The Inmate Worker

 He was dressed up in blue. An inmate worker. I always saw him cleaning around the different parts in the Infirmary. His job assignment. Occasionally, I would say “Hello” as staff was prevented from making any friendly type of conversation among the inmates. For security purposes. Which was right among the corrections’ policies.  A few who fell for their charming ways of conversing ended up liking the inmates and tried to help them escaped. But most of the time, the staff who did that ended up being caught. Unfortunately, they ended up becoming imprisoned like the persons they got attracted to.

It was a bad shift. Unscheduled sick calls kept bombarding us. One after another, we, nurses took turn seeing them all. Some went to the hospital for further treatment. It didn’t include the busy phone lines and the charts with the doctor’s orders were barely touched by any of us. I felt the gnawing pang of hunger when I looked at the clock showing a few minutes past 6 in the evening. I remembered, I had not even taken a break. Eyeing the plastic bag that stored my dinner I brought from home, I asked for permission from the Charge Nurse if I could take my break.

I usually never went to our dining hall where any staff could order anything to be made. It was just easier for me and much more relaxing to eat in the back part of the Clinic, away from any inmates’ prying eyes and that of the staff’s. I warmed up my food and realized there was no fork but just plastic knives and spoons. That would still work. If one was too hungry like me that night, you had to provide. 

I saw him again. Right behind me when I started digging into a couple slices of pizza. The aroma spilled into the area as I sat down and took the newly-warmed up pies from our microwave oven. He was cleaning the floor, mopping the other end, just a few steps from where I was. It was too quiet. For both of us. I was trying to enjoy my dinner yet cautious as he was there. It was too quiet that he could hear just the sounds of the knives cutting and aided with a spoon to put the pizza into my mouth. As I could hear just the swaying motions of the mop he was using. 

I couldn’t concentrate on my dinner. The presence of another shadow whom I couldn’t trust was just lurking behind me. Silence made it worse. To know that there was another human being made by God to interact was not supposed to be talked to.

With a slightly racing heartbeat, I cracked the deafening silence between us and softly, I uttered, “How are you doing, Sir?”

He looked up from intently looking on those floor tiles. I could tell he got a little excited that he was noticed. He paused from mopping and replied, “Oh, I’m fine, Ma’am…”

“I’m so hungry right now so don’t mind me if I keep on eating. It’s a bad night for us.”

“Oh, it’s okay. I know. I saw you’re eating pizza and I was thinking it looked so good.”

I could have taken his latest reply as spooky. It gave hints that he was watching me and knew even what I was eating. But I decided to ignore it and continue to not let ‘silence’ saturate that spot where we both were.

“You guys don’t get pizza?”

“Used to. Not anymore. More rice now, Ma’am.”

“That must be a bummer, huh (me trying to talk in a lingo he was used to)? But economy is hard right now. It must be about the budget thing.”

“Guess so…”

“Sorry I can’t offer you any. If ever you get out, that’s the first thing you do…”

“That’s okay, Ma’am…Do what?”

“Order pizza…”

His mouth showed a wide smile as he nodded his head up and down. The Infirmary Deputy suddenly emerged his head from one of the exam rooms nearby and interrupted our stolen conversation. He looked at me and made sure I was okay. I smiled back at him and with his talking eyes, he was grateful in a way that I was there in the back as the inmate cleaned the area. He knew some stuff like plastic knives and spoons could be stolen and be improvised as “shanks”. He sensed I was comfortable and left me to enjoy the smaller piece of pizza laid out in front of me.  Except…It had gotten cold. A small price I had to pay for hearing the unspoken woes from an inmate’s heart. Hungry for interaction. Prevented by policies of the prisons for a reason. Policies or laws that would make him and the other inmates avoid the same evil deeds that got them imprisoned in the first place. The deafening silence in that dark place could be an opportunity for him to re-evaluate those deeds…

Laws are given to our rebellious spirits to help us love God with all of our hearts and minds. But men turned them into rules that most of the time, they are misapplied and confusing. Jesus did not come to go against such laws but against the abuses it was subjected to. Moses emphasized God’s law and justice but Jesus came and highlighted God’s mercy, love, faithfulness, and forgiveness. Instead of the writings on those stone tablets, true disciples of Jesus show His writings on the stony tablets of their hearts, changed through the ways they live their lives.

"Be still, and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth."
- Psalm 46:10 (NIV)

"Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them.” – Matthew 5:17 (NIV)

“For the law was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ.” – John 1:17 (NIV)
All posts/composed songs copyright by RCUBEs.


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].