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Voices From Prison 12

Voices From Prison 12

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Published by David Stys

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Published by: David Stys on Jun 13, 2012
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial


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Issue # 12 Spring 2012
 I challenge you to really find something to die for, and then to live for it . 
In the letters we offer in this issue, two voicesspeak from two different ‘prisons’—one from theprison on State Road, the other from a familymember of a prisoner who speaks of almost being‘captured’ by her brother’s criminal behavior.
“I’ve always been one who is skeptical whenever someone told me about some spiritual experience they had, and to be honest, most of the time I still am. So I understand if you find it hard to believe my Divine experience, but to be honest I do not care if you believe me or not. I was taking a nap and when I woke up the first thing on my mind was Jesus the Christ. So every bit of my attention was on He. Under my breath I mumbled, “I  believe in you Jesus Christ.” At that exact moment a crack formed from nothing in the air, and from the crack protruded a beam of light. The light made a connection from the crack into my forehead. As this was taking placeeverything around me was cancelled out. The only thing that mattered was the light shining upon me. I was completely paralyzed and  speechless. I knew that I wasn’t in any danger yet I was terrified. I was more afraid than I  have ever been in my life. Suddenly, I could tell that this incredible light energy picked up on my fear, and as quickly as the light had appeared it disappeared.That whole day I was trying my best to make sense out of what happened to me.The only possible explanation I could come up with was that I had just witnessed Christ in all his glory. I know in my heart it was Christ who visited me in the prison I was resting in that afternoon. I share this experience with you, not for my benefit but for yours. So that you may know that Christ Jesus is Lord and VERY real.” 
 Barry is describing what is called a “religious experience.” You may havehad such an experience, even if not as dramatic. Few people speak about thesevisitations from Jesus or the Holy Spirit. We or others tend to write them off as justa dream or a fantasy. Who would believe us? Yet if we do not speak of them to
someone or try to communicate back to the Lord, he may (as in Barry’s case) flee.God doesn’t want to scare you. He loves you, but he is not a bully or a needy child.You are free. Now a question: do you expect Jesus or God to communicate with youwhen you pray? We’ll come back to that later.
“I used to think that my measurements my mom marked on the basement wall  above my head measured who I was, measured my capability, and when I stopped  growing I was devastated. Height, I thought, was the vertical marker of my worth, because really, how can someone make more of themselves if there’s nowhere to storeit? I used to think that standing on my tippy-toes would bring me closer to that standard, and that straightening my back and jutting my chin upwards would give me that extra inch to reach my potential. I was the only fifth-grader with perfect posture and sore feet.Scheming so hard, I was mystified by the mysterious scholastic failures of my older brother, “Victor”—he was so tall after all. I spent my elementary school days watching him struggle through school. Report cards and interim reports would always say that he had it in him, but never applied  himself, and that all the special  projects and extra attention weren’t affecting his disinterest. He was bribed to complete his homework, taken to tutors, underwent eyeexams, was seen by counselors, given aptitude tests and by all accounts was a normal, healthy kid. As my transcripts would  show, my concern over my capacity issues dissipated after 7 
grade or so. I was trying to relate to Victor the only way I felt possible. He was older, good looking, popular and  cool (by whatever definition it is that teenagers use) and I was none of those things. As I started high school, my interest in college and my future vanished. It’s soeasy to forget to look past the day you are living out when you think that unreturned  phone calls and leaked secrets are the biggest dilemma you’ll ever face. My brother’s situation grew worse than lack of educational interest very quickly, as he became a tenth grade drop out with more apparent criminal tendencies. He knew how to waste potential fast and with each arrest, broke my heart to a deeper extent than I thought possible. After barely passing high school and without any plans for my college years that I once anticipated so much, I realized that I was chasing a lost soul and began to straighten out my priorities. It has been two years since I last saw Victor and he has been missing since….after running away with just two weeks left in a mandatory outpatient rehab sentence following a year long jail term. I wonder where he is now,
 how he is, but most of all, who he is. I can’t change the choices he made, and while I 
 once allowed those choices to become my own, I now use them every day as a reason tolive my life to the fullest and succeed on both of our halves….
“Victor,” the inmate-brother of Cherie whom she refers to above, shared thisessay of hers to the chaplain at the prison before Victor was baptized there. Perhapsthe poignant feelings she expressed broke through to him and had something to dowith his request for this sacrament. Maybe she’s still wondering where he is,whether he’s still a “lost soul.” At the end, she added a note that challenges him andall of us:
 “Victor, this is something random that I found in my notebook when I was trying to write you a letter a while back:“I write to you with my eyes closed because I’m scared to look at what I can’t control: you, you, you, you, you, you, you…Sleepless with words said, but not said right, stirring inside me.Said, but better described unsaid in their clumsy, ill-formed existence. I fall asleep with my pen in my hand, trying to write you a new life. More scribbles than words, where to start? And I’m sorry I can’t be more bothered by not knowing where you are tonight, but it’s an uncertainty you’ve made so frequent, I’ve come to accept it as certainty.So used to living around your absence that your presence becomes jarring.Your voice on the line, your face in the door, like a visit from a ghost. And I swear I’m going to live happily to spite you. For you. I once wrote you: I challenge you to really find something to die for, and then to live for it.” 
Such powerful words from an inmate’s sister!How great to have someone who loves you likethis! And yet, can this kind of love berejected? How many people in the city aresuffering over the lives of the men and womenwho are serving time? These “ripple effects”in the lives of the offenders’ families beg to beaddressed. (See end of newsletter for ourplans).You can see and hear these two peopleseeking a path in life. On the one hand aprisoner in a cell being visited by Jesus.Where he went after this experience is aquestion. Is it possible to reject a visitationfrom the Lord? Sure. We do it all the time.How to find our way back to him is thechallenge. Try to get down on your knees and

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