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  • This year I had my past rolled out, like a scroll, revealing all of the lives I have lived for 62 years. Fear not, there are no skeletons in the closets. My life has been fairly mundane; definitely within the law. You see, I applied to be a school chaplain under the auspices of the local police department, and just as all of those who apply to the police department for hire, I too had to undergo some scrutiny.

    There was first an interview. Getting to know a little about me. Asking a few questions. Very pleasant man, a chaplain himself, met with me and was pleased enough to offer to send me the next step of the process, a 29-page application. Here the going got tougher. I had to recall all of my education and jobs. I had to list all of the people with whom I had worked, where I had lived, and give the names and addresses of everyone related to me. Then there were the questions. Yikes. The things people can do. Did I have a bookie? Gambling debt? Ever been in a bar brawl? List my tattoos. A whole page involving sexual proclivities. Stealing? Lying? Cheating? It took me two days to complete this as I had to stop and breath every so often. Walk away from the computer. Some pages made me want to go take a shower after I was finished. When I called the interviewing chaplain and told him I had the document completed he was surprised. No one had ever completed it so quickly.

    I heard nothing for months. I had been told a thorough search of my background would be made and since the police department was hiring rookies, they would be in line first for this massive invasion of one's life. Then I got the call saying a 'fast-track" had been put on four applications for chaplain and mine was one of them. I was to sign an affidavit saying I agreed to allow this invasion into my life. Okay. A few days later I started receiving emails, phone calls, and even visits from friends and neighbors telling me that the police had been to see or call on them to ask a whole lot of questions about me.

    I had another interview, with the 29-page application on the police officer's desk. He kept flipping back and forth, chatting here and there about my education, my jobs, people I knew. Finally, he commented that there wasn't much there to investigate or question. I had a very clean past.

    So last month I officially became a school resource chaplain. I have a police ID and a shirt that says I'm with the Fresno Police Department chaplaincy office. Another chapter to my life is about to begin.

    The photo is from a chapter of my life, tour guide for school children at Kearney Mansion.
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