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April 21, 2015, Beamsville, Ont. – The sun is shining and the days are now longer. The skis and snow shovels are put away for a much-deserved rest. The winter, that only a couple of weeks ago seemed as though it would never end, is over. We are now into the hockey play-offs and baseball season. The energy of the spring season is beginning to appear all around us and we will soon be complaining about the heat.

My computer has been having issues recently so I am sitting in my favourite cafe with pen, paper and a full-bodied dark roast coffee. The cafe is an old fire hall that was converted a few years ago. It is homey while still being a bit avant-garde. I write a little and I watch the people a little and soon realize that I am most likely the only one in Canada working on a blog with pen and paper.

Recenlty I have been making a conscious effort to stay away from the TV. With the exception of watching a little sports, I find much of television, including the news, angers me; so much psychobabble. We seem to spend so much time polishing our armour or fighting each other that we miss the beauty of life around us.

Last week a close friend, and fellow author, gave me one of several books he’s written. The book addresses the issue of school shootings. This is not just an issue in the United States, it occurs in many countries around the world. Between 1922 and 2006 there were nine mass shootings in Canadian schools and universities.

They say timing is everything. I read the book over the weekend, which was the 20th anniversary of the Oklahoma bombing; the Boston Marathon anniversary followed on Monday, along with a firefighter’s funeral on Monday afternoon. My mind is still trying to digest all this.

Just as tragic events can evoke thoughts of anger and revenge; human suffering also evokes feelings of compassion and respect. After every disaster we hear how neighbours and victims come together to form strong bonds. We hear terms like OK Strong and Boston Strong. We hear people saying things like “In this town we are a strong people, we will get through this.” We are all stronger than we may think. Most communities are strong; otherwise they wouldn’t remain as a community. From my understanding the theme of this year’s Boston Marathon was “Unity, Strength and Freedom.” I believe this to be a common feeling in most communities.

All lives matter; why can’t we just get along? Us? Them? What about we?! We are all on this planet together. All lives matter. As first responders you do not stop to check colour, gender or political affiliation before responding; you just go. You fight fires and save lives. You are one human being helping another human being. Yes, each one of us is a little bit different, but we are all human beings.

That is how most clergy approach counselling. In my practice I consider the root of counselling to be a simple proposition. A therapy session is a conversation between two or more people; no fades, no gimmicks, just talk. Maybe that’s what we all need: a little less technology and more real conversation.

Stay safe.

Bruce Lacillade is retired from the Burlington Fire Department in Ontario, where he spent 10 years on the floor as a firefighter and the next 15 years as an inspector in fire prevention. He’s also a U.S. Navy veteran and the chaplain for the American Legion in Ontario and the United Council of Veterans (Hamilton and area). Bruce helps first responders, military personnel, veterans, and their families deal with what he calls moral injuries, or internal conflicts. Contact Bruce at

April 21, 2015 
By Bruce Lacillade

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