When my daughter, Rene’, married Chris, the wedding proved to be one of the most emotional experiences of my life. The significance of their upcoming vows took a turn when the groomsmen bought the latest bullet proof vest for Chris. As the groomsmen put it, this gift was for Rene’ so Chris would come home after his shift on Chicago’s streets. The serious nature of their union caused my motherly concern for safety to be ignited. Rene’ loves a man who stands on the Thin Blue Line. As it is said, “The Thin Blue Line is stronger than the seed of evil that is planting itself.” I will never look at a police officer in the same way.
At the wedding ceremony, Chicago’s Finest stood six officers deep in gray suits with thin blue ties. Even their socks were woven with thin blue lines. Later, as the men joked and kidded Chris, the depth of their camaraderie was apparent. These groomsmen and the groom composed a band of brothers. A tight group who didn’t have to say, “I’ve got your back, bro,” because the concept was just understood. John 15:13 expresses their bond: “There is no greater love than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends.”
When that happens, when a police officer has fallen, the brothers rally around his family and make his sacrifice significant. They regard the words from End of Watch, quilted on a wall hanging:
“Behind my badge is a heart like yours. I bleed, I think, I love, and yes, I can be killed. And although I am but one man, I have thousands of brothers and sisters who are the same as me. They will lay down their lives for me, and I for them. We stand watch together. The thin-blue-line, protecting the prey from the predators, the good from the bad.”
Law enforcement faces what the public fears. Every day.
Quilts are sewn to remember fallen police. The love and creativity that goes into the creation of such a comforter is a reflection of the policeman’s journey. Patches that the officer has earned have been sewn together onto a quilt of celebration for a life lived well. Favorite t-shirts that have been worn over a lifetime intermingle in a colorful memory quilt of comfort for those who need to snuggle in the softness and one more time breathe in the scent of one they loved. The stitches of the quilt bind up some of the wounds and the binding brings structure back to a shattered life. Solace for someone whose husband or father who will never return from watch.
My heart hitches when the news talks about an officer down. I know that bravery is not the absence of fear but action in the face of fear. That Chris, like his uniformed brothers, will run into danger. But my mind tells me, “Blessed are the peacemakers for they shall be called the children of God.” Matthew 5:9.
That Thin Blue Line of peacemakers. Blessed.
An Officer’s Heart
By Kathy Farace
I choose to work in law enforcement;
it’s my duty and my call.
I will serve no matter what the risk
in a crisis great or small.
Protecting life and liberties
from jeopardy and from threat,
No matter what the time or cause,
I’ll respond with no regret.
The thin blue line of courage is a symbol that reflects
the depth of strength to conquer,
fear our commitment and respect.
Duty calls, the race begins,
days end is unbeknown.
Though focused on the work at hand,
my heart is back at home.
As an officer I know
I’m not in this all alone.
You stand with me by my side
and pray my safety home.
I give to you this special gift
a heart for us to share;
Holding precious words of love
for days so hard to bear.
Every moment of every day,
in my heart you’ll always be.
We’ll never be far apart…you have “A Piece of Me.”
In a world that needs second chances, Police Officer Gavin O’Sullivan finds that balancing a beat on Chicago’s streets, chaplain in the jail, and helping with the drug awareness program in the classroom of first year teacher Zoey Pappas is challenging. How will he straddle that thin blue line?