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