It wasn’t my first time dealing with death and it would not be my last.
The first time happened when I, as a newly ordained minister, and was sent to do a hospital visitation. The plan was that I go and visit with an elderly church member and pray with and for her—but when I arrived, I was directed by hospital staff to the basement because my parishioner was downstairs “donating.”
My first time as a cop was a trip to the morgue. In this room known as the fridge, which was the size of a small apartment, had bodies stacked like cord-wood along three of the four walls from the floor to just shy of the ceiling. This was to be my first autopsy.
While working the streets, I have seen many more bodies in death since those early first days; some a result of violent confrontations, some due to natural causes, and others at their own hands. The common denominator? They were all dead.
As a cop, I had to be distant…hold myself back so I could study the event from an objective perspective. As a minister, I have to get close; I need to lower my walls so that I can help the church member get through the difficulty of their time of loss.
So whether as a cop or a preacher death has often crossed my path. In one vein, I follow the directive of the state and city codebook; while with the other I follow the leading of scripture and the Spirit of God.
The point? We all die—the good guys, bad guys, and the indifferent. So if we all have to die, the question really becomes not how we shall expire, but rather, how shall we live. Think about it….Just saying.