The Invisible Badge



Wait for the LORD; be strong and take heart and wait for the LORD. – Psalm 27:14 (NIV)

The golden badge flashed before our slumped, tired bodies as we neared the end of our shift. Warning the nursing staff that he, the deputy, brought the inmate I asked for to be evaluated for his suicidal ideation, his eyes scanned around until he found me sitting in front of a computer monitor in a corner.

“Thanks, deputy, for bringing him. I appreciate it.” I hollered as I knew that as the medical staff’s shift became slow at those hours, the deputies’ were just beginning again with many activities they needed to accomplish before they finished theirs.

There he was…Sitting on the last chair. His stare…blank on the cold floor and he slowly raised his what seemed to be a very heavy head to acknowledge my shadow approaching near where he was. His affect…Flat. His stare… Exhausted and glistening with tears awaiting to fall in the corners of his dark eyes. Exhausted from many a ‘sleepless nights’ and that darkness that encircled his eyes. Darkness that also extinguished the light of joy that once was dancing in his heart…

“Sorry…I had to ask the deputy to bring you here. I was concerned that you sent us a sick call request stating that you wanted to hurt  yourself. Did you write this? And if you did, do you want to hurt yourself?”

Like a scared puppy with sad eyes, he acknowledged he was the one who wrote the request. Except…it wasn’t true that he wanted to commit suicide. 

“I am depressed, Ma’am…I feel it’s getting worse…I’m sorry if I made it sound like I want to do that. I only did that because other inmates told me that was the fastest way to be seen by the Psych Doctor and to get meds if I wanted to.”

I tried not to interrupt as my suspicion was being proven to be true. That others told him to do so… The unit deputy briefly looking to where I was as he knew I had told him what I suspected about that request…

“Then…I realized…I won’t do that. I can’t. That’s their game. It’s stupid…To lie like that…Ma’am, my dad passed away and that’s why I’m feeling like this…We’re very close…I know…I won’t make him proud and that’s disrespectful to him if I listened to those inmates. They lie to get what they want…I’m sorry…”

I kept maintaining meeting his stare, avoiding to even blink so as not to miss his honesty being given. Finding the skills learned from years working with suicidal inmates and those depressed ones,  my mind was busy remembering the friends who lost loved ones and that of my own. Of losing my own father 7 years ago…To try to find a commonality to help me speak with this depressed man in front of me so I could help him see that I truly understood where he was coming from. I knew…The loss was hard to bear. Grief was a process that has no end sometimes. It could be a long duration a broken heart has to bear. Each day. Each long day. I was also looking for cues. For any sign that would help me make sure that he wouldn’t do nor plan a quick escape from this pain. That was the hardest thing to spot of all.

“Don’t apologize, Sir. I appreciate that you told me the truth behind your sick call request. The inmates were right. That was the fastest way to get attention. But they were wrong that doing so would guarantee you getting medications. Because it all depends from what the Psych doctor would want to order. Or not.”


“But you’re hurt. I could feel your depression. What you’re going through is true and very painful. And no one can say ‘You’ll be over in no time.” Because the truth is…No one knows how long grieving lasts.”

“Ma’am,” he interrupted.

“I can wait…I’ll wait for the Psych doctor to see me. I know I do need help.”

“Do you believe in God” I uttered loudly as the deputy wondered where my probing was leading to.

“I’m a Christian.”

“Do you feel like talking with a pastor would help you?” 

Silence…Then the deputy asked if he could interfere.

As I nodded, the deputy said that the inmate already asked for the Chaplain.

“I think you know, Sir what process to take. I’m glad you’re choosing to be patient and not listen to other ill advices. I’ll make sure that the mental health services will see you first thing come Monday.”

He thanked me as he tried to paint a smile on his haggard face. But no smile was ever painted by the brush of his broken heart. Tears grew as they remained ready to flow. Tears brought about by the news of losing his father who loved him dearly and the long incarceration he had to endure behind the bars.

I thanked the deputy as his golden badge glistened but quickly faded as he turned to help the inmate stand up. With his cuffed wrists, he slowly rose with heavy, drooping shoulders. His head remained looking at the floor as he took heavy steps back to his unit.

Then I saw the invisible badge. The badge that this depressed, Christian man was wearing…It spelled:

P-E-R-S-E-V-E-R-A-N-C-E…

Satan’s arrows crippled this man bad or so it seemed for now…And I prayed…

For that Christian inmate…For God to help him draw his shield close…His shield of faith…Close to his spirit. Faith that would help him cry out unto God of Armor…So that he would be able to endure…Up to the end…And have His “joy” reclaim the lost areas in his heart that was lost to Satan’s arrows…

4 comments:

  1. This post gripped my heart... and now I have tears just from thinking about the loneliness of this man you wrote about. Amazing that he is also a Christian, He was able to pour his heart out to someone who truly cares, someone who was not going to judge him, or doubt him. I believe that meant a lot for him - to be listened to by a caring heart. I too am praying for him, that Jesus will fill his heart with joy and gladness and hope and meaning, even as he wears the badge of perseverance. I am not able to visit blogs often these days, but when I write my end of month post, then I take a few minutes to visit my friends. May the rest of your day be beautiful, dear Rosel.

    ReplyDelete
  2. so sad.....I will say a prayer for that young man.

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"Faith is taking the first step even if you don't see the whole staircase..."
~ Martin Luther King, Jr.

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Encouragers

The Attacker (5/15/09)

The sun was just peeking from the Eastern skies. Ephesians 6:12 [37 kb]


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].

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