In The Fields...Of Grace...

“Lift your lips and open your mouth wide!” commanded the LVN who was passing meds that evening when I decided to re-acquaint myself in this facility where I used to work in my earlier years. The inmate in front of her, grinning sheepishly while the others shook their heads and started whispering...

There were 3 structures where the inmates were classified and housed. The dust was softly being blown by the late evening breezes. The sun was already setting behind those chain link fences locked in each doors.The yard empty by then as inmates huddled close, talking amongst themselves and some, watching shows from the big monitor reserved for them.

Those waiting for their evening medications were already lined up as the deputies had called them prior to our arrival. Holding cups of water and with the other hand holding their ID’s, one by one, they waited for their turn. The LVN did the right thing. When placing medications on the inmates' hands, she should make sure that the meds were swallowed as some were good at hiding the pills at the folds in their mouths, under the tongue, sometimes, spitting into the cup, and also, pretending to take the pills when one or all were hidden in their fingers. I remembered…I used to bring a flashlight when I used to pass meds in that facility. I aimed the bright light into their mouths where I could see well if anything was being hidden. I caught some…And when I did, they would either lose that privilege of getting that medications or be placed in discipline.

There are thousands of reasons why inmates do that behavior. Of hiding medications. Or other contrabands. They use those things for their advantage. Selling them in return for a favor. For things or other services. Sometimes, some are just being upset that they think they shouldn’t be there that they like to waste those so the county is losing money that way. They are good at improvising.

I looked at each body. The musty smell surrounding and reaching the cage that protected the deputies, the LVN, and myself. I saw “laziness”. Of some bodies laying on the bed. I couldn’t imagine for anyone not to do anything all day. Most of them, talking. In groups. Obviously with clear distinction of one color hanging around, or trying to find someone with the same race. The “brotherly handshakes” that meant “they belonged”…But still…I sensed most of them were not learning anything but laziness. They knew their rights. When outside, they were quick to violate that of others’. They complained about everything. Food. Beds. Pillows. Showers. Medications. When outside, they knew some of them couldn’t afford those. Especially that the economy had been hard for us.

The LVN waved goodbye as she escorted me and opened the front gate where the staff parking was. Slightly illuminated with amber lights, the surrounding areas were nothing but darkness. That was close to midnight. She was nice enough to accompany me and made sure I was okay until I got to my car. I thanked her and turned on my ignition. With the wilderness around me, I saw a reflection of a fading image of this facility from my rear-view mirror.  It was known as a rehabilitation center. But was it really helping others reformed their lives or not?

It was sad…To realize that God always provided for anyone’s needs only to be taken for granted. And how most prisoners always waited for provisions. When perhaps, God might be waiting for them to take the first step needed. To work. To do something. In order to meet that need. Of being reformed. Changed. For a renewed life.

Oh Lord, forgive us when we take Your blessings for granted…Forgive us when we don’t take actions when we should for the needs we lift up to You. How can we even forget that in Your fields of grace, all our needs are met and You never cease in supplying  our needs? Like Ruth, remind us oh Lord to glean the grain in Your rich fields of grace. Thank You Lord for Your love, grace, and mercy. In Jesus’ Name. Amen.

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