What's Harder

By now, most people have seen this photo of 12 year old Devante Hart hugging and being hugged by Portland, OR, Police Sergeant Bret Barnum at a Ferguson protest rally in Portland, Oregon on 11/28/14.
  The young man waPortland sergeant and protestor hugs holding a sign reading, "Free Hugs."  Sgt. Barnum came up and spoke to him for a few minutes, just like he might any 12 year old.  Young Mr. Hart began tearing up, and when Sgt. Barnum asked him for a hug, we see the results.  Two human beings, one in a uniform who stands ready to give his life for this young man if needed, and another who is willing to step across the divide created by a belief about the police.

“If you want to enjoy life and see many happy days, keep your tongue from speaking evil and your lips from telling lies. Turn away from evil and do good. Search for peace, and work to maintain it. The eyes of the Lord watch over those who do right, and his ears are open to their prayers. But the Lord turns his face against those who do evil.” – 1 Peter 3:10-12 (NLT)

“It took 10 deputies to stop that angry man and I couldn’t take his vital signs…” The new nurse excitedly relating with me why her shift at Intake the night prior was overwhelming. 

“Yup…It happens…” I calmly responded.

“This would not be your first nor last…”  

“But in each time, you’ll learn something new…”

Some of the deputies who worked with her that night intermittently came by to say “hello” to her as she worked in the Clinic that Saturday night. Their faces showing weariness…Yet one particular mood was easy to spot…

“You guys heard it, too from the news?” one asked.

He was talking about the two New York cops shot by an angry man who wanted revenge. 

We all shared that pain. That sadness. 

Anyone who works in law enforcement knows that this is a big family and it hurts so much to lose innocent, honest working cops to such tragic acts. It doesn’t help when the media or any politician plays with people’s emotions to get them on their side and win their selfish causes. Lies being delivered as if they’re the sole truths.

“Have some sweets,” I offered to one visiting deputy. Quiet while sitting the whole time as if he had no energy left from mixed emotions that he was trying to put off.

“Merry Christmas and be safe when you’re out there,” I cautioned as he wished all the nursing staff the same.

He would go back to the prison’s Intake. The sadness and his tired body were needed to be put aside as we all knew… that he would face many more combative arrestees and those who were committed to play tough and resist authority. 

I silently prayed knowing that the “Prince of Peace” was within reach. Because I understood from Him. 

It’s a lot harder to MAKE PEACE than to wage war at times. 


Lord, I ask that You protect those who work hard in law enforcement and the military. Comfort those who lost their loved ones unexpectedly.  Help those who selflessly labor for Your Kingdom and help them endure. Thank You for the true peace You alone give. Thank You that You are watching over the righteous despite these trying times. Thank You for coming here in this dark place to make Your Light be known. Thank You for dying for us so we can live.


Instead, we will speak the truth in love, growing in every way more and more like Christ, who is the head of his body, the church. – Ephesians 4:15 (NLT)

For a child is born to us, a son is given to us.
The government will rest on his shoulders. And he will be called:
Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. – Isaiah 9:6 (NLT)

Then God put him in the place of honor at his right hand as Prince and Savior. He did this so the people of Israel would repent of their sins and be forgiven. – Acts 5:31 (NLT)

I was being careful to steady my hands on my steering wheel. Throngs of cars ran past me from different directions. Behind me. From the right lanes. From the left. Some, suddenly merging and had cut me off only to suddenly braked. Their red lights cautioning me to step on my own and  I slowed down even more.
I didn’t want to get angry anymore. I knew many drivers out there were crazy enough to do wrong turns or suicidal speeds way above the norm. Then…

I saw the military convoy. Different kinds of trucks with some cannon-like appearance. Obscured by a green tarp that seemed to hide it in secrecy. Trying to maintain their speed in order to keep their trucks in unity. I could tell the faster ones dared not to do so to allow the slower, heavier trucks to keep up with the first one’s speed. I saw him. A young man whose head was covered with greenish helmet. Browsing through many cars that passed the truck where he was. The plastic cover on the back all neatly rolled up as he sat there facing the traffic behind the truck. His head scanning until…
Photo Credit

I saw him looking at me… From a brief, careful glance, I felt his stare. As his truck and my car passed by where there were Christmas trees being sold off the side of the freeway. I wanted to thank him. I felt no one was acknowledging him. I knew I had the opportunity to make him aware how thankful I was. How grateful I was. Of his service and sacrifice. And that of others’. I found myself praying as I steadied my eyes on the road. Avoiding mishap but wouldn’t let go of that opportunity to thank him and make him aware of what this season also was about.

I waved…For mere seconds and put my right hand again on the wheel...

I looked really fast to where he was and he kept his composure. Then, I saw him raised his right arm. And waved back at me as a big smile appeared on his young face. I smiled back and continued driving as I passed his truck up until I couldn’t see the convoy anymore on my rear view mirror. The sun slowly setting on the western horizon.

I saw the parallel. Of how humanity has been raging war against Christmas. Against Christianity. Many choose to ignore this war because of tolerance. Instead of saying “Merry Christmas”, many opt for “Happy Holidays.” The word “God” being censored and other Christianity-related beliefs while everything else had been making its way into festive celebrations. All for the sake of not being able to offend. So others said…
But there would always be one truth...

That true soldiers of Christ should honor this special time of the year. Christ’s soldiers could repeal all the “humbugs” from many Ebenezer while waving His truth in love.

Faith Or Fear?

The second, heavy metal door slammed loudly as I continued to walk quietly towards the Charge Nurse’s desk on Friday night. A familiar long locks of hair greeted me as she just hang up the phone after speaking with one of the units.

“Charge Nurse already?” I asked with a big smile on my face.

“Yes,” she shyly admitted and her eyes lit up upon seeing who asked her.

“I knew you could do it!” I uttered back.

She was the new nurse being given a hard time that I wrote about from my last post. A threat to those who had intentionally kept their pacts as they formed their own groups behind the prison walls. People whose eyes were more intent on seeing everything, keener than what the prison’s security cameras would never be able to scan or see. Except whose eyes always chose to see the negatives and all evil things than to see the good and the positive.

We had been having problems again with shortage of staff despite my workplace recently hiring many new nurses, both experienced and non-experienced. With the trial I had gone through with the corrupt administration, I had been grateful that their decision to make me Per Diem from a full time position became an advantage. It wasn’t my own strength that helped me get through. I knew it was somehow God’s plan to turn all those hardships into good on my part. Now, they couldn’t force me to work many hours nor put me to work in an unpleasant part of the prison.

“Just keep doing what you are doing! I told you… Show them what you got!”

“Why? Tell me please. What did you hear about me?”


“Seriously…I need to know, Nurse Rcubes. Because I feel there is something going on and it feels great to know that I can speak openly with one, “You!”

My heart and mouth had kept all the bad accusations I heard about her. Many advised me to be cautious on the first night I hadn’t even known her before I oriented her to what we did in the Clinic. I kept quiet. I knew better after working for 14 years to never allow anyone to make me form my own opinion about someone based on what they perceive or suggest. I would rather form my own after working with that person and see their own work habits with my own eyes. Hear how they speak. See how they interact not only with medical or custody staff but also with inmates.

“Did you lie, Nurse Rcubes when I first asked you? You knew something, right?” she repeated.

With my memory rewinding from the last nights I had worked with her, I paused for a while and was careful to answer that query. With the hope of always not being a part of the grapevine…But instead, to always encourage and be a part of the good than the bad.

After a deep sigh, I started talking, my eyes glued to meet her own, piercing stare:

“You may call it that…But I chose to call it "encouragement." I shut up at that time and didn’t tell you what I knew because I wanted to encourage you…”

She almost fell off the chair. She didn’t know how to react upon my admission. But at the same time, I felt her relief upon the chance she might heard a confirmation of what was to be exposed.

“I did that because I wanted you to focus on the positive not the negative and bad things you encountered as you joined us here. Tell me, “Would you quit if I said the truth otherwise?”

Her head bowed lower a bit. Gathering strength to once again straighten her neck and meet my stare, she uttered in a sad voice…

“Perhaps, Nurse Rcubes. Because it was overwhelming…”

She thanked me. She had asked for me to accept her gratitude and a hug. She went back to her empty seat. The Charge Nurse’s. She looked back again to where I was and smiled at me. As the phone rang again as one of the units was calling to ask about medical stuff.

I felt her strength. I felt her positive energy. I always saw her as a hardworking nurse burned out from working in a hospital. Learning new theories and applying her learned skills in a different field of Nursing. But the bottom line was…

Anyone can choose to have fear or faith… To have fear means lack of faith. To not have faith means not knowing or believing in God. Faith is a gift from God. To not have faith in everything we do means we deny that hope that God will and can take care of us no matter what circumstances we’re facing.

I pray…someday…that this nurse would always remember the things we had learned together in the prison. That there was hope despite the trying times. That there was an opportunity to grow in faith whenever we faced adversities or when we felt afraid. Because what was true for me would be true for her…Or for anyone else…..

That God can handle anything that happens in anyone’s life. It is our choice to trust that and truly believe that He will take care of us…Because His faithful love endures... 


All posts/composed songs copyright by RCUBEs.