PerspectivesThe optimist sees a glass that is half full, the pessimist sees a glass that is half empty, a police officer sees an open container…
It is a different calling in life from most that leads to a different perspective. First responders encounter things on a daily basis that most people deal with only rarely during their lifetimes. So not only does an officer’s training lead them to focus on things that others may not notice, the experiences of helping people on their worst day leads to a different outlook on life. This can be both a blessing and a curse as these realities give an appreciation for life but can be overwhelming at times as well. A true understanding is really only possible within the community of people who provide these services. The family of first responders helps and supports one another. Here in Tarpon Springs we have always been very blessed with an excellent rapport between the different agencies.
Being a close-knit family has it’s advantages and disadvantages as well. As a family we all grieve together when tragedy strikes one of our own. This has been a difficult time with a lot of reflection. It has also been a time that many of us look to our faith to sustain us.
Charlie K was known as a man of faith and not just because he would talk about it. He lived it as a husband, as a father, and as a police officer. What was in his heart showed in the way he lived. This wasn’t simply a matter of rules and rituals to him, it was a central truth and guiding light in his life. Faith gave him perspective.
Charlie K was a follower of Jesus, someone who brought a radical new perspective to the world. People who only knew a God of wrath, rules and requirements were shocked to hear God described as a loving Father. Jesus not only taught this new perspective of God but lived it, revealing a whole new aspect of the Father to the world. The central problem of sin separating us from a holy God remained, and that is what Jesus came to change most of all. Jesus paid the penalty for sin by giving his life for us on the cross. When he rose from the dead he brought a completely new perspective to all of us. He brought us an open invitation to become a part of God’s family forever. If we will come to him in prayer, asking him to forgive our sins and asking him to be our Lord and Savior he will certainly receive us, securing a place for us in eternity and helping us to live for him until then.
As we consider the reason for our gathering here today the reality of loss and the resulting grief are certainly very real. These things remain unchanged. As we consider the Christmas season and what Jesus ultimately did for all of us we can also find something that only he could make possible. We have hope. Charlie K is separated from us in this life. But he is waiting for us in the next because of Jesus.
This Christmas season please consider the message, mission, and invitation that Jesus brought to us. Accepting him into your life will give you a new perspective on everything. It will bring you hope.
Officer Charles Kondek of the Tarpon Springs Police Department died in the line of duty on December 21, 2014. This message was given at the one-year memorial for Charlie K, badge# 285. May he rest in peace and may his life continue to inspire others.