The throng of men started piling up on the cold, concrete bench behind the huge, heavy metal, sliding door that barred the outside yard of the prison. One by one, some of them came in, cuffed together with a chain link. As I got my report from the scheduled Intake Nurse last Saturday night, I knew, those men came from one of the county’s precincts.
“Aww….I feel bad now, Rcubes,” uttered by the Intake Nurse. Feeling ill the previous night, I had told her I would work at Intake when I returned that night to make her go back to the Clinic. All of us knew it was always busy at Intake even on the weekends. Not like at the Clinic. It always eased up on weekends since there was no court.
“Don’t be…I’ve been here for a while but that was many years ago…It’s only a matter of getting familiar again…” Noticing the extended area outside the small clinic that has better barrier for nurses now than back then when I used to work and had immediate exposure to the arrestees. Not great as some could become combative without any warning.
The line slowly disappeared. As I switched between the male and female side of Intake. Screening those who had medical or mental health issues. Clearing them to be booked if I didn’t discover anything alarming regarding their health.
Not including the phone calls that came from different small jails of the precincts. Asking if it was okay for them to keep a particular inmate until they would have the necessary staff to transfer them to our main prison. Some of them would get upset if I went against their wishes. Understanding the hundredths of miles between some prisons, still…The incarcerated person’s health came first.
“Do you want anything from ODR?” asked one co-worker. Finding out last minute that I would be working at Intake. Volunteering to offer me food from the prison’s staff’s dining area. But I always brought my own food. Even if I was scheduled at the Clinic. The Intake Nurse I relieved came back twice to check the suicidal inmates for me. That helped a lot as I continued to screen the constant flow of arrestees.
Though it looked so busy, I knew it wasn’t at all. It was nothing compared to some nights. And my co-workers saw the calmness and steady busy. Not like the nights they had when they work down at Intake.
“My gosh! It’s not busy!” the sick nurse exclaimed.
“Because…I have a secret…” I firmly stated.
“What?” she asked in a probing way.
“I always pray before I go to work. I talk to God because I know He knows everything even before they happen. I trust that. And even if it’s busy, I know it will not be something beyond what I’m not capable of.”
“Thank you, Lord, “ I softly uttered in praise behind my head.
“I used to do that…”she quickly exchanged.
“I asked for a good night at the hospital where I work and I ended up having a bad night.”
“Maybe He wanted you to learn something from that busyness,” I replied.
“That’s true. Because somehow, I made it through…” a few, dry coughs mixed as she uttered.
As the huge door remained silent, I knew that was the time in the morning when the dawn was breaking. I knew there would be no more bodies to come except once in a while. Not a throng. As the sun came out and lit up the whole, huge Intake yard. There were no more police cruisers parked except our own Sheriff’s vehicles and buses. The desk I was working on became clear. I got done with all the charts I had to open for everyone I screened that had medical or mental health issues. I knew I conquered my fear. Not with my own strength but by His grace. There was no room at all to fear knowing that by trusting Him, He would always be there for me. And for those who believe and trust in Him.
After all, He calls me to get out of my comfort zone. Busy or no busy. I am called to partake in His suffering. So that in my weakness, people will see the strength He gives me. And through that, people can see the glory.
Not mine. But Jesus’….
Thank You Lord for always being there for me.
For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us. – Romans 8:18 (ESV)
Are we beginning to commend ourselves again? Or do we need, as some do, letters of recommendation to you, or from you? You yourselves are our letter of recommendation, written on our hearts, to be known and read by all. And you show that you are a letter from Christ delivered by us, written not with ink but with the Spirit of the living God, not on tablets of stone but on tablets of human hearts. Such is the confidence that we have through Christ toward God. Not that we are sufficient in ourselves to claim anything as coming from us, but our sufficiency is from God, ... – 2 Corinthians 3:1-18 (ESV)
Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever. – Hebrews 13:8 (ESV)