Adrian is at Mule Creek State Prison.
His address is:
Adrian Torres T30064
P.O. Box 409089
Ione, CA 95640
Adrian covets your letters, and please continue to pray for him as he serves the Lord in a California State Prison.
Adrian is at Mule Creek State Prison.
His address is:
Adrian Torres T30064
P.O. Box 409089
Ione, CA 95640
Adrian covets your letters, and please continue to pray for him as he serves the Lord in a California State Prison.
He is sneaky and persistent. He swoops in from the right, then from the left; from above, and below. His speed gives him an advantage. If his mission is to drive us crazy, he succeeds every time.
Just like this prison, Ad Seg (the Hole) is very old. The cells here are not airtight. Cracks around the doors are common things. Toilets and sinks dangle off the walls. The grill on the vent is large enough for my index finger to fit through. So it’s not uncommon for uninvited guests to visit us.
Many of our daily attendees are little tiny flying “thingies.” Smaller than flies and gnats, they are bold beyond their size. I’ve never seen these tiny bullies come in; they just do. I have to assume that when they enter our cell they sit and wait until we are comfortable and relaxed. That’s when they make their move!
These Kamikaze bullies take off from their hiding places and aim right for our heads, my bald spot lighting the way better than any runway lights. At full speed they fly, each scoring a direct hit before he flies off again. We now consider this first landing a warning, because we know he will be back.
Focusing our eyes in the direction he flew, we try to spot him. But as we scrutinize his landing spot, he comes with full vengeance from the other direction. We begin to flail our arms about our heads, hoping for a hit, but it all comes to naught. He is just too fast, and too sneaky.
I imagine him laughing at us as he escapes to a shadowy corner, watching us waving our arms in a panic. Futile, he knows, because he isn’t there. Just as we settle down again, he strikes; but this time he aims for our mouths. He makes contact with our lips, making us think we have swallowed him. As he flies away, we cough, but there’s nothing there. He’s safe, back in his corner. Frantically we guzzle water, trying to wash the phantom down. Once he sees us make this desperate move, he knows he has us, because we think he’s dead.
Knowing that we think he is dead, he becomes even more annoying as a Zombie Fly. With his tiny wings rivaling those of a hummingbird, he zooms again for our heads. This “bully war” lasts for hours. So we finally decided to try to outsmart him; we came up with a plan.
Allowing him to strike once or twice is part of our strategy. Once he believes we are calm, we patiently await his next strike, pretending to be unaware of his location. This time we don’t react, we just follow him to his resting place. It takes a little training to pick up his flight pattern, but eventually we succeed. Once we see him land to take a breather, we use whatever Ninja moves we possess, sneak up on him, and with a giant hand send him to bug heaven.
The next day his cousin or brother comes to check us out, and the routine begins again.
Have you ever had a peaceful time; a time when all seems to be going right and life is just plain good? It often seems to happen during those times that someone, out of nowhere, begins to annoy you. They seem to have a vendetta against you. They aim their venom in your direction. This person shatters our peace. He or she could be a neighbor or a coworker; a church member or family. For seemingly no reason, he or she decides to rock your boat. You try everything to try to fend them off, but nothing seems to work.
Defense is always my first reaction. It’s normal to protest what seems unjust; unfortunately, when the darts of an enemy come from unexpected directions, defending becomes impossible.
So, what to do? No, don’t squash the person, like we do our bully Zombie Flies. Practice patience. I believe that in the middle of an unjust onslaught, patience is the ultimate weapon. And while waiting, seek God. Let Him know your frustrations with these bullies. He can remove them from your life. Learn to trust fully in His will; and in His perfect timing, He will remove the bully, or change Him into a follower of the Creator.
We all have them, but we don’t need to panic, or give in. The only One to Whom we yield is our Father God.
……….best Ninja ever……….
Adrian G. Torres
“Two For the Price of One” is always an attention-grabbing offer. It’s hard to ignore getting seconds free, just because you wanted firsts. “Two-for-One” works well for retail, but not for reflections in a mirror.
Here in Ad Seg (the Hole) I get an opportunity to look in a mirror only when I receive a shower. The shower has four slim windows so the officers can look in, for security reasons, and on the outside of one of those windows is a 6”x 6” acrylic mirror.
The convenient mirror is taped there so we can see when we shave (I check my wrinkles too, but that’s a whole nother blog.) Trimming around mustaches, sideburns and beards is very difficult to do blind. The mirror is essential, unless it is taped on the outside of a double-paned prison security window.
The double-paned windows in prisons are nothing like residential ones in which, when well-made, one would never notice the two panes back to back. They are made so one has no distortions when looking through them. Prisons don’t care much for that. Their windows are made to take abuse, and to keep inmates inside. The gap between the two glass panes is wide, and cushion of goo frames the two panes from within. The installers of prison glass are never worried if the two panes cause double reflections.
My shower location, located on my tier, the third tier, has just such a window. It doesn’t matter what angle I use, I see me twice. Seeing two MEs makes it very difficult to shave, especially if I’m trying to properly line up my facial hair. The result is always askew – one sideburn is higher than the other, and my goatee is unbalanced. The look is just so un-GQ.
The Bible tells us about a double mirror that God gave to the children of Israel. The Ten Commandments were given to Israel, from God, so that they would see how impossible it was to meet God’s standards of purity and righteousness. By reading the Ten Commandments, Israel would be able to gauge the distance their sin separated them from God. Yet, the Ten Commandments also showed God’s love, through the access granted to Him through them. In those laws one could see the good and the bad; a double image in a single mirror.
Yeshua, however, came to fulfill the first mirror, and to give us a second. This second mirror, used regularly, will in the beginning reflect your image. But the longer you use it, you will also see a reflection of the Giver of the Mirror – Jesus, Himself the Word of God.
The Word of God is not meant to be read as just a source of catchy, one-time verses when life gets hard. The Word of God is meant to be read and studied, and our goal should always be that it is absorbed into our hearts, minds, and souls, so that eventually what you see when you look into a mirror is Yeshua Himself.
The mirror of God’s Word not only shows our flaws, but it proves that what was once impossible has been made possible through the blood of Yeshua.
Are you looking into the mirror – the Word of God? Do you read it every day, praying that God will open your heart and your mind to absorb it? I hope so, for it is there you will stop seeing you and begin to see your Savior.
Adrian G. Torres
No warning is given. The instant brightness burns through my eyelids. I only have two options: open my eyes to the light, or cover up and try to avoid it.
Here in Ad Seg (the Hole) there is little over which I have control. Although I can flush my toilet when I use it, the gods limit me to only two flushes every thirty minutes. I’m allowed to shave when I shower; however, I only receive three showers every seven days. And although I have a light switch, the wizards behind the steel curtains can override it at their whim.
The cell I’m in is actually the last cell in the building. There are three tiers (floors) and 34 cells per tier. I’m on the third floor, the 34th cell. All windows in this ancient building are located toward its center. Most windows are covered with plywood, but a little light from outside does squeeze through. From my cell it’s very difficult to see.
My cell faces a solid wall and a set of heavily-caged stairs. Looking directly outside of my cell, I see only a wall and a diamond-shaped grill. By sight alone I can’t tell what time of day it is. When I switch the cell lights off, it’s dark.
Of course, I turn the lights off to sleep. With the penetrating darkness it’s not hard to lie there praying and meditating on God’s goodness before falling asleep. The absence of light, all night long, facilitates my slumber.
Since I never know the time I never know when it’s morning. My clue is when the morning shift officers arrive, but I don’t hear them because they aren’t close. My clue is their forcible lighting of all the cells.
The abrupt, bright light startles me awake, and forces the darkness to hide beneath my bunk, awaiting night once again. Because the lights are turned on by the officers, I can’t turn mine off; I am left with two choices. I can embrace it, open my eyes, and get up, or I can grab my sheet, pull it over my head, and block the light.
I always make the same choice – I open my eyes and get up. I embrace the light, even if my sleep of the night before was poor. Then I wash up and begin my day. I do this because it is reality – the light is on. I can hide my eyes from it, but it is still there. I’m on a fool’s errand if I think I can eliminate the light by blinding my eyes with my sheet.
I was a spiritual fool for many years, hiding from the Light of God. Before I came to prison I knew God was calling me, but I hid my eyes from His Light, covering the eyes of my heart so I could live for the pleasures of the world. Time after time I thought I had fooled God; but the truth was, I was the fool.
God finally got tired of my games and allowed me to end up in prison. Only then did I see that, all along, the real fool was me. I still had the same choices – embrace the Light or continue as a fool and try to cover my eyes.
Obviously, I chose to embrace the Light, but it isn’t always easy. At times I find myself on very rough patches of road, but I, with God’s help, and through His Word and prayer, continue toward the Light, because even as a fool I know it is what guides me and give me life….and so much more.
Has God been calling you, yet you’ve been hiding? Don’t be a fool; you can’t hide from God. You have two choices – embrace the Light or continue to hide. Embrace the Light and live, or hide from it and death awaits you. Stop being a fool.
I know. I was once the biggest fool in the world.
…….does anyone have the time?……..
Adrian G. Torres
The process is very aggressive. Some might even classify it as violent. But no one in the world would ever try to stop it. It’s a process that needs to be endured to achieve the essential result.
Dunking it into water, and keeping it submerged until the very last air bubble escapes, is only the first step. It must immediately be pulled out of the water, then dunked back into it. After this second immersing, it is yanked back out and thrown on the floor.
Lying on the ground, drenched and lifeless, a solution is poured onto it. The wet fibers mix with the chemicals; instantly the Aggressor begins to manhandle it. It’s grabbed by its sides, then folded back onto itself. Heat is generated by vigorous rubbing. The motion of back-and-forth, using the surfaces as washboards, goes on for minutes. Just as it winds down – the end is coming – it gets picked back up and flipped over.
The aggression begins again; the banging and rubbing are non-stop. The solution in the fibers creates suds. The violence continues for more minutes. Once the Aggressor is satisfied with his work, it is plunged back into the water. But this time he doesn’t hold it under. He dunks it, over and over again until the added solution disappears. It’s not a pleasing sight; the water turns brown, and draining and redrawing the water is a must until the water is clear. Only then is the Aggressor – me – satisfied.
There is just no other way. This is the process. How else can I wash my sheet in Ad Seg (the Hole)?
It’s no secret; I’ve written about it before. The Hole doesn’t provide very clean laundry. It is never white and the musky odor is not pleasant. My only solution to avoid using it as it is issued to me is to wash it myself.
I wash my shirt, boxers, socks, and towel almost daily; but this is not possible with my sheet, so once a week I strip it off the so-called mattress and wash it.
Although the Hole at California Institution for Men is old, and most cells still have the old-school-ceramic-deep-bowl sink, it’s still not deep enough to scrub the sheets. Knowing I will be scrubbing my sheet on the floor, I first make sure the floor is clean. Then I soak the sheet in the sink, remove it, soaking wet, and plop it onto the floor. The water in the sink is enough to lather the mixture of shampoo and bar soap I pour onto it. I work the mixture into the fibers, then use the sheet itself to wash itself. I meticulously scrub every inch of it, then flip it over and do it again.
Satisfied, I dunk it over and over into the sink water until the water is clean and without suds. Wringing it out as well as I can, I hang it, but because the cells in the Hole provide little air flow, it takes all day to dry.
Once dried, I’m able to use it as it was intended – for my body to lie on. Washing it myself makes the sheet 100% more clean than when I received it. Only I can wash it like it should be washed.
The sheet reminds me of….well….me. See, if the sheet could talk it would surely protest the abuse I inflict upon it. The process of cleaning, just to be used, would be unpleasant to the sheet; it would not enjoy it.
I don’t like being in the Hole. In fact, I hate it. The process of having to live in such horrible conditions is not an attractive one. The third-world living seems unfruitful, and the mental challenges are exhausting. But God knows I need it.
He must put me through the process because He is preparing me to be used by Him. There is not a second that is wasted during this time; He is molding me into the vessel He wants me to be. The pressure He uses during the molding is unpleasant. The friction caused between His fingers and my life creates heated complaints. But He doesn’t stop.
His process for me is not because He hates me; it is because He loves me. That love is preparing me for what is ahead. Once ready, He will use me exactly for what He pleases. Only He can put me through this process; nothing out there could ever prepare me like the molding of the Creator’s own hands. Only the One Who intends to use me knows how to prepare me.
You may be in a similar situation. You might wonder why you are experiencing such difficulty in your life; feeling like you are being put through a laundry cycle, including the wringer. Your life is tough right now, and you truly know that you did nothing to reap this result. If you know Him, you know that He is preparing you for His next task for you.
I know, it’s hard to surrender to such a process. Humanly, it’s just plain hard. But God sees beyond our weakness and into our souls. He would not be putting us through this process if He knew we could not handle it. We do not serve a harsh, unloving God. We serve a God Who knows us much better than we know ourselves. And because He knows us so well, He will prepare us perfectly for His plan for us.
Surrendering is never easy, but when it is accompanied by trust you will be at peace. Trust Him, knowing He loves you.
Trust the process.
…….planning on attacking my shirt next…….
Adrian G. Torres
It happens every single time. My heart begins to beat faster; my eyes open wide; my mouth smiles from ear to ear; butterflies dance inside my stomach. Even though I know they are coming, I react the same way each and every time.
Ad Seg (the Hole) is a very lonely place. The days drag without enough activity to fill them. The predictable daily cycle gets old quick. The boredom is replaced by anxiety. Stimulating the mind helps kick the dark thoughts out.
If one is fortunate, he has a cell mate in the Hole; this helps in many ways. But the best mind – and heart – stimulus is to receive a letter from a friend or family member. A single letter can melt away loneliness, anxious thoughts, or unhealthy thoughts that may have been knocking at the mind’s door. Give an inmate a letter and watch him turn to Jell-O.
I am beyond blessed by the amount of mail I receive. Mail from all over the United States and Canada finds me in my cell and showers me with love. Then there are those who write me every single day, and although I hear from them daily, I still get butterflies of joy and excitement each time I see their letters.
When mail is being distributed, I sit in anticipation on my bunk. I know they will stop at my door. My cell is right in front of the stairs, so I see everyone who comes up to the third tier; and when I see the officer walking up with a handful of letters, my emotions surge. My body gets a little wonky.
An overwhelming joy, almost like being in love, begins to bubble up inside of me. My heart beats a little faster. My eyes open a little wider. Even if I tried to contain my smile, I couldn’t. My plump lips and wide mouth expand surreally. My insides dance. “Tickle Me Elmo” has nothing on me when I hear the mail coming.
The second the letters begin to flood into the cell via the gap on the side of the door, my inner little kid jumps up and down like a wind-up toy. No matter how slowly the day has dragged until then, each letter fixes it. To say I’m blessed to receive so much love is simply an understatement.
I sometimes wonder why anyone would love me so much. I am not oblivious to the fact that sending out a letter these days takes more effort than other forms of communication. Today’s technology has made real letters nearly obsolete. Email, texts, Whatsapp, and other means of communication have replaced an envelope, with a stamp and a letter inside. Some call postal-sent letters “Snail Mail.”
So it doesn’t escape me that it takes great effort to send me “Snail Mail.” Yet each day I get the pure joy of opening a letter, and I’m drenched in unconditional love. Love that is not ashamed of my chains. Love that stops, remembers, and reaches out (or actually, reaches in) to touch me. Love that speaks loud and clear.
No matter how many times I’ve tried to solve this puzzle – this puzzle of love – I can’t do it. But I’m not complaining. Nope, not at all. I just know I’m blessed beyond words. It’s because of you that I have escaped the jaws of the Hole’s dark traps.
Maybe you are reading this and didn’t realize how impactful a simple letter can be. Maybe you have been thinking of writing a letter to someone but haven’t made the time. Or maybe you have wanted to visit someone but life interferes. I pray you would consider writing a letter or visiting someone you know who might need a little love.
I’m not suggesting this because I thought of it. It’s in the Bible. Jesus, in Matthew 25:35-40 said, “For I was hungry, and you gave Me something to eat; I was thirsty, and you gave Me something to drink; I was a stranger, and you invited Me in; naked, and you clothed Me; I was sick, and you visited Me; I was in prison, and you came to Me.’ Then the righteous will answer Him, ‘Lord, when did we see You hungry, and feed You, or thirsty, and give You something to drink? And when did we see You a stranger, and invite You in, or naked, and clothe You? When did we see You sick, or in prison, and come to You?’ The King will answer and say to them, ‘Truly I say to you, to the extent that you did it to one of these brothers of Mine, even the least of them, you did it to Me.’
So if God has placed it in your heart to reach out to someone – and no, I’m not talking about me – it’s because Jesus is looking for you to obey Him. By loving the least, you are loving Him. How beautiful is that??
So go ahead. Jesus wants you to send that letter; visit that friend; clothe him; feed him.
The impact is so much greater than the effort you put in.
Trust me, I know.
…….loving Snail Mail…….
Adrian G. Torres
I’m not the greatest at math, but addition and subtraction are not very difficult. So I was a bit dumbfounded because the numbers just would not add up.
Once a month we (even those of us who are in Ad Seg, the Hole) are allowed to shop at the prison’s canteen. The Hole’s canteen list is severely edited; limits per item are enforced; we are only permitted to spend $55.00. One of the most noticeable differences between how the inmates in the Hole shop and the inmates in a regular facility shop is who does the shopping.
In a regular facility the inmate himself goes to the window of the commissary and shops for his own products, but in Ad Seg we obviously can’t do that. Instead an officer – probably the one who has drawn the shortest straw – takes our list to the canteen and shops for us. He, or she, purchases the things on our lists and packs them in a bag.
The bag is then given to inmate workers who transfer the items that are in plastic containers into zip-lock bags. By the time the items arrive in our individual cells all shampoos, deodorants, toothpaste, lotions, coffee, and the like are in unmarked baggies. The brightly-colored liquids in the bags are actually beautiful. The light bouncing off the Colgate green gel toothpaste is mesmerizing; in fact, it’s so mesmerizing that one doesn’t even question the amount inside the bags as they are dropped, one-by-one, through the slot in the door.
As my items arrived, I was excited to see the snacks I ordered. I didn’t take inventory; I just put them all in a pile on my floor. As I began to put things away, I noticed that something didn’t quite add up.
I had ordered two Colgate toothpastes, yet I could only find one baggie. I went through the whole pile over and over, without success. The second toothpaste was missing. My receipt clearly showed that I was charged for two, but it just wasn’t there.
I had chalked it up as a loss when I noticed the bag of nacho chips was a little higher off the floor than it should be. I moved it, and there was the missing toothpaste, not in a baggie, but still in its tube. Bingo! But as I held the tube in one hand and the baggie in the other, there was a noticeable difference. The tube held 4.2 ounces of toothpaste, and the baggie had measurably less. I had no way of telling how much less, but I began to wonder about the shampoo.
The canteen list indicated that the shampoo was supposed to be 15 ounces, so I took my 8 ounce milk carton and began to pour. When all the shampoo was emptied into the carton, it barely reached the top. I did the same with the next baggie of shampoo, with the same result. Clearly, at least 7 ounces of shampoo was missing in each bag, yet I was charged for two 15-ounce bottles.
I then measured the 8 ounce coffee bags, and only reached 5 ounces each.
I wasn’t sure how widespread this conspiracy was, so I counted the 40 envelopes for which I was charged.
I knew I wasn’t great at math, but this was simple arithmetic. The numbers did not add up, but why not? My conclusion was that the inmates who were squeezing the items into the baggies were skimming from the top. They weren’t paid any extra to do this task for the Hole, so it seemed okay to them to take their pay from the products they were handling.
I wasn’t happy about the results, but I was powerless. Not only was I locked up in the Hole, I was also subjected to this unfair practice.
As followers of the Bible, we are admonished to give others our all; to give unconditionally, and with a pure heart. We are to be honest and full of integrity in our daily lives. Yet, only rarely does the world reciprocate.
We give our all at work, just to be shorted by another. We love our neighbors and go out of our way to be there for them, just to be shorted with ingratitude, accompanied by an attitude. We sacrifice our own wants to please our wives, girlfriends, or boyfriends only to be shorted by being ignored.
This world’s system seems to work on shorting others for personal gain. Shorting happens everywhere. Even though, as believers, we are strangers to this world, we still are affected by its shorting practices. But there is hope.
God does not short us. Our Creator not only has given us all we need, but abundantly more than that. More love. More mercy. More grace. More forgiveness.
This is why the Father sent His Son. He knew the world’s system would always be short of perfection. Nothing the world offered could ever satisfy a just God’s requirements, so He gave His Son as the only One Who could meet them.
If you ever feel like life has been unfairly shorting you, just remember the abundance from your Father in heaven. It’s way more than you could ever earn, or ever deserve.
……..definitely shorted on hair follicles, too……
Adrian G. Torres
I could not believe my eyes. The dinner plate that was being pushed into the tray slot was not the average prison dinner. The 4×4-Animal-style-with-Cheese In ‘n Out Burger screamed that this was not a typical dinner.
The paper plate struggled to lie flat under all the weight of the oh-so-juicy burger, but didn’t succeed. The Peanut M&Ms began to roll off the designated dessert square. Under the burger lay a heap of my favorite Carl’s Jr. criss-cross fries. I wasn’t sure how I was selected to receive this wonderful, artery-clogging, delicious surprise. But I didn’t care; it was mine and I was going to enjoy every single bite of it.
I took one last look at it, then I picked it up with two hands and folded it into my mouth. As I bit down, my teeth sinking easily into the tender burger, a sharp pain jolted me! It was my arm in my mouth!
It was all a dream.
A former cellmate of mine told me once that if dreaming about food was a sin, I would be the worst sinner of all. I dream about food almost weekly. In my dreams, I’ve eaten all sorts of delicious foods. I’m definitely a big foodie in my dreams, yet I always stay slim and in great shape (but not in reality.)
There is no need, however, to try to interpret dreams for I know exactly what they mean. They mean I crave all the delicious foods I don’t get in prison, especially here in Ad Seg (the Hole.) Our prison meals are based on trainloads of carbs. Potatoes, cornbread, and lots and lots of bread form the bottom of the prison’s meal pyramid.
We receive eight slices of bread daily. After 18 years behind prison walls, I’m no longer a fan of sliced bread. It’s just not good; it’s tasteless; it’s bland; it’s dry; it’s just not what I want.
I want flavor. I want spices. I want texture. I want meat that drips juices. I want cowboy beans with hot chunky tomato salsa on top. (I need to stop this reverie; my mouth just won’t stop watering.)
While in prison, however, I will get a lot of bread. Why? Because it’s filling, plentiful, and all we need. Bread is simple, basic and essential. For many around the world, bread is truly “the staff of life.” They may get little else.
The Word of God tells us that Jesus is the Bread of Life. He’s all we need. He provides us with all we need for our soul’s and spirit’s growth and strength. Yet we tire of it so quickly. We begin to seek the latest and greatest book, which will tell us the quick way to grow in Christ. We try to find ways to spice up our faith with the current movement. We try to flavor our walk with whatever ministry has gone viral. We reach out to feel the texture of the latest television preacher.
As we work on becoming foodies in our Christian lives, we leave out the Bread of Life; and, in the end, even though our life is filled with “Christian this” and “ministry that” we still end up hungry for more. Hungry for purity. Hungry for Bread that only the Word of God can provide.
Even though it’s not popular to say it, all we need is the Bread of Life, Yeshua the Messiah. He is our full-meal, nutrition pyramid. Our spiritual lives will be full with all we need from Him. No fancy-caviar book or trending pastor will ever get close to what the true Bread of Life will give us.
Stop chasing empty calories, and get back to God’s dinner table, which holds the Bread of Life.
What’s on your plate?
……..craving barbecued ribs……..
Adrian G. Torres
I was already swimming deep in a pool of emotions. At every bang I got a little angrier. The next time he did it, I was going to give him a piece of my mind.
Ad Seg is a very dark place, and it’s not uncommon that inmates confined here build up resentment that expresses itself in violence – violence toward themselves and assaults on their cellmates. Due to this well-documented phenomenon, the courts have forced the prisons to check on inmates in the Hole multiple times per hour. To ensure this takes place, each door has a special sensor which needs to be activated each time an officer visits.
This sensor is activated by a special wand that looks like the handle of a Star Wars’ Jedi Lightsaber. As the “Jedi” officer makes his run every 20 minutes, he must activate the sensor by placing his wand tip directly into the eye of the sensor. The sensor recognizes the activity with a loud “beep,” and the Jedi moves on to the next Sith – I mean door.
This program is a “smart” part of the Mental Health Department. At 10 p.m. the “beep” is programmed to turn off and is replaced by a light. The officers keep checking the inmates, but the inmates can sleep. It has truly saved lives.
The Mental Health Department is very proud of the success record of this program; however, some disagree. The officers actually assigned to make the rounds don’t like it because it fosters an unbroken pattern of walking, along with interaction with the residents of the Hole. During the day the noise made by the Jedi Lightsaber being rammed into each sensor doesn’t bother me; the sounds become part of the fabric of my day. The problem arises at night.
The sensor is smart enough to know to turn off the beep so we can sleep, but some of the officers who walk this beat hate it, so instead of gently placing the Lightsaber next to the sensor, they ram it with malice. The loud echoing sound jolts us straight out of sleep.
The officer assigned to this task one night must have been irritated because the deafening noise created by each bang of his Lightsaber was over the top. All night I tossed and turned, not helped by some back and leg pain. His “taps” were causing some unchristian-like emotions. Every time the Jedi would ram the Lightsaber into the door sensor, I gained resolve to tell him off. I had had it, and he was going to know it! I rehearsed my clever words and holstered them, ready to use them the next time he came.
So I waited. The time dragged. Twenty minutes passed, then another twenty minutes. The pain in my back subsided and I began to get sleepy. I allowed my eyes to close, but before going to sleep I whispered to my Father, “I know it’s You who delayed him, and I know it’s You who’s allowing me to rest. I know it’s You…”
I don’t know how long I slept, but I was awakened by the sound of light footsteps walking upstairs. The Jedi was on his way up toward my cell. I no longer was angry, but I waited in anticipation for him to ram his Lightsaber into the sensor on my door. I noticed his shadow first and braced myself for the thud. Nothing. The shadow moved onto the next door. Nothing. The officer was now gently making contact with the sensors. Clearly something had happened while I slept; I had no more need to confront him.
It should be obvious that to say anything would have been unwise. My emotion-driven anger would have resulted in unfruitful nonsense. Technically, I would have been described as out of control. As I mediated on what had just happened, the words of God from Proverbs 12:18 spoke to me, “There is one who speaks rashly like the thrusts of a sword, but the tongue of the wise brings healing.”
I believe God intervened and saved me from my rash tongue. With my pain gone, and while I slept, sense returned to the officer, and to me.
As I sat down to write this, I thought about not sharing it. I was embarrassed, but I have promised to share the pleasant and the ugly. And in this moment of “ugly” I learned a lesson.
Harsh words never solve anything, for they act like a sword. They hurt. They injure. They cause anger; kind words bring healing. When words are not possible, silence is the best option. And the first part of every trial is to give God every piece of my emotional anger.
I learned this important lesson during that night, and I hope my failure will be your victory.
……..dreaming about clone wars……….
Adrian G. Torres