Saturday, December 18, 2010

Facing the Consequences

It's been a challenging week in Springfield. Tuesday morning, the mayor of our city committed suicide. He's always been a Springfield boy -- several of my coworkers at the bank were personal friends of his. One had even just gone to dinner with him over the weekend. No one knew anything was wrong.

Part of why no one saw this coming is Mayor Davlin's suicide isn't like many others: he wasn't caught in a mire of depression and loneliness. No... I truly feel for those people whose world has grown so dark they see no other way out. I've been there. Mayor Davlin's case is quite different. Over the past few weeks, it has come out that he has been embezzling money from an estate he had power over, as well as evading federal taxes for the past several years. Tuesday morning he was due in court to face the music; when he didn't arrive, police were sent to his house to investigate and found him dead. He killed himself because he didn't want to face the consequences for his actions.

Every action has a consequence. If I go to bed very late, I will wake up tired in the morning. If I overeat at the many Christmas parties we're attending, I will feel uncomfortable and face indigestion. If I embezzle hundreds of thousands of dollars... I should expect to get caught, expect to have to repay the money, and expect to be shamed.

He didn't want to face the consequences.

The sad part is that this earth isn't all we have. Our own life isn't the only one we affect. He may have avoided having to explain himself in a human court of law, but now he must stand before the Eternal Judge. He may have avoided personal discomfort, but he leaves behind a family -- including 4 young grandchildren -- who have to navigate not only the legal issues he left behind but also the emotional damage of losing him a week and a half before Christmas. He left behind a city that truly loved him... a stack of half-finished projects. Was it worth it? For money, and the risk of embarrassment?

No matter what, on earth or in heaven, you can't avoid the consequences.

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