True Courage

     "Courage doesn't always roar. Sometimes courage is the quiet voice at the end of the day saying, 'I will try again tomorrow.'" ~ Mary Ann Radmacher 

Trying not to drop 2 bags of ice, one on each of my hand, I walked toward the unit close to the Clinic to deliver it to an inmate needing the ice for a lab procedure called 24 hour urine. He would collect his urine in a special bottle previously given and it needed to be iced so that bacteria wouldn't grow.

Hoping that the Custody Specialist [the person controlling the opening and closing of all doors in a unit] would see me since I was having difficulty buzzing the bell, I stood in front of the small glass window. There he was, the silhouette of a tall man, an inmate worker dressed up in blue, saw me instead. He flung his right hand holding a mop in the air, as the left hand with a piece of rag also alternately tried to draw the CS's attention. Through the soft glow of yellow light, I saw him pointing at me. I sensed the calmness inside, signifying the end of "chow time" or breakfast of inmates.

He waited for me at the second door that led to the different segments of the unit, ready to open the door. After that, he took one of the ice bags from my hand and cheerfully asked me if I wanted him to hold the other bag, too.

"It's okay, I got it. You have helped me so much already. Thank you," I uttered.

"You're welcome, Ma'am."

After calling the inmate who needed those ice, this inmate worker opened the door again for me. I ignored the fact that the usual friendly conversation that was discouraged in this environment as my feeling of gratitude for this kindness displayed, overwhelmed me.

"Start of shift?"

"Yes, Ma'am. I'm about to clean the G room."

"How long are you gonna' be working?"

"8 hours."

"Well, I hope the day will be okay knowing the day shift usually is busier than the night. Take care and thank you so much for all the help you had given me."

"Have a nice day, Ma'am. That was nothing," he replied as he gave me a smile.

A short conversation that meant a lot. He was thankful for the way he was acknowledged. But he didn't know. I was more thankful for his behavior. That it was true. There was still a good thing out of the bad. That everyone deserved a chance. For them to try to make a change. He just showed me. His willingness to change. His effort to become a good person, away from the person he was once who made wrong decisions that put him inside the prison. He just shown me true courage.

The way God believed in me and never gave up on me. To show courage. Courage that is not measured by the tallest mountain we climb. Nor the widest expanse of seas we sail on. Nor the highest altitude we have flown. But the courage to say "I'm sorry for my sins" and then, making that right decision to make a change. Which is to do the right thing.

"From that time on Jesus began to preach, "Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is near."
~Matthew 4:17
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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 himself and ended up injuring his attacker severely.

[Source: NLT 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].