Do overs. We all wish we could do things over when we mess up. Pressing a button, going back in time and doing it right. I find myself wanting a do-over all the time
During lock down, the prison grants us one shower opportunity every three days. In between we bathe in our cells. We fill up our sink, pick everything off the floor, hang some sheets up to block the nakedness from our cell mate, and bathe away. It makes a great big mess on the floor but there’s no other option. A bird bath (that’s what we call it) is not great, but it takes the funk off.
It was Tuesday morning and I woke up with the exciting thought that “today I would get a real shower!” My towel, sandals, soap, and wash rag were all set to go.
Today I would get a full shower without having to pick the slimy soap water off the floor. Today I would get clean and actually dry off without having to break a sweat cleaning the cell back up.
Today I would get a shower!
It was about 9:30 am and the anticipation was growing. I could hear cell doors down the hall open and close, indicating that my turn was coming up.
Sure enough, my door magically opened and my cell mate and I walked out and headed toward the showers.
“Torres!” came the shout from the officer in the control booth. “Your cellie can shower. You, on the other hand, are being called to Medical. Go get dressed and go to Medical.”
“Come on.” I protested. “Let me get a quick shower. It’ll be quick, I promise.”
“You suck.” I said with an attitude. “You have no compassion.” I returned to my cell and got dressed. I even took my time, just to make a point. What point was that? Who knows? You know how it is when you’re mad for no reason.
On the way out the officer stopped me. “What’s wrong with you, Torres? I never said I would not give you a shower when you returned from Medical.”
Guilt. Shame. Embarrassment. My heart felt like it had stopped. My stomach was feeling ill. Why did I react so stupidly? I wished I could have a do-over.
The call to go to Medical was actually the call to go out for another toe surgery. This meant getting chained up – legs, waist, hands – and being transported to the Central Medical Facility a few miles away.
The trip, the wait, the procedure, and all that it entailed allowed me the time to pray and talk to God. I confessed my stupidity and my actions. Asked for forgiveness. And begged Him for a do-over. “God, Daddy, please allow me to be tested again. I’ll show You that I’ve learned my lesson. Please, please, please, Abba, you know that that person this morning was not me. Not the one You know.”
My heart was greatly bothered. During the surgery even the doctor noticed I was not doing well (in comparison to the other surgeries he had performed on me). He thought maybe I needed more local pain medication. So he injected more.
After the procedure was over and the pain medicine started to wear off, my thoughts on that morning’s failure slowly left, and the thought of “PAIN, PAIN, PAIN, my toe is in pain!” rushed in. For whatever reason, this surgery left me in more pain than I could ever remember.
I was uncomfortable. The ortho strap-on shoe they gave me felt too tight. The crutches felt too high. The leg chains felt cruel. The waist chains felt heavy. The pain amplified everything.
The time came that the transportation unit arrived to take me back. As I struggled to the van, I could hear one of the officers complain to the other. “I don’t even know why pieces of s?!* inmates get the right to a surgery. It’s my tax money.”
The other officer didn’t respond. I kept hobbling toward the van – in great pain. As I reached the van the nice officer (or as I will identify him here) pulled down the steps. The other officer’s hate was now growing.
“Don’t help him up!” he said this to the nice officer. “Let him fall and crack his head open. One less piece of s?!* I have to deal with.”
A that point I had had enough. I took my foot off the step. I turned around and was about to give him a piece of my mind. But just as I was going to give him a piece of my mind, I felt – yes, felt – a small voice say to me “do-over.”
Instantly, instead of giving him a piece of my mind, I gave him a piece of my heart. “You know Mr. officer, God loves you. I do not know the reason for your hate. But whatever the reason, God can solve it; matter of fact, He can take it away. You might not like me, because I’m an inmate, but that’s okay. I like you. And I appreciate the work you do. Did I mention that God loves you?”
I turned back around and managed to get up the steps. The two-mile ride back was quick, but in total silence.
Back at my facility I silently rejoiced for two reasons. The first is because God granted me a do-over. And second, Because I was given the shower I was looking forward to.
I’m so glad we have a loving Father that is not just a God of second chances, but the God of do-overs, too.
…learning lessons every day…
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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