make us feel guilty for being alive when they are not, or for not doing enough before or during the encounter.
Taking Grief Down that Rocky TrailSometimes the feelings of sadness can hit real levels of grief as a sort of ache that goes beyond sadness. Sometimes we cannot stop crying. Other times, tears keep coming up here and there. In other cases, it can be like a crying that goes on inside one’s self without the visible signs of tears.Sometimes it’s just a grim reality that has set in, one that feels the words are sugary or no longer needed. The grim reality feeling can be a kind of bitterness or impatience with words. The idea is right there at a point of succinct knowingness inside; feelings and ideas have become like a microchip of information. You’ve been through deaths or hard times to the point the first horror and grief has been flattened down into anger or self-survival. Don’t tell me how I am supposed to feel, man: been there and done that. I want to just get through, deal with it, move on. And then there can be this impulsive response: Wow, a twist of fate, and that could have been me. Or it could be a downright: Glad it wasn’t me.What might help is to go inward with prayer and meditation to find the depths of your own soul first, as best as you can. But sometimes it’s just a matter of going off somewhere and getting quiet, maybe looking out over a scenic vista in the middle of nowhere. Find the inner turmoil, horror, sadness and pain. Allow yourself to feel what you feel, whatever it is. In addition, if you cannot seem to feel anything at all, even if it is a sense of numbness or apathy, allow this. Don’t force anything. Sometimes that hollow nothingness is a call of its own. See if you can remember the times there seemed to be something more that peaked its head through, a higher power, God, a universal mind, a feeling of interconnectivity that transcends normal physical experiences. If that is your space, fine, if not - don’t force it.After you make that real connection with yourself, then reach out and try to make that connection to the soul or deepest part of the person or persons who have departed through the violence you were witness to. Try to talk to them in your heart and spirit as best you can, to express what you feel. Try to make that final goodbye in a way that is honoring to both of you. Send them your best wishes, if you are up to that, but otherwise remain true to yourself and say and be what you really feel in this matter. Then try to let it go while retaining the most significant parts of the memory of it all. You can retain what was best in your connection with this person. In addition, it is wise to learn from our experiences to add to our knowledge, experience and wisdom. We can learn from even the most tragic encounters and can apply this knowledge to future endeavors to help ourselves and others. If we allow, nothing is truly wasted or gone forever.Odors, Sounds, ReverberationsIt’s sometimes not just what you see. It’s things that come in through your other senses, too. They can be bad odors, like smelly breath, body odor, urine, feces, vomit, rotting food or decaying human flesh. It can be the smell of moldy clothes or blood. It can be burning bodies, or the thick smoke of a trash pit or a house in its last embers.The sounds can be bullets or the curses of a suspect. It can be the sound of children crying or fellow officers moaning after being downed by bullets. It can be the screams of several people being shot at one time, or fire-sizzling vehicles.Reverberations are something felt in one’s bones, an aftermath that keeps reoccurring almost as if it is still in the room. It’s like the memory of vibrations, but something more. It can be the impact of a blast, shot, knife slice or fire. It’s also the flash that seemed to hit the back of your eyeball, leaving you temporarily blinded. It can be something that shook the ground or building. It can be a certain whiz of bullets flying close by or a distant thump from large weapons ejecting missives.It’s when you wake up from a bad dream feeling the explosion or shot after it is long over. It can be the sense of buildings crashing after a burn, or the blasted parts bursting super-fast and outward from a burning truck. It’s the feeling of the bridge collapsing and sinking, which can be like an earthquake shake or the sense of the explosion with a lot of light, burning and splashing, the sense everything in its wake is blown across the terrain into a million tiny pieces, human forms no longer recognizable as such. Bullet impacts can be about the immediacy of it, no time to prepare; in your dream you try to shake yourself into quicker action when it’s already over. You are still processing the movements and feelings of things. There is the horror of dealing with technology that is faster and bigger than you are.More on GriefYou can hold two diametrically opposed feelings for someone dying, but lean toward one or the other. And then they are gone. And they can have that same feeling about you until the end, as well. In fact, that person might not be on speaking terms with you, or you with him or her. You might have always felt things would get better, but now there is silence, the person is gone for good, and no, it did not improve.But even with the bad feelings toward the person who was dying and now gone, you can be surprised that you nonetheless feel an ache that you recognize as grief. So it turns out some part of that individual was with you and now is missed, no matter the distance in years or mutual negative approach.We might learn from this that bioenergy cords can go back to an earlier time when things were better between the two of you. When those are cut with death, the old feelings naturally well up,. reminding us how it was.We also might learn to watch signs with others still living - some things might never get better until the bitter end. So turn a page and find new true friends and another kind of family, don’t waste time hoping for something that won’t happen.In addition, let us be gentle on ourselves for not being able to cough it up.That is, you somehow cannot magically produce the so-called nice right feelings over this person’s dying and subsequent death. You really did not like how it was between you in the later years.If you are feeling some aching sort of grief based on an earlier time together, but more anger, hurt, resentment, and disappointment than anything else, pay heed to that. If you are horrified that the irreconcilable differences thing that went on between the two of you over most of a lifetime - this feeling as an aftershock…like waiting for the grand finale, even if you were prepared to accept even a tiny whisper, and it never came…Silence speaks, so listen. You hear that sound of nothingness as a kind of heavy thud. LikeWow, that’s all there was. It really never got better. Use the lesson wisely and move on.20The Sense It Could Come in a Flash or Behind Your Back in PublicGetting gas, going to the store. Walking back and forth across the grocery parking lot to one’s car, someone ringing the door at the house, another could be sneaking in the back door or window. These are the fears and worries that nag or hang around in the back of one’s mind.On the job, a flash of an object, it could be anything. Trained to self-protect as a reaction, the officer flashes back. Later to find in certain circles, self-defense is suspect, a crime if the other guy’s not actually flashing a weapon at that precarious seeming moment. Sometimes phony gimmicks cover up the actual nature of the objects when someone is protecting the cartel members. Anything from cell phones to combs, if the other party flashes it and is wounded or killed when an officer shoots out of perceived or actual self-defense, what then? In the hands of connected people, who stands for the cop trying to protect him/herself? Sometimes people in the Force are the cartels, and the stories wind up just as flawed in some other way. Who is to protect the innocent in the ForceWhen will truth be a matter of course?BIRDS OF A FEATHER FLOCK TOGETHERChoose your allies wiselyIf you tend to self-medicate with alcohol or drugs, your best friends are not the ones who encourage you to stay down by partying with you. Your real friends want youclean and soberyour real friendsare honest about themselvesand about youSometimes you have to clean house,you just have toDon’t burn bridges with the oneswho at least tried trying can be a stepping stonenot perfect…but a stepping stoneLet a stepping stone be enoughdon’t burn your bridgeswith your real friends,your clean and sober friends.Sometimes it takes a few triesto get the helper and helpee right,to find the right paces to shift from choreography to essenceto stop the dance and just dig inAnd sometimes you are helping each othermaybe it doesn’t seem so at firstWounded souls, misaligned addictsoften hear pain in others,the spoken and unspoken criesSaying things from the bluezeroing in to the corein moments of profundityzap you to a new dimensiontake a breath and hear-------------------------------------------------Updates: 2022/08/09 More on Grief; 2022/05/17 more on Anger; 2022/5/16-more on Anger and Birds of a Feather; 2022/05/15: Anger poem: --Terri Late 2020-Feb 2021 some editing, additions May 2022; 2022/05/10 corrected some misalignments and excess bolds caused by a font change - some kind of problem with software causes this, not my lack of attention; ; 2021/06/25 added Birds of a Feather Flock Together Reflection, by Terri; 2021/03/12 some things near bottom of page that were out of line were edited; 2021/02/05 All unmarked poems or reflections on this page are by Terri unless otherwise noted; the point is not to be a poet, but to express feelings and ideas in a different way than prose. These have come up for me while reading many policing related articles, and a growing number of military related books and articles. The latter includes resources about wars including WW2, Vietnam, Iraq and Afghanista’s OIF and OEF, and other operations involving American military persons and their allies, as well as things I have personally heard from disabled or other veterans
Brotherhood of ManThe universality of sincerity can make all strangers brothers and sisters. When we find and operate from the core of who we really are, we are the same. Despite differences, something is deeply resonant in all of us if we allow it.--2020
AngerCan be a feelingThat flies inSnappish, it stokes a fiery mireHurry, bring frigid watersof a streamy caper, its downward stroke to uncertain endBurbles and rapples,brook’s stony chimes,songs chirple and tickleto hearty rhymesA mint and woodsy chillspice the frothy bankhere a mist that hangs, there a flappy vaporBranches off the dicey water trekwhere giggley sounds rush to dawn’s recircled sun and its rising ire Debris waylaid from focused course, eclectic cast-offs to deeper diversions, silent butfor spastic spews There icy plumes from riv’lets dimple droplets as holy water to brow’s early fretsBut dash with vigoroff smooth shoulders of boulders and pop from bobbing logsTo drench as dousing hose to full-blown wrath, now a rabid firefueled by dragon breathRimy hands, spraying sweepour inner heart be heardFire be gone, fire be songwhile raining peace to earth
You can fool part of the people some of the time, you can fool some of the people all of the time, but you cannot fool all the people all of the time--Uncertain First Source
IN THE ENDTo restore the peacewe sometimes roamto the valley,mounts or seahills or streamsBut in the end we must come hometo our truest self, to storm-tossed dreamsto endless quests for something more --2020
In grief over their fallen comrades, American military active duty persons in Iraq have consistently applied names of their fallen comrades to bases, chow halls and many other things, determined to honor and not forget the plight of the deceased, nor the conditions under which they suffered unto death. In addition, the “no man or woman left behind” promise has been taken seriously, with rigorous searches following abductions and other missing persons in the American military.
Courage doesn’t always roar. Sometimes courage is the quiet voice at the end of the day saying, “I will try again tomorrow.”
Hold an ancient stone or trace of moss,sit and contemplateyears gone by.Millions to zillions,raw turns of time -The awe’s in retaining some the samealongside shifts small or great.Go back, back, backwho are you in all of that? --Feb. 2021
Berating is no stepping stone,no helper for the wearywho has heard it all beforethe berating helper is no helperberating is downer talktaking us down a shriveling coursewhere parts of us shrink and dieThe real helper may show emotion,but mostly quiet and firmequal and direct, like across a tablenot talking down as from a pedestalStraight like an arrowconstant in pointing homelike the shiply compass and tower ashoreBurly with drug-spiked largesspsyche bent way out of shapeman or woman filled with strifestuck in another time and placelike combat zones and old abuseSurly, foul and fiery tonguedthe addict lies, and there can beblunt force, sneaky guises, he can be a lofty spongesucking energy from our core to fillup that shaky and temporary highBut those clean and sober oneswith stepping stone wayswould take our friend down another trailLove enduresTrue of all spiritual pathsAlignment, Will, IntentLove, Hope, Faith and LuckLuck something sorting wheat from chaff It’s in the air