Two and a half months ago, I wrote about my visit to see my daughter in jail. My, oh my, how life can grab us quickly and change us.
Not only has the waiting area changed, my heart has. I look forward to my weekly visits with my girl and I am thankful for them, no matter the circumstance. The air surrounding the jail seems "thin." God is there. As I wait for my turn to visit booth 36, I see inmates walking with their heads down, trying to avoid looking at those who shame them. I see a bright light above each one of their heads and I know restoration for them is possible. I read somewhere that it's quite possible that God is even more present in these walls of the jail and the people in them, than he is in church.
I wonder if the inmates hear the obnoxious level of the bass in my car, bursting out of my sunroof as I sit in the lot and pray while listening to Tasha Cobb's BREAK EVERY CHAIN? You see, I used to be afraid of jail, of the visits, of the darkness. I used to walk with my head held too high thinking I didn't belong there and that I would catch some germ just by being there that would cause me, somehow, to need to be incarcerated as well. What a pretentious dumb head I was. These inmates need us. They need our hope, they need our beauty, they need our belief in them. We are their light. We are the hands and feet. We are the salt.
My daughter is taking creative writing classes, Bible studies, and learning tricks of the "inside" that she finds quite humorous to share with me. She's finding as much beauty as she can.
The inmates, my daughter, they are all there for a reason. They need to be there. They did wrong things that got them there. They still need beauty, love, redemption and restoration and God's got quite the mighty captive audience to do what he needs to do.
I am not wishing jail or jail visits upon anyone, but if you have a child in addiction, you will most likely be grateful if it happens. You will likely find joy in the calls, the visits, the stories and the mail.
I used to be afraid of the visits, the drive, the process. What God has done to my heart since she's been in jail in nothing short of cool beans. I now email to volunteer as a library helper or a literacy teacher. I now seek out ways to mentor to these hurting. I now pray for the stripes walking by instead of being afraid to make eye contact. I am nothing special, but they are; she is.
I would prefer to not be separated by glass. I would prefer to take my daughter for a coffee or laugh with her at a movie. Right now my job is to love her where she is. My job is to care about those around her. My job is to be here for you, to help you find some light, some laughter in the pain, some beauty in the bars.