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
This blog was authored by Adrian who is incarcerated. Adrian sends the blogs via US Mail to Friends of Adrian volunteers who post the blog.
The website is owned and maintained by Friends of Adrian volunteers. Due to his incarceration, Adrian Torres has no access to the website and is unable to respond to any comments posted.
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