Tuesday, July 8, 2008
Mis-steps, Milestones and Miracles
Nancy is a prison chaplain in North Carolina for 850 men in a medium security prison. She spends her days with men named Mad Dog, Porkchop and Pookie: murderers, rapists, child molesters and others who have made poor choices in life and committed acts of violence against others. Still others have messed up their lives over minor things and gotten caught by mandatory sentencing laws such as "three strikes and you are out" which include victimless crimes such as parole violations and possession of small amounts of substance abuse. Nancy talks about the Department of Corrections being a place of "unrelenting hopelessness, a place of darkness, where it is hared to see the light shining through." The first day on the job, the Lieutenant stopped by her office, "I'm not glad you're here. Women don't belong in a men's prison, they only make more work for me and my guards," he said. And this is how their professional relationship began.
After a few months,the Chaplain and the Lieutenant stepped into an altercation between prisoners and together stopped a fight. Later when things had quited down, the Lieutenant stopped by the Chaplain's office. "I know that you need me here," he said. "What I hate to admit is that I need you here." "You're right, Lieutenant, I do need you here to keep order on the floor, but how do you need me? She replied.
"I need you here to restrain my inclination to physical violence," he answered, "I need you to show me another way, another kind of force.
Source: recorded by Bob Reister in the newsletter of the Allisonville (Indiana) Christian Church http://www.zionvillecristian.org/sermon.html
Question: What are we teaching by our example? How do we let our light shine so that others might be influenced to try something different or inclined to a different path that might transform their lives?
...I've saved some sunshine should you ever need a place away from darkness for your mind to rest." Rod McKuen
Blessed Be! Rev. Qiyamah