One definition of the word grace is “unmerited favor,” the idea that we reach out in love completely apart from peoples’ behavior.
And because no one is perfect all the time, at some point grace always means caring for others when they’re at their worst.
Arizona resident Jackie Frederick has provided a powerful example of grace in action. See, her father, Stephen Hudak, was a chronic drug abuser and criminal.
On March 2, Hudak’s crimes caught up with him, and he became a target for a law-enforcement group headed by the Glendale and Phoenix Police Departments, as well as the U.S. Marshalls.
“It is a task force, so they go after people that either have warrants or probable cause to arrest,” Sgt. Scott Waite explained to The Arizona Republic.
“So without being able to confirm completely, that is the nature of their job. They go find these people and catch them.”
But 44-year-old Hudak wasn’t going to be taken without a fight. When officers tried to stop him, he pulled out a gun and began firing.
The shootout lasted approximately 20 minutes with Hudak fleeing through a residential area and even trading gunfire inside a business.
When the smoke cleared, veteran officer Sgt. Robert Livingston had been shot and Hudak lay mortally wounded.
A sad situation for everyone involved, including Hudak’s family. Yet where most family members might express angry recriminations or keep their stony silence, 24-year-old Frederick stepped up with a message of grace for both the man who killed her father and her wayward dad.
“I wanted to be able to reach out and send my apologies, my deepest apologies,” Frederick told KTVK. “Even if (Sgt. Livington) is okay, you know, that day for his family.”
She also expressed her own heartbreak over and sympathy for Hudak, saying that years of drug abuse had warped him into a sad caricature of the father she once knew. “You just want them to be the version you see them as,” she said.
“To see the most loving man turn into something even himself cannot recognize. How do you come to terms with the fact that Hercules is dead?”
In the end, Frederick has taken comfort in two things, the first being that Sgt. Livingston should recover.
The second, though, is that her dad has finally found some sort of respite from the addictions that plagued him.
Truth and Accuracy
We are committed to truth and accuracy in all of our journalism. Read our editorial standards.