Facing him, I lifted his shirt to find a well-healed scar that ran from the top of his left shoulder down to the front of that joint. Grimacing a little bit as I asked him to move forward, it was really difficult for him to move around.
Not sensing any danger or threat, I had requested the deputy if it was okay to undo the handcuff. He immediately took it off upon my request.
“Ahhh…Thank you nurse! That’s better! It really hurt me. I had a previous surgery on my left shoulder when I had an accident one time,” his face still filled with doubts as to why he was summoned to be seen by the nursing staff.
“I know, Sir. I’m glad you told me. Do you know why you’re here?” I politely asked.
“Hmm..Not really Ma’am. But I’m scared. I don’t know what’s going on,” he replied.
“Sir, you had put a sick call request saying that you wanted to kill yourself.”
“What?,” an astonished answer echoed. “How did it sound with what I wrote?,” he asked.
“What do you mean what did it say? You’re the one who wrote it, right? Not unless someone else did it for you?” I queried with the determination to find out if another inmate was playing a joke on this poor, anxious man.
“What did it say again, Ma’am?”
“That you wanted to kill yourself!,” I patiently repeated.
“I am so sorry, Ma’am. I don’t really know how to read and write. I could not find anyone to help me write for me so I tried my best. My real problem was that I had been having nightmares since I got here. I was also hearing voices telling me not to sleep. So, those sleepless nights…they’re killing me!!!,” he explained. “I don’t have any intention to hurt myself,” he pled strongly with a direct eye to eye contact.
I glanced at the square note. It read: “Keent slip. I nid hellp. Kill meee.”
I couldn’t help but smile, until a soft laughter ensued. Not to make fun of him but a smile of relief that he was not really suicidal. He must have sensed that I believed in him then. I saw him became more relaxed at the corner of my eye. I heard him laugh softly, accompanying mine.
“Sir, it’s okay if you can’t read or write and that we misunderstood this request. But here, we take “suicidal ideations” seriously. I had asked your unit to bring you down to make sure that you don’t have any intention to hurt yourself. Because we’re here to help you and not allow you to do that. Sometimes, it may feel that there is no hope and help for others, but there is help available.”
“No, Ma’am. I am in no way planning to kill myself. But thank you for checking with me and being concerned,” his eyes now wrinkled from the smile he managed to give time to time.
“Well, how about this…I’ll go ahead and give you something for pain for your shoulder and wrist. But I will still have someone from Mental Health Services evaluate you so they can help you with your nightmares or anxiety attacks.”
He replied, “Thank you. I was so scared earlier not knowing what’s going on. I think I was so scared that I was praying. Thank you again. I appreciate that you did take care of my other true problems.”
The deputy escorted him back to his unit. But his wrists were without a handcuff this time. The anxious look earlier now replaced with relief and a little laughter that echoed for a few minutes.
“Suicide!” It is a big issue in the jail. When someone declares that intention, he/she is placed in a special place where they can be monitored 24/7 until the Mental Health doctor evaluates and treats them. They get released back to general population if the doctor gives an order to release them if he feels that they are mentally stable.
Suicide is what we commit when we are far from what God had willed for us. We hurt ourselves by depriving of being useful for Him. We commit spiritual suicide when we allow bad circumstances to empower us, instead of His strength and guidance to help us succeed in this life’s journey.
Apart from God, we are just existing, living a meaningless life. Our hearts are void of joy, joy that only comes from knowing Jesus Christ.
Let us not end the works marked for each of us. And we can live victoriously… if we know His will: to be joyful, prayerful and thankful.
1Thessalonians 5:16-18 - “Always be joyful. Keep on praying. No matter what happens, always be thankful, for this is GOD’s WILL for you who belong to Christ Jesus.”
John 10:10 - Jesus said, “The thief’s purpose is to steal and kill and destroy. My purpose is to give life in all its fullness.”
John 8:51 - Jesus said, “I assure you, anyone who obeys My teaching will never die!”
Romans 6:6-11 - “Our old sinful selves were crucified with Christ so that sin might lose its power in our lives. We are no longer slaves to sin. For when we died with Christ we were set free from the power of sin. And since we died with Christ, we know we will also share his new life. We are sure of this because Christ rose from the dead, and he will never die again. Death no longer has any power over him. He died once to defeat sin, and now he lives for the glory of God. So you should consider yourselves dead to sin and able to live for the glory of God through Christ Jesus.”
When nothing makes sense and when troubles seem more than you can bear, remember that God gives strength. Take our eyes off any difficulties and look to God. Let us LIVE...and be joyful.
The Attacker (5/15/09)
The sun was just peeking from the Eastern skies.
Out in the prison’s yard, some huge Sheriff’s buses were illuminated by the soft glow coming from the lights all over from the tall lamp posts. Their engines were turned on, warming up, before the buses would take the inmates to the different courts where they would have their trials.
Orange-uniformed men were lined up in pairs, joined together with handcuffs and chained, forming a long line. They already had their breakfast and had their morning medications prior to going to courts. Some were fidgeting, as they waited to board those buses.
All of a sudden, all hell broke loose! Two men were engaged in a fight, using weapons they made secretly for a while. Deputies called for help on the radio, both for custody back-up and medical staff, as well.
When the air was cleared and the other inmates were secured, one man was down on the floor. He sustained multiple gashes but two of them were deep. One cut was vertically etched from his left ear going down to the jaw line. The other dangerous cut was horizontal on his left neck, close to the jugular vein. Pool of blood dripped all over the floor. Holding his bleeding neck, he was pointing at the other inmate few feet away, being guarded by the other deputies.
The other man being accused was not hurt. There were no lacerations nor any other signs of trauma. He was obviously very agitated as he was being questioned by those deputies, while the medical staff started treating the other man on the floor. They cleaned the wounds and controlled the bleeding. That man was sent to the nearby hospital.
When the investigation was finalized, it turned out to be that the “downed man who was accusing the other inmate” was the attacker and the other one who didn’t have injury was the one attacked. The deputies found out that it was the second attempt to attack the unhurt man. Both attacks on him failed. He was well-prepared after the first attempt on him, that when the second attempt was done, he was able to defend himseld and ended up injuring his attacker severely.
[Source: Life Application Bible]:
We also have an “accuser of the brethren.” Satan and his army of demons are the enemies of God and of everything good.
“Because God’s children are human beings – made of flesh and blood – Jesus also became flesh and blood by being born in human form. For only as a human being could he die, and only by dying could he break the power of the Devil, who had the power of death.” –Hebrews 2:14
Because of what Jesus had done [dying on the cross], we, who live in constant fear of death shouldn’t be afraid anymore. Jesus had freed us from that fear so we can live for Him. When we belong to God, we know that death is only the portal that leads into “eternal life”. [“Thank You Lord!].
Paul warned us, too that we also battle against the evil forces of Satan, who is a vicious fighter. But to be able to withstand their attacks, we must depend on God’s strength and use every piece of His armor. We face an army whose goal is to defeat Christ’s church. When we believe in Christ, they become our enemies. They will try any device to turn us away from the Lord.
Fear not! For God has provided His supernatural power to defeat Satan and his army, through His Holy Spirit within us. So, arm yourselves with God’s armor.
Let us be strong in the Lord's mighty power. Let's put on His whole armor to resist the enemy's attacks: put on the sturdy belt of truth and the body armor of God's righteousness. For shoes, put on the peace that comes from the Good News, so that we are well-prepared. We will need faith in every battle as our shield to stop the fiery arrows aimed by Satan and his army. Let us put on salvation as our helmet, not forgetting the sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God. Let's pray at all times, on every occasion in the power of the Holy Spirit. We must stay alert and be persistent in our prayers for all Christians everywhere. [Ephesians 6:10-18].