I Hear You

"Hear my words, Lord!
    Consider my groans!

Pay attention to the sound of my cries, my king and my God,
        because I am praying to you!

Lord, in the morning you hear my voice.
    In the morning I lay it all out before you.

    Then I wait expectantly." - Psalm 5:1-3 (CEB)

The Female Deputy had brought a crying inmate worker to my attention as I tried to familiarize myself last Sunday in the other Correctional Facility where I used to work for a few years back in my earlier days at the county. The supervisor personally called me and had requested if I could work in his facility. I easily accepted though with a warning that I had not worked there in such a long time. He reiterated with understanding and encouragement that I would have help when I arrived.

I prayed for God to be there with me and Him be my guide. I knew nothing that would get in the way would faze me if I had Him and His wisdom guiding me. Even throughout the shift, I prayed silently.

“Can you walk to my Clinic?” I asked the sobbing inmate worker, her long hair slightly disheveled as she complained of chest pain.

“I think I’m having a heart attack,” she complained as more tears flowed and stained her pale cheeks.

“Trust me…You’re not…” I reassured as I continued to keep my stare on her as she sat on the metal bench where the inmates usually ate their “chow” (meals).

Letting out a deep sigh, she got up and walked a few steps into the tiny room where medical supplies were being housed.

“My chest hurts, Nurse,” she tried to remind me of a possible heart problem.

“I know. I’m not ignoring that. It’s not my business to know. That is…Only if you want to vent out…” I waited a few seconds and looked intently at her right hand trying to massage her mid-chest. Her tears continuing to flow.

“Take a deep breath…”

“If you want to vent out, please do so. Your being silent and trying to keep what bothers you will not help you a bit…” I coaxed.

“You’re right…” she admitted, blowing a strong puff of air as her lungs deflated.

“I did have a history of anxiety attack…”

I hear you…” I insisted…

“No heart problem. When you and the other nurse were out there passing meds, I was thinking about my 7 children back home. I miss them…”

“That’s when I thought my chest started hurting…But I think it’s more of my anxiety now.”

“When are you going to be released? That is…if you don’t mind me asking…”

“In a month, Ma’am…”

“Here’s the deal…You’ve been here for many months now. A month, though easier said than done, would go by quickly. Try to be good and don’t cause any trouble. You don’t want any hindrance to your pending release,” I cautioned.

“I won’t…My mom has been sick, too. She has some rare kind of cancer. I want to be there for her…”

“I’m glad you vented out. Hey! I don’t know your family and friends…Who am I gonna’ share your problems with?”

She laughed. The tears had run dry. Her eyes wrinkled as she smiled and her right hand went relaxed on her lap and stopped rubbing her mid-chest.

“You know what? I’m gonna’ give you some Motrin anyway.”

Her eyes shone with gratitude. She didn’t expect my last gesture. Knowing that she was not having any true heart problem.

“You may not have a heart attack but I see it with inmates who had panic attacks before. Their muscles hurt because they tensed up. I can’t imagine that. To be stiff and be worried at the same time,” I explained.

Stuffing the 9 packets of Motrin I gave with instruction to her left, upper pocket of her blue uniform, she thanked me. She uttered that she was feeling better by then.

“I will have the Mental health doctor follow up with you, too,” I added as her shadow slowly mingled back to the crammed dorm in her unit. I lost sight of her as her body was swallowed by a throng of concerned female inmate workers in her dorm.

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I went back to my seat, facing the empty seat where that inmate had sat before…I sighed…I prayed. I thanked God…Because I didn’t know that inmate did not have a heart condition. I only knew that if I could make her heart spill what was inside would somehow release the pressure that was building up in the first place. And right there…I learned something…About my own supplications that I always try to send up to the heavens. Of how the Holy Spirit would want me to spill what was in my heart. But with humility. How often I rushed my pleas. Of how my prayers and praises could be a work of my hasty mind and heart. Heart that should have a steady fire.(Then, my being lost to silence was interrupted by the other nurse handing out the medications to the inmates. She was grateful that I went with her to the female facility that I was just nearby when that inmate had an anxiety attack. I thanked her in return for showing me around. I knew there would always be a purpose wherever I was scheduled to work).

And indeed…God hears the voice of my cry. And your cry. If our cries come from a sincere heart whose weeping produces that kind of shrill only God’s heart can hear…We may not have the right words. We may not even have the words to say…But God knows…He even lets the Spirit intervenes for us...God understands…Because that’s Who He is…

God!!! Who is always ever near...Just a prayer away...
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