Wednesday, April 11, 2012

A Day In the Life

In the Spring of 2007 I spent 7 weeks in jail.  To read more about why, visit My Journey by clicking the tab in the upper right corner. This is week #4 of my 49 Days of Grace series. I hope it is giving you some insight into what life was like during my 7 weeks of incarceration, and how God used the experience to open my heart in new ways.

By the end of my second week (still hearing "you should be out tomorrow" most every day!) in jail, the days had become pretty routine. After 6 days alone in my original cell I was moved down the hall and given a roommate. Officer Betty told me that she thought I could be of help to a young man named Billy, a repeat offender who had tried to kill himself on several occasions. I knew that she was just trying to remind me that God could and would still use me, and it did make me feel a little useful. Positive thoughts were hard to come by, and there were times when I felt totally alone. Here is what A Day in the Life was like...

The dreaded food slot...most days you just hated
to see it open. Except for breakfast!
Around 5 AM (from my new room I could actually see a clock in the guard station) a guard would come get me, chain me up, and take me to the infirmary to be poked. The "doctor" was convinced I was diabetic and had them prick my finger to take blood and check my glucose every stinking day. I was not then and am not now diabetic. They even had me on medicine for a while. When I first was booked, they also found my blood pressure to be a bit high. Really? I was just put in jail and my blood pressure is high- what a shocker!!! So they put me on pills for that too, even though I never tested high again over the entire 7 weeks. It was insane. But I digress... After the meds came breakfast. Generally speaking, because there was often cereal and fruit, breakfast was the one edible meal of the day. So that was exciting.  After that, boredom set in. After Marilyn figured out to get me books and word puzzles, I would read. A lot. Over the 49 days I would read over 15 novels and the Bible all the way through- twice. I tried to exercise, doing sit-ups and walking in my cell. I discovered it was 5 strides from the front to the back, and so I would march up to 500 strides to try and keep my legs alive, singing to myself the entire time. Remember, I didn't get to leave my cell for 7 weeks except to shower (about once every 3 days), go to the infirmary and make a weekly phone call. And in answer to a question I got last week, I should remind you that this is all BEFORE I had been found guilty of anything. I was simply waiting for my bail to be set. Sometimes justice is not only blind, it is a little brain-dead too. I did the word puzzle books to help keep my mind shard, and begin memorizing scriptures to keep my faith alive. It was often tempting to give up hope. My prayer life improved by leaps and bounds. Lunch and dinner were squeezed into the schedule, but each day seemed to bring new horrors on the trays. Even worse that the food was the colored water they tried to pass off as Kool-Aid. It was served with every lunch and dinner. It was never cold and had zero flavor. One of the happiest moments of my stay was when we finally figured out how to order from the "store" and I got some actual, name brand snacks. Praise God! Evenings seemed to last forever. They would not turn off the lights until around 1 AM. The hours from dinner until lights out were the hardest. That was when it would hit me that my life would never be the same, no matter when I got out. I would think of all the people I had hurt and disappointed through my actions. I would miss my family so much. I would realize my youth ministry career was over. And many nights I would cry. I cannot imagine how people survive such things without Jesus in their lives. I heard once that it is said the worst thing is crying out to God in the darkness. That it is not true. The worst thing has to be not knowing there is a loving God to cry out to. And the longer I was there, the more hurting souls I interacted with, the more I felt and understood grace in a whole new way. But nights were always very hard...

The days were boring and terrible. They were supposed to be. It was punishment. But even in the midst of the misery, there were moments of absolute hilarity. Next week I will introduce you to some real characters and some funny moments. Hope to see you then.

Because of Jesus,


  1. Anonymous4/11/2012

    I am not sure which is braver- surviving your 49 days or sharing these stories with the world. I simply cannot imagine it. -Chris Cooper

    1. Surviving was simply part of the story of God's work in my life. Sharing is so others may see God at work in their circumstances. Thanks for stopping by, Chris.

  2. Anonymous4/11/2012

    I just want to tell you that I love you and I am glad you are able to share your story. I hate that it happened to such a great guy, but maybe that was God's plan.


    1. Thanks Marie. I love you too!


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