Sunday, January 14, 2007
Fast Food From the God Box
We didn't go to church today because it would have been illegal for us to go. Not directly mind you, but indirectly as we cannot drive until our vehicle tag renewals are processed. The limitations are endless and we can't break the law, not even a little bitty one without further devastating our current situations.

Funny, as we sit here at home on the eve of Martin Luther King, Jr.'s birthday; we don't feel free. In the same note we wouldn't have felt free today sitting in a church pew. Last Sunday I posted how we looked forward to the question, "How have you been?"

"Incarcerated," wasn't what we had planned to be the answer.

Ironically and by far the most liberating seat I sat in this week was in the lobby of the Chatham County Detention Center waiting for a loved one to be set free. In those four hours I heard more "Praise the Lord's", "Thank you Jesus's!" and "Good God Almighty's!" then I have heard sitting in a church pew for the past 39 years. Not a single sermon was uttered but in everyone a testimony shared.

Similar to going to a new church for the first time, I felt out of place. Perhaps for the first time in my entire life I felt like the minority. Yes, I was the only white person in the place and uncomfortable to boot. Through the first hour not a soul spoke to me but they spoke to themselves quietly about me. You can tell, you know. By the inquisitive stares with lifted eyebrows that seem to burn right through you.

Not the kind of look that makes a gal self conscious about her weight, a bad hair day or the pimple that she's hiding underneath a smear of Revlon cover-up. No, the kind of look that burns right through to the inside and puts the state of your heart, mind and soul into question. The kind of look that requires an answer quickly before you burn all to hell right then and there on the spot.

It was at that burning moment when a released inmate came barreling out into freedom from behind the double doors, when I heard my first, "Thank you Jesus!" He looked around in the lobby, hoping to find a familiar face. A family member or friend who was there to come and get him. Finding none, he went to the pay phones along the wall and emptied his pockets hoping for change. There was none.

Without a thought I handed him my cell phone and asked, "Do you need to call someone?"

His eyes lit up then shut down the moment he saw the big red sign that read, "NO CELL PHONE USE IN LOBBY".

"That's okay, just go outside and make your call." I said and he skipped on out to do just that.

Amazing, the burning stares stopped. The next three hours were filled with people offering me a seat. Sharing, caring, laughing and hoping together that the next released inmate would be one of ours.

One of ours. Not one of theirs, nor one of them. Simply, and with the greatest blessings.... one of ours.

Stumble It! .......posted by Margaret @ 1:50 PM  
  • At 3:24 PM, Blogger Dr.John said…

    I hope your loved one is fine. Sometimes the discovery taht people are just people comes as a suprise. I bet they were suprised that you ( a white woman) would share your cellphone and trust him to bring it back. Often that kind of kindness breaks the ice and changes how people see us. It was an ac t in the image of Jesus. What all Christians are called on to do.

  • At 5:58 PM, Blogger Orhan Kahn said…

    I suggest people move to Australia or holiday through Turkey for some fair-dinkum liberation. Feeling incarcerated sn't plesant. I sometimes feel the same about work.

  • At 7:59 PM, Blogger The Little Woman said…

    Church was cancelled for us today because of the ice.

  • At 1:58 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Wow, I am never comfortable being stared at at any time. It feels so much like an attack.

  • At 6:51 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    I love your outlook on life and the way you write about it. I'm sorry this had to happen to you (and your husband). Maybe just chalk it up to a learning experience and having a good story to tell. But tell your hubby not to get any more tickets!

  • At 9:31 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Hi Margaret!
    Life is full of surprises. Great writing!
    All the best to you!

  • At 3:50 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Wow... that was lovely.

    :) Gives quite alotta hope too.

  • At 8:20 PM, Anonymous happy and blue 2 said…

    Did your husband at least get a cool prison tattoo..

  • At 11:01 PM, Blogger Karlos said…

    Sounds like a good experience, all things considered.

  • At 11:01 PM, Blogger Karlos said…

    Sounds like a good experience, all things considered.

  • At 12:07 AM, Blogger Deepak Gopi said…

    Really interesiting.I could understand the feeling you had while at the church.

  • At 3:18 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    That's a nice story... Hey, you're one of those Jesus-loving people, aren't you???

  • At 7:03 PM, Blogger Melli said…

    Oy! Not a fun way to spend an evening! BUT... something was learned... by several people I bet! Nice!

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