Tuesday, September 13, 2011
Jail In My Mind
Throughout my life, no matter how difficult things may be there is always been a lot of laughter...it's been the one constant in the soundtrack of my life. I love to laugh, to find humor in every way I can. I know now that was probably a good thing because life was often less then ideal at times and I know the laughter helped me get through....
But there are days when NOTHING seems funny...because there just doesn't seem to be anything light-hearted or funny about what's going on. And I'm feeling that way tonight...since it's a day after my Monday visit to the jail, my guess is it's the "boomerang affect...a delayed reaction much like I experience with my PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder)...it's delayed. Even though the jail situation isn't visibly and physically traumatic or anything like that, it is still difficult and hard to process at times.
There is so much uncertainty and one of the things I've noticed about jails is that life seems cheapened there somehow. It isn't really of course but it's hard to not feel that there isn't the same "VALUE" placed on these men...in their dirty, frayed & torn,4 orange and white stripped "pyjamas" and their cheap, plastic/rubber flip-flops or "CROCS" imitations they all wear. Bad breath and body odor pervades the air...it smells of hopelessness and despair...fear comes easy, especially to the first timers to the jail....and last night, there are a few.
It is difficult not to listen to the one young fellow last night confess to the other inmates that he'd "done them wrong" and asked them to forgive him as he broke down and cried, saying he was just 18, a first timer in jail and how afraid he was.
I will admit, probably since I'm a father...it was really hard to leave that boy there last night when I left. He was scrawny, he stutters which becomes more apparent the more fearful he gets and he seems so vulnerable...easy pickens for exploitation. Yet these men responded to his pleas for forgiveness and he seemed relieved when they tell him it's all gonna be OK though he still appeared cluless and unprepared for what was waiting for him that ...night.
I will also easily admit that it felt really good to be able to walk to the door of the building, open it and leave. It feels like a cleansing in a way every single time I go there, worship with those men then walk out a free man myself. That is the ultimate goal of those inmates...to leave, a free man. And they can be free but it's work, they are going to have to make changes...and that is the hard part.
Time...and only TIME will tell the true story for each individual inmate.
(Painting by Pablo Picasso)