Looking through the inmates’ eyes as they tell me “God bless you!” I am always careful when to respond back or not. Someone can sense the sincerity or lack of it if certain words are spoken.
Working for 12 years now in a correctional setting, I used to pass medications in a particular facility for almost a year. There, I learned through inmates what their “lingo” meant.
“Be careful, Nurse Rcubes,” warned one long ago.
“Others who tell you ‘God bless you’ doesn’t mean it is what they hope for you…They will say that with you thinking how respectful of them to you...but the meaning was the opposite...So,they won't get in trouble..."
“What do you mean?” I probed after he downed the prescribed pills I handed to his open right palm and as he quickly took a sip of water from his small, brown cup, he tried to explain…
“Well, it can also mean that they are cursing you by saying that…”
“Ahhh…Okay…I got it. Thanks!”
“Look who’s here!” exclaimed one from the back of the line as everyone slowly got up at the wee hours of the morning to get their pills from me.
“It’s the pusher!” he joked around.
I kept giving the medications to those ahead of him until it was him who was in front of me.
“What did you say about me?”
“I was just joking, Ma’am.”
“Well, I don’t appreciate it. I’m not a ‘pusher’. I want you to know that I am doing an important job of giving prescribed medications to all those who need it. Including you. There was nothing funny about what you said.”
He smirked. Got his pills. Thanked me. And said….
“God bless you…”
I kept silent. He didn’t expect that. As one tall man behind him with closed fists whispered to his neck, “You better apologize to this nurse.” He turned around, ready to fight back. Only to find out that he was facing a giant. A lot bigger than him. He cowered and apologized immediately. My protector was one of the long-time incarcerated male who happened to have a heart problem. I made sure that he always got his pills on time and before they would run out, I made sure the doctor already had reordered them. Expected role I needed to accomplish. But a big thing to him who was in need and learned to appreciate that.
Good and evil simply don’t mix. God is holy and righteous…
“Your eye is the lamp of your body. When your eyes are good, your whole body also is full of light. But when they are bad, your body also is full of darkness.” – Luke 11:24 (NIV)
“See to it, then, that the light within you is not darkness.” – Luke 11:35 (NIV)
“You have wearied the LORD with your words. "How have we wearied him?" you ask. You have wearied him by saying that all who do evil are good in the LORD's sight, and he is pleased with them. You have wearied him by asking, "Where is the God of justice?" – Malachi 2:17 (NLT)