“THE MOST CONSISTENTLY ENDEARING human trait is warmth. Everybody responds to the person who radiates friendliness from a serene core. Such people are lovely to be around because they don’t reject or belittle and, best of all, they bring out the best, most generous qualities in the people they encounter.”
- Barbara Walters
It started as a simple visit to his step-daddy’s work site. His intentions were simple: Go visit, chit-chat, and interact with the labor workers. It was to be a simple and relaxing day. His plan was to let them know he was a supporter of them. However, what this day held for him was far from planned. —
As he arrived he heard a disturbing noise coming from around the corner. Curious to what was happening, he went to investigate. To his surprise, he found a supervisor beating one of the labor workers. A rush of anger boiled within him. He could not just stand there and let this happen. He had to do something! No time to call the authorities, he decided to take the matter into his own hands.
Looking around to make sure no one was looking, he ran and attacked the supervisor. As they wrestled on the ground, the victim managed to get up and slip away.
Not knowing how hard he was holding him, the wrestling match turned fatal. Releasing his grip on the supervisor’s body, he noticed that the supervisor’s body had gone limp. In the heat of the moment he had taken the life of another. Scared and not knowing what to do, his thoughts raced a hundred miles an hour. He was well-educated in the legal system. He knew that the law would frown on him and never understand. The whole situation would be twisted and used against him, instead of for him. There would be way too much explaining to do and not enough people willing to listen.
Looking down at the lifeless body that rested on the dirt floor, he decided to once again take matters into his own hands. This was a secluded part of the work site, and he was pretty sure there were no witnesses, so he dragged the body to a sandy area and buried it. Satisfied with the job, he returned home to clean up and rest.
The next day, testing his theory that no one saw him, he went out around town. However, once again he found himself in the midst of a heated fight. He decided to approach this one a bit differently. He stepped up and asked the aggressor why he was hurting his fellow man. The answer that was given took our hero by surprise, “Who made you ruler and judge over me? Are you thinking of killing me too, as you killed the supervisor yesterday?”
With his heart in his throat and his stomach feeling very ill, he felt each and every one of those words like a sharp dagger being jammed into his side. It was then that he realized that his secret was no more. Fearing the authorities, he fled to the desert and became a fugitive.
Before I tell you how this story ends, let me bring you into my cell…as I sat here today, praying for this prison and yard, I let my mind inventory the pages and pages that could be filled with stories from the men that live here with me, all from different walks of life, cultures, races, and education. All with a story of their own.
I can’t say I know or have heard all the stories here. In fact, I am sure I have only heard less then five percent. Personally, I know that every story that is here is heavy and weighs on our shoulders. Many of our stories have been misunderstood, twisted, and even perverted. Many have pushed their stories deep within their hearts, locked them in closets, and thrown away the key. Retelling the story would be like reliving it. Why would they want to do such a thing? So that one can get misunderstood again? To be looked down on, like the trash of society? Why even go there?!
Can I share a secret with you? Deep down, every man that walks this yard is a crying heart waiting to be heard. Yup, you read that correctly. You see, the load is heavy. It’s hard to carry it some days. And like all humanity it feels good to vent sometimes; to have a loving and caring ear to talk to; someone that will not judge, but uplift.
Every story has an ending. Some are not very pretty. Some go on to get darker and darker, never finding the Light. However, those are stories that were written by “self”. On the other hand, the stories that end with a joyful twist always end in the Light. They are not written in “self”, but co-written with (1) a helping hand and (2) the Master Author.
I know hundreds of men with dark or misunderstood stories that would welcome a helping hand, a listening ear, and a gentle leading to the Master Author. The Author who can update and rewrite their story.
Please, I urge you to join us in prison ministry. I am not asking you to take on a whole prison or yard. One person is all it takes; one seed; one heart; one love; one Gospel; one Truth… simply one of you.
So how does our friend’s story end? Well, after 40 years as a fugitive, living a new life, under a limited identity, he was used mightily by God to change history and rescue a whole nation. You can read about it in the Bible. The book of Exodus contains his wonderful story. Moses will be one story that will forever change people’s hearts.
…thankful to have you as a listening ear. Straight from Adrian’s Cell.,,
I thank Christ Jesus our Lord, Who has given me strength, that He considered me faithful, appointing me to His service. Even though I was once a blasphemer and a persecutor and a violent man, I was shown mercy because I acted in ignorance and unbelief. The grace of our Lord was poured out on me abundantly, along with the faith and love that are in Christ Jesus.”
1 Timothy 1:12-14 (NIV)