Earlier today I was dropping off a list of names for the incarcerated father’s class to one of the corrections officers at the jail. Usually, there are a few pleasantries and I do my best to stay out of their way as they do a hard job with immense pressure. However, today was different. When I handed the list to the corrections officer he was rude and said something unkind. The biggest part of me knows the responsibilities of the position requires focus and a mind which can make quick decisions. The residents are often attempting to “get away with something“, they work long hours, put up with a lot of harsh treatment and there’s not a lot of “thank you’s“.
I tried to ignore it as I walked away from him. These things don’t happen often but as I got further from him I noticed a small part of me was upset at the way I had been treated. It didn’t last long because as I walked by the cells and buzzing doors which led to my class a question formed in my mind; “Are you going to let what was said imprison you? Will you allow the hurtful words of another coerce you into a bad mood or will you choose to be free?”
By the time I go to the classroom I had decided that I would be not be captured, imprisoned, held captive by the words of another. I let it go and it lifted off my shoulders and disappeared.
On my way to the office today I stopped at a drive-thru and ordered a drink to take with me to a meeting. There was a long line and I didn’t have too much time to spare. The woman in the car in front of me ordered and then pulled up, but not enough for me to be able to move into position and place my order. After a few moments, waiting, I said out loud, seemingly to myself, “Let’s go lady!” I had already rolled down my window and then noticed she had hers down also. “Oops,” I thought to myself, “I hope she didn’t hear me.” I watched to see if there was any reaction from the woman and didn’t discern any. I breathed a sigh of relief and didn’t mutter another word.
“No one regrets a harsh word unspoken.” -Wisdom Proverb
It was a good reminder to me that words, once uttered, can never be taken back. Whatever the circumstances, or intentions, our words have the power of life and death. We should always be mindful to use them wisely.
I overheard the agonizing call of a young man who wanted to leave, escape, get as far from his present predicament as he could today. His voice was loud, hoarse and broken.
I was sitting with one of the men I mentor in the County Jail. Even though we sat in another section of the commons area we couldn’t help but overhear the tear filled appeal of the caller whom was pleading with whoever was on the other end. However, no matter what he said, apparently the receiver of the call was not able or willing to get him out.
As I listened to his cries for rescue, thoughts of moments, times, seasons of being trapped in a place I didn’t want to be flooded my mind. Some were of my choosing, others thrust upon me but prayers, pleas, screams and whispers of injustice and escape seemingly went unheard.
Life can be incredibly harsh and relentless. We beat ourselves against the walls of our prison or the cells of others longing to be free. Deliverance comes in many forms just as bondage and slavery can exist without chains and metal bars.