It’s hard to get this sad story about the Fox Lake, IL police sergeant out of my mind today.
- What we thought happened: The officer called in to report that he was in pursuit of three suspicious people only to be shot and killed (ostensibly by them.)
- What actually happened: He killed himself in “a carefully staged suicide.”
- What we thought happened: He had been a huge supporter of a Police Explorer program that taught youth and young adults about law enforcement.
- What actually happened: He had been stealing money from the Police Explorer program for many years.
“He adored his wife, he adored his kids, he adored his police Explorers,” a longtime friend said to the press.
I believe this part is true. I believed his loved his family and the Explorers. But he also had a shadow side that – tragically – will forever trump the eulogy delivered on his burial day.
Each of us is more than the worst thing we’ve ever done.
But it takes spiritual maturity and intentional reflection not to live a double life. I’m especially talking here to myself and to all my clergy friends, teacher friends, law enforcement friends, and government friends. When we lead double lives PEOPLE ALMOST ALWAYS FIND OUT. That sexual affair with somebody else’s partner, that grand mal of a lie we whispered, that cash we pocketed year after year. And when our double lives are revealed, the layers of damage are thick with impact.
I can’t imagine how devastated that police officer’s spouse and kids are feeling today. And those students whom he were mentored. And the colleagues who had presented him with a posthumous Medal of Honor. And the thousands of fellow officers who lined up along the funeral route in September.
“When we were growing up, we always knew he was a hero, but now the whole nation knows him as a hero,” the officer’s brother said at the funeral. Sigh.
But this is all of us, folks. All of us have stuff we’d rather not bring out into the light. And yet, we have to try because the darker the secret, the harder it is to be free.
Images from Post Secret.