This is Part 4 of a story I am working on, it is all in extreme ROUGH draft form and needs editing…
Here is part 4:
It was a Tuesday night when Phil fell asleep praying for his son. Being incarcerated made it very hard to keep in touch with his wife let alone extended family but he especially missed communication with his son and all that they shared together. They regularly would encourage each other in their relationship with God and they exchanged Bible verse with each other all the time. With no cell phones allowed he truly cherished hand written letters.
It was a Thursday night just before dinner Chow when the doors to Pod-Z made a disturbing sound. The local jail chaplain stepped into the pod, accompanied by a correctional officer. The Chaplain called out, “Phil?!” Then he recalled his training and cleared his voice shouting out, “Realman, Phil!!!” Many of the men didn’t know his last name. Some of them didn’t even know his first name, they just called or made reference to him as the preacher guy, Jesus Freak or even in some cases ‘holy man’ When they saw who the chaplain was calling they thought how interesting it was, and even in their minds ‘badass’, to have a name like a “Real Man.” Little John smiled and thought of the bumper sticker he had sticking above the door to his house that raved, “Real men love Jesus!” He loved that that was Phil’s last name. He thought about how it was ironic also that Phil was ‘filled’ with the Holy Spirit and understood the same things that he had come to understand when he was much younger but more recently started to develop and grow through their friendship. Pip was like Captain Oblivious many times but knew that if the Chaplain was in the cell block, not just down the long hall where he led services, something was wrong. Did it have to do with the family and Phil’s case or both? We’re they transferring him? Pip’s mind didn’t chase after answers, after all it was almost chow time, he was more interested in what might or might not be for dinner. P.T. recognized the chaplain and had a respect and bond for him although they only met once. He knew men of faith told him they never really saw their religious leader unless they were dieing or in trouble. This didn’t seem good. Although it was good to see the man who he knew offered a positive message and hope this call for Phil must mean something has gone wrong for Phil and his family.
Cell drama with assumptions in each inmates mind mixed with cons throwing in their mentally could really do a number in everyone’s mind, even the staff would take things beyond this compound. The walls were thick and levels like a laberynth but nothing could contain the over tones of real life people dealing with emotions, loss, confusion and delimahs that wold crush the hardest heart regardless of physical and mental capacities.
Phil’s body already ached from sleeping on steel bunks, a thin matress or some times just a mat that made it impossible to find comfort from the cold concrete floors.
Once the chaplain got alone with Phil in the chaplain’s office he took a breath. “Phil…” he began, “You are in on charges for an accident. You didn’t share with me but every once in a while the sheriff shares a file with me…ah, man…” The chaplain struggled, “I…ah, awe man this is always so hard.” Phil’s thoughts began to race and almost get away from him as he tried not to chase after them but just insist on not being moved or set off balance. He thought, ‘chaplain, it can’t get much worse just tell me. Is my sentence longer? Trial date moved? Get on with it!’ Phil’s eyes were fixed. The Chaplain composed himself, “okay, look Phil, there is no easy way to say this…they asked me to tell you, your son was in an accident and has died.” Phil felt the oxygen from the room leave. Disbelief was his first coping skill that kicked in but it was accompanied with an invisible kick to his stomach. The Chaplain continued to speak but Phil felt as if he was under water and could barely hear. “Accidents happen, there ah…I don’t know how this must make you feel and they cannot let you out to go see or attend…ah th..the funeral ah…so…Phil ah…” Phil was numb. It was as if he was in another cell within a cell.”Phil, Phil?….PHIL?!” He finally snapped out of it. “Can I see for myself, can I please see my son and…ugh…I’m gonna be sick.” The chaplain moved a trash can closer to catch Phil’s dry heaves. Nothing would come up. “Phil, they told me you can not be released. I asked. You are in on charges that won’t allow you…” “I know what I am in for. I know The real reason I am here. I know The law is not always right and fair but is there ANYWAY I CAN PLEASE JUST EVEN UNDER ESCORT?!!! I WANNA KNOW MORE, I WANT TO KNOW DETAILS. DID YOU SAY CAR ACCIDENT OR JUST AN ACCIDENT, WAS HE DRIVING? DID SOMEONE HIT HIM LIKE I HIT SOMEONE? I KNOW ACCIDENTS HAPPEN BUT I WA,A KNOW, I NEEEED Ta’ KNOW! I WA….” Phil’s voice decended with his heart. He couldn’t get out any more words. He knew what it was like to be in an auto accident. He knew what it was like to be hit and even knew what it felt like to hit someone else and take their life. This out weighed any anguish he had ever encountered before. The volume of everything around him was turned almost to mute but instead carried an awful mumbled and murmur. He could no longer sit up in the chair, he went to his knees, the to his side and laid in a fetile position. The Chaplain couldn’t offer anything more. Time stood still and yet was rushed to get back to the hell hole he was trapped in against all real justice, against what was really right and fair. Although overwhelmed with his own grief he thought about how his former in-laws loss their son, how he was responsible for that loose. Fate was so strange. ‘ Am i being punished? ‘, The fleeting thought darted through his mind. Sanity returned, ‘God doesn’t work that way.’ However, reality of what he was just told about his son was far, far away.
Phil could not recall how the meeting with the chaplain ended, there was a prayer but all he could recalled was the fact that he could not see his son again. Even if he were able to get out of jail he wouldn’t see his son alive again. He didn’t recall the escort back to Pod – Z. He manuvered on some type of automatic piolet, made his way past those eating chow and straight to his bunk which was a few feet from a table of six men slopping down whatever grub they could. He buried his face in his pillow. This was the first time he had let his guard completely down. ‘They could really beat me now…weak, in pain already, not looking, not ready to defend, they could beat me to death right now and I would not, could not and can not fight back…’ were his thought, ‘then again, if I’m messed with right now I pity the fool because if stirred I am sure I would bubble over right now and end up taking my anger and frustration out on…’ A big hand came down forcefully but with no threat on his shoulder interupting his thoughts. Normally he would grab the wrist and forearm and pop into an arm bar submission but his body laid limp. It was Lil’John. His deep voice said, “Don’t need to know what they told ya but know if it was the Chaplain, it probably wasn’t good news in this case.” Phil tried to breath in, face still smothered in his pillow. He turned his back and went into a fetal position once again. “Let’s just not talk right now John.” Phil managed to get the words out. Lil’John said nothing just patted his friends shoulder as if to nonverbally assure him, ‘I’m here and o.k, no words just now.’
No one got a trey for Phil. Someone probably ate his share. He thought and smerked. ‘Couldn’t eat anyway.’ His stomach told him this. He laid in bed as if he had a flu that effected every part of him. Even the coldest, hardest con allowed Phil time to overcome whatever news he got. His ears were still not as sharp. Normally he’d over hear inmates talking and sort through the gossip, opinions and what to consider as truth and trust worthy statements. He was just too destressed to allow his mind to filter anything. Everything was a muddled mess. Some where between complete denial and trying to proceed and process this season of Jail and death of his only Son he still held his faith that his son, a true believer was in a far better place. He thought of his son’s teen years, in and out of jail, in and out of the hospital and in and out if his own cells of past drug addiction and corrupt crowds who fed off of everyone and anyone who were just a means to get more mind numbing drugs. About two years ago the prayers for his son were answered. When he finally stopped listening to drug Lord’s and allowing drugs to be his master life gained the difference between darkness and light. His son was living proof of what happens when one acknowledged God and let Him be their God. Amazing how God allows us freedom and although our own little cell seems comfortable and manageable we don’t find peace until we get into a healthy one on one relationship with our creator. ‘My son has met his maker’, the thought didn’t bring comfort. He thought back to things his son shared. He recalled how his child was always his child, in good and bad times. He tried to focus on how pleased he was when his child was obedient. He held love for his son when he was disobedience but cherished the times when he was an obedient child -regardless it was his son and no matter what laws or terms he may have broken currently or in his tainted past the Father child relationship would endure. Phil knew he had to allow himself time to grieve but also felt guilty he wasn’t happy. He knew his son beat him to heaven and was now where there is no more tears but he couldn’t help but be angry, feel cheated, and robbed. By this time he was so far toward the wall on his bunk and covered with his sheet, blanket and pillow covering his head it was almost as if he were not there. He lost all concept of time.
A new man on the bottom bunk saw the chaplain take Phil out, saw Phil return but lost track of where he went after lights out that night. It wasn’t time for breakfast yet and many men were still sleeping. The man spoke, not even to Phil directly but just into the air, “I lost a son and daughter at the same time, not too long ago. They were real young, just babies. My wife’s dad died when she was 3, her mom when she was a teen. She was engaged before me. Her fiance was murdered out in front of their apartment. I know loss. I didn’t talk for a while. If your up there and ya don’t wanna talk I understand.” The bunk mate shot his voice upward toward where he thought Phil may be. If not this was a good rehearsal for offering his condolences for later. The man on the rack below began to cry but forced the words out, “I…I know how..har…hard…this must be..I…I don’t, don’t kn..know the ah…ne…news ya got but we all know the chaplain’s department officiate ah…deaths of loved ones and newssss..of…of th..th..the after life. I know if you don’t wanna talk or your mad or..ah’whateve’ ya going through, it is the most confusing um..thing, time, and…” He searched for words, composed himself and finished saying, “I, ah, can i asked you…was it your son?” Phil injected, “It was.” The bunk mate was relieved to know he wasn’t just speaking to the air. “Oh, I am so sorry. Your last man is Realman right?” Phil just mumbled, “yeah, Phil.” “I am Guy, Guy Johnson.” Phil got out, “nice to meet you Guy…I really can’t tal…” Guy interupted, “I knew your son, Stone Realman.” Phil sat up, rolled over toward the edge of his bed and extended a hand. Guy reached up and they shook, both hands strong and full of power. Phil took the first deep breath since he got the news, then another one and his body shivered as he let it out. “You kn..knew’wwwwhim, my son Stone?”, Phil enquired. “I did.” Phil brought his body as close to the edge as possible but wasn’t about to get up.”I knew him before he got saved and after that.”, Guy offered Phil knew what that man meant,”B.C.” ( before Christ ) and after his son entered into a new lifestyle in Christ. “We did drugs together, sad to say, but then I saw him a year later. He showed up back on the street. We use to stay in this pay by the hour or pay by the weeks sleezy motel. When I saw him I thought he was there it share a fix but nope, no dope.”, Guy explained, “He was with this group of people set up in the parking lot. I mean, he was with them but kinda separate. They were passing out free water from some type of emergency looking truck, had sirens on da’ roof, somea’ them stayed on the truck thing but not Stone. He came over to me after walking around the outside of the crowd. He remembered my name and nonjudgmentally said, ‘hey guy, be sure to get some water, it’s free!’ He knew we both would drink from the sink or pick somethin’ up with our own five finger discount but all our money went to drugs, even if it meant sleeping in an abandoned car. I expected him to go on and tell me how he obviously got clean and insist that I do the same…he didn’t. He just offered an unconditional resource, plan and simple, water.” Phil began to smile remembering a street ministry his son enjoyed participating in. He heard his son, ‘it’s not up to me to determine who may be a lost cause, that’s God’s job.’ His son would fake an Hispanic accent, ‘that’s not my ‘sjobmain!, we got a lot a chit to do, but that not my ‘shobmain!” He wisely told his dad they all knew where rehab was. They all knew it was available but they enjoyed what they thought was freedom and admitting there was a problem was ridiculous because the high they shared out weighed the consequences at the time. ‘We all saw friends die but we’d go back and use more cause it helped us not think about it and face reality.’ After Stone got cleaned up it was far beyond some 12 steps or meetings for people trying to stay on a right path. For Stone it was all about his heart, mind and body being changed from the inside. He had demons and natural desires that were cast out and The Holy Spirit move in. He was the first to admit that he couldn’t explain it other than he tried God’s way rather than his own same way of doing things and He (God) made the difference, not just some agency, corporation, program or another human being. God alone. Not just some higher power but The Uncreated Creator. Phil felt comfort to know that of all places and people he had come across here and now, on the bunk just below him, was a life that his son had reached. Guy went on as Phil listened, “Your son, he came to me and without any words or a list of conditions offered hope for a better life.” “Did ya take it”, Phil asked. “Nope, that is how I ended up here!” Guy kinda tried to laugh but couldn’t get it out right, “well..not really but this is it for me now, I’m sick of being sick. I’m ready now and I know to thank God it’s not too late.” Phil nodded, “Good, Guy. I’m in no shape to offer suggestions but you can figure it out and will perhaps never be the same.” Guy admitted to accepting Christ when he was 11 at a summer camp but felt he was always barganing with God. Phil offered, “yeah, that doesn’t work, us still trying to be in control.” P.T. and Lil’John approached the bunks. Phil introduced them to Guy, “He knew my son.” Lil John didn’t need to ask now who the chaplain’s notification was about. P.T. still didn’t know but recalled how Phil and Lil’John said that was a changed life through a father’s love, care and prayers. Phil’s eyes were swollen and face as sobern as ever. P.T. thought, ‘ this isn’t the same man.’ As Guy shared a little more with the three men they all noted Phil was able to eventually sit up and hoped to all sit together at breakfast. The t.v. blasted morning news of terrorism, followed by commercials for funeral homes and life insurance. Normally Phil would be uneffected by all this but now things were different. Just as when a son if born it changes your life, so also the death of a son so also changes your life, forever.
“CHOW, BREAKFAST TIME!”, came the cold indifferent shout. Phil had trouble moving through the line he did consider it a blessing that his new friends could surround him at the table where they ate. Phil’s mind swam through thoughts and they came out if his mouth, “His mom remarried…he tried to do the math…around the year 2000…she remarried, so did i, before her. Ugh….” He tried to breath but didn’t even attempt to eat, just broke the hard shell covering the grits trying to move and mix the small pool of yellow grease on top. “It was her new husband I hit with my car. He was jogging. I didn’t even know it was him, I really didn’t. I had no animosity toward him. He was becoming my son’s step dad over the years. How is she dealing with so much loose at one time? I took her husband, someone else took our son? Man! Is this even truly happening? How much more could happen at one time?” Phil realized he was rambling out loud. Lil’John said, “It’s okay brother. Let it out.” “My new wife was a good step mom, I wonder if she knows.” P.T. tried to offer help, “Family can be so good.” P.T. knew when he was able to get out of jail and share his new faith in Christ his family would disown him but things were different for Phil and his family ties. Pip joined the table but focused on putting as much salt, sugar and ketchup on his grits, eggs and undone hash Browns as possible. “Pip.”, Lil’John addressed him, “dround it all you want, it’s all going to the same place.” Pip inhaled some of it and left the table to get more condiments, taking his trey with him. P.T. asked, “Does the sugar help the taste?” Phil thought, ‘nothing could help right now, even if it was a good stake and eggs, he had no appetite. ” He ate a banana and drank the coffee. Even that was just to get something in his stomach.
Lil’John sang the theme song from the t.v. show “Cops” as the t.v. echoed in the back ground, ‘bad boys, bad boys, whatcha’ gonna do when they come fo’ youuuuu….sheriff jonbrown’ come fo’ you”, he repeated and chuckled. This brought Phil some levity. With his whole body just aching Phil couldn’t jump into the normal work out but did jump into his journal. Lil’John worked with P.T. and Guy joined them. A few other men worked their arms neglecting their legs. Phil found himself in another kind of containment. It was one thing to be in jail, another thing to lose a son. No doubt the later was far worse.
That night Phil’s former cell mates, minus Mike, came to Phil’s bunk. “We heard about your son homie.” Phil was shocked how news traveled in here, ‘How and what did they really know?’ He thought as they made an offer they felt would bring him relief. “We can get you some hard stuff to get you through this hard stuff.” Phil chuckled, ” ha, hooch?!” They laughed too. “No, no poppie. Hee Hee we don’t brew that no more, you were right the price was too much for that. To easy to get caught out here too homes. Nah, we gots’ some real stuff. Mike working on gettin’thru’ guards dat’ do the shoe. They crazy mad dirty in gettin’ chit that real and hard. Guarunteeeeeet’ to get you fuggedup’ homes!” Phil smiled for the first time since he got the news, “Again men, the rents too high. I’m not about to take anything that offers a quick, temporary and false high when I know in time I’ll get one that is real, supernatural and will actually help.” They were confused. Then one of them looked at the other and said, “Jesus.” The other one only heard that name used in vein but knew Phil tapped into this man Jesus some how and began to pray in his own way.”okay then homes, you keepin’ it real. God and da’ virgin Mary bless you bra’ and I’m sorry abou’ yer’son senior, truly I yam’.” There were really sincere in the only way they knew how. The one crossed himself and the other tried to remember how to as they walked away with their heads bowed in respect.
Another offer came with plans to escape. Again Phil said, “Thank you but no thank you. It is not worth the risk. I’d rather do my time and not give them any reason to give me more time. The system, just like us, is flaude. It is bad enough doing time for something I am accused of, an accident that took a life. I don’t need to to put my life or others in harms way.” They thought he was crazy, they said he didn’t deserve to be in there with them and if it were them they’ve get out. They even went as far as questioning how good of a father he was but Phil knew they were not worthy to judge his character as a father amd this season was unavoidable. The trial would determine more, the length, the penalty but for now he knew it was a waiting game. He was not in control of what may come. The only thing he could control was his own integrity and even that called for Phil’s full reliability on God.You can’t change the past, you can’t contain the present and althought he did know what the future held he knew who held the future. Talk of a take over still raised its ignorant head and some on the cons were even using Phil’s new dilemma to fan the falmes. They argued, ‘This place, these Cops, can’t keep this man from his son’s funeral’ In reality they not only can they would regardless of the circumstances.
Chaos Has A New Name
Jason entered Pod-Z. All eyes went toward him. Most hearts knew trouble accompanied him yet he was alone. His posse was moved to a different block. ‘Has it been 30 days?’ Phil’s internal alarms went off along with some misguided anger. He prayed, ‘Lord, help me not release my frustrations on him no matter what he tries.’ Jason approached Phil slowly. ‘Surly this isn’t about to happen’ , He thought. His body tensed slightly and his mind went back to prayer as well as actions he could take if needed. Jason held his hands out and up as he opened his mouth, “you got to me brother. YOOUUU GOT TO MEEEeee.” His eyes were glazed over but fixed on Phil and he bore a creepy smile. He sounded like a televangelist. Phil said, “that’s close enough.” Jason stopped, “nah, I’m not tryin’ nothin’ broootherah’ I’m not the saaaame. I BEEN…SAAAAVED!” Phil didn’t buy it. Jason knelt down. “I got JEsus but not like jail house JEeesus bull shit, somethings going on in me. You been talkin’ to Him about me and He’s fixin’ me up broooth’er’ ahhh huh. So now Heee’s talkin to me Aaall da’ time! You STILL PRAYIN’ FO ME BROOOooother?” Phil smerked, “yeah, a bit but been a lot going on since you left. Welcome back.” Jason said, “I just…I don’t know, I’m CHANGING man…I’m startin’ to understand some things.” Words are cheep thought Phil. He stoped with the funny religious accent and then it was almost as if Jason knew, “I’ll SHOW you more than tell you, and others. ALL YA’LL. I’LL SHOW AND TELLS’ YA’. I’m ready to take a beating for all the bad stuff I’ve done, pay for the past.” Phil repeated what he heard the Holy Spirit tell him, “God doesn’t work like that. You pay for mistakes, consequences yes but if you don’t dish out a fight you won’t…” Phil stopped and remembered where he was. Sometimes ya get beat by ignorant men, it rains on the just and unjust. He thought back to Jason and his crew running rampant on him unjustly. He thought about his time here in jail against all that was right and fair. He had no words and knew he was in no condition to make any sense. His foundation was secure but the upper parts were worn out, weathered. He tried to go on, “The way of life, this environment, needs change. I hope you are part of that now and tomorrow and the next day.” Jason said, “I really do have a change if heart and mind. I know that sounds like a wuss but man brother I am really different but I know, you’ll.believe it when we see it.” Phil nodded and silently prayed, ‘Lord, help my unbelief but also help me not be gullible.’ Jason got up and danced more than walked away.
Nights seemed to be harder in jail than any other time, especially for Phil, especially now with trying to accept the reality that his son was dead. The thought of Jason returning to the pod and possibly trying to suckered punch and beat him while trying to sleep was of no consern when measured against the grief he now tried to find. ‘Lord, give me peace, rest and sleep.’ Part of Phil still feared not just being acousted but how he may react with this new anger building up within him. Again, he prayed, ‘Holy Spirit fill me, cast out my own selfish desires to beat every man who I see as a punk. You accepted me in my ignorance, you accept the punks. Help me see them the way you do. Forgive me as I forgive them, they don’t know what they are doing. Help me to not be a bully, trying to be I’m control. Help me Father, to be like your son. Take over my mind, body and spirit. Take me Lord. May your will be done. I don’t understand your ways, your thoughts, your plans but I trust you. You are Holy. You rule heaven and earth. Your will be done. I pray for your kingdom, heaven, to come soon. Rescue us, all of us. May your will be done, followed, completed here with us. Thank you for giving daily bread both spiritually and physically for our soul and body. Forgive me…forgive me for things I’ve done knowing and unknowingly…ah Lord I forgive the man who hit and k…killed my son…t…t..taking his life. We all mess up Lord. Lead me Lord, not into doing the wrong thing but into doing what you want and desire. Deliver me, deliver me from this evil place, space, time….Lord, hear my prayers, my plea…” Phil knew when he started to feel anxiety he was praying wrong. He continued silently, ‘Lord, read my mind as I cast my care upon you because you care for me…’ He let his mind fire rapidly over family members, friends, the jail staff, inmates and cons. He began to feel peace as he lifted others up and trusted his sovereign God to take over and read his mind rather than try and formulate a prayer.
That night Jason woke Phil. Phil was able to grab an arm and force his other hand into Jason’s throat. Jason reared back and Guy on the bottom bunk grab his legs. With an initial jab to the wind pipe Jason couldn’t talk. His eyes bulged. Phil whispered, “Just go away, now.” Phil released him. Jason said, “I’m just coming to tell you I ain’t gonna mess with you.” Phil said, “Just stay away.” Phil had nothing more to say. This was life in the jungle, two different sets of rules, those the staff enforcement and those the cons enforce and for Phil the principles of Christ out weighed all else.To keep life in balance and stay true to Christ he didn’t ignorantly leave behind his own safety and trust those who would burn him alive but found he had to keep his distance and treat everyone out of love, however, at the same time not be pulled into participating in their criminal activity. In the world but not part of it. He’d eat with them but, as already experienced, he had to hold onto his sixth’s sense, his common sense.
Before Phil could get back to sleep he had to breath. His limbs were shaking from the fight or flight adenaline and all natural defense meconizums surging through his body. He asked The Lord if he had been too hasty. His mind recalled the many times he was beaten in his sleep before and was not able to do anything about it. He recalled how Jesus and his followers were beaten because of their beliefs. The beatings he under went were not because of his belief, they were just savages trying to express their control. He was not the aggressor before just the defendor. He was just preserving himself, his body from harm. This was unlike The Apostle Peter cutting of a man’s ear to keep Jesus from going to the cross…or was it. The Holy Spirit brought comfort and rest to Phil. Defend but don’t defy, the words came to him. He was able to drift off on the very edge of sleep. He had to live on the edge but not fall off of it into the same pit that so many of theses men were on, regardless of how close he was to that slope. He’d see Jason and people like him again tomorrow.
As the sun began to rise outside the county jail the prisons jumped to the loud rage of a voice,
“I CAN DO ALL THINGS, I WILL FIGHT ANY ONE OF YOU NOW AND BE MORE THAN A CONQUER! “
Jason was standing up on the rail of the second tear with one hand on the wall to keep his balance. Before the guards could rush in a man from the top corner cell came out, giving the loud mouth a shove. Jason lost his balance and fell back on to the balcony. Another inmate darted out with a kick while he was down, sending Jason’s body out, under and between the bottom rail rungs. He fell to the floor below. Everyone was shocked and gasped at the impact. Guards and finally some medics raced in, Phil obeyed the command, “EVERYONE TO THEIR OWN BUNK!!!” Some men just fell to the floor where they were and spread eagle. From his top bunk Phil saw Jason’s body. He couldn’t tell if he was breathing but his moans of pain informed him that he had survived the fall. Everybody heard his words, “I can do all things and I’ll fight anybody in here and be more than a conquer.” Phil thought of the two verses Jason took out of context, where they were found and the correct interpretation, ‘it’s I can do all things THROUGH CHRIST who GIVES me strength…and… we are more than conquers in HIM…’ He clarified, “Not of our own strength Lord, it’s all about you.”, He said out loud softly as one of the guards aimed the pepper ball gun at him then scanned the room for trouble. ‘Where are the dogs?’ He thought briefly. Just then he heard barking coming down the hall cutting through the closed the pod door. Phil’s eyes shifted to the few side cells yhat he knew contained the band of cons planning a mutany. He prayed, ‘Please Lord, not not. GOD OF PEACE PLEASE OVERPOWER THIS PLACE AS YOU HAVE BEFORE, speak calmness and sanity to them.‘ The pod door opened again and three dogs with their handelers entered. If a riot were to break out this gave the county jail staff several more teeth to their advantage. The medics slid Jason onto a back board and he ‘shreeeeeeked’ in pain mixed with using Christ name in vein, “I’m a child of the most high god, you all can’t hurt meYOOOWCH, COME ON THAT HURTS.” Jason had hurt himself. The devil had fooled the man, tricked him into thinking he had The Holy Spirit and was sharing the same heavenly Father as Christ when in reality the Father of lies was still his master. As the guards made sure the medics could remove Jason they backed out of the pod as well, “No one move until the door closes!” The dogs made sure their presence was made known clearly with furious barks that rocked everyone down to their core. The door opened to let the staff and crew out and slammed shut. It was over. Phil though, it’s sad how the Holy Bible could be used against people or for evil rather than used accurately for the One true God.’ Jason, a.k.a Chaos was a ruthless confused young man that could change but only if he truly surrendered his own selfish desire and seeked Christ ‘s true basic instructions before leaving earth. Whatever teaching he may have picked up obviously didn’t line up with the guidance and care given in the Bible. Jason was gone again. The two men involved with the Jason insident were haller out as well but it wasn’t until that night when Office Smith came into the pod, took them, and moved Phil and Guy into their vacant beds. Smith said, “True to his word the sheriff ain’t tolerating misbehavior so those two men that allegedly threw Coty off the balcony will be sent to the tents after solitary confinement.” This gave Phil and Guy a place to sleep, shower, shave and take care of their personal hygiene without trying to strick a deal with those who had side cells. It also gave then a place to hold their own Bible study. The two cell mates couldn’t believe what happen and said they knew their former room mates were on the edge but jumped into taking advantage of Jason’s call out before they even knew what happen. “We heard the yell, was right there.”, the tall thin one pointed as if Phil and Guy didn’t already know. “Then…”, the shorter but even thinner cellie continued, “James knocked him down and Jonny ran up and punted him right off!” It was like reliving it again. “Chaos thought he could rule the world, wasn’t even supos’ to be up here. He was as a commoner, like ya’ll. By the way, I’m Knowell.” Phil and Guy bumped his extended fist. “And I’m Trevor. ” The other extended the same gesture, “welcome to our cell, I mean the cell…we don’t let a whole lotta ‘ people in but at the risk of a poor guy shitting hit pants we lettem’ poo or take a quick pee if they clean it when they’done. A few are allowed showers, we’ll show you who we trust, don’t want trouble, ding done flashes or worse. This my 15th stay , we’ll 6th in this county lock up n’ I ain’t been raped yet!” Guy chuckled, “Good to know bro.” Phil thought this would be a good time to ask, “what about visitors, just small group, two guys, Bible study, prayer, nothin’ over the top, just me Lil’John and the Indian guy, P.T. You cool with that?” Knowell said, “oh yeah Lil’John gets what ever he wants. If things go down we want him on our side!” Trevor asked, “Indian guy?” Knowell cluded him in, “ya know da’ real dark dark guy that’s not black. Has the strong accent, he say, ‘barry barry good barrys on dis’ blue berry pie?” They laughed. Phil laughed. Guy smiled and said, “that’s him! Nice guy no trouble, no threat.” Trevor added, “yeah but no help if a fight broke out.” Phil had to mention, “you be surprised at his reflex and ability to defend what is right.” They nodded and agreed but said, “But no Holy rollers or slippers like that guy that took the plundge.” “Nope, just stable brothers.”, Said Phil. Guy added, “almost like real family. ” They were all on the same wave length. Guy winked at Phil without a word. They knew they just secured a place to bathe in God’s word and began praying for their two new potential family members. “Oh, by the way,” Knowell spoke up, “sorry about your ah..that ah… friend…?” Phil questioned him, “Jason? Not a friend, more of a foe and definitely a wolf trying to dress like a sheep.” Trevor said, “good we didn’t want him hurt but didn’t want J. around either.” Knowell injected , “He needed to go, not like that but, agh!” Phil looked down at his journal and said, “I believe God is big enough to even use what some mean as evil to accomplish some good good things.” Trevor did another improvisation of his Indian accent, “Barry barry goooood.” They all let out a laugh. Knowell said, “we won’t see chaos again but if we do I think we should give him a new name.” They all ran over potential names in their heads but at the same time thought it best to just let it go.
BIBLES UNDER EVERY BUNK
Phil slept better in this cell than he had ever slept before, even in solitary confinement. Breakfast tasted a little better and he was happy to announce to Lil’John and P.T. they were welcome to use the shower and toilet in his cell. P.T. reminded him, “we have our own, no problems there. Lil’John laughed, ” I been using that one there with Trev’ n’ Knowell before I even had my own!” Phil said, “yeah, they like you! We also wanna do a Bible study in our cell, I got some good material from a guy on the radio, “Chip Ingram and Living on the Edge.” Lil John perked up, “I get that material mailed to me too. You got a good one, recently one, n’ da one on Jesus, like a biography or autobiography usin’ da’ book a’ John.” Phil said, ” They are all good!” P.T. asked, “Better than Chapel service?” Phil and Lil’John exchanged looks. Guy spoke up, “ya neve’ know whatcha’ gonna get with Chapel.” Lil’John spoke around the food in his mouth, “like a bo’chk a’ shocolate!” A piece of grits popped out landing on P.T’s shoulder. Phil said, “we’re not limited on time too.” “Doin’ time! Makein’ da’ best of it!” Guy proclaimed as he went for a high five from P.T. who went for it using the opportunity to brush the food particular off.
Sometime after breakfast was digested but before lunch Phil check with Travor and Knowell on having Lil’John and P.T. visit. Knowell spoke first, “ok but I ain’t giving up my bunk.” “Of course not.” Phil assured him. Trevor said, “can I participate? I mean I know ya’ll do Bible stuff but hell, I don’t know much about all that but it’ll help pass the time and give me somthin’ ta’ do.” Phil not wanting to show his over enthusiasm too much said, “sure, I got stuff.” And so it was set. Phil gave Lil’John and P.T. the high sign from the stairs to come on up.
Each grabbed a spot on a bunk with the exception of leaving Knowell’s entire bunk for just him and Lil’John stood in the doorway. It was almost as if they were smuggling something as Guy and Phil pulled their Bibles out from under their bunks. Much to everyones surprize Trevor pulled one out from under his and so did Knowell. Phil pulled out some letters he got and Lil’John had his in his hand, the same most recent material from Living On The Edge sent to inmates all around. Phil prayed, with eyes open asking, in a very few words, God’s blessing then handed one of the sheets to Trevor. P.T. didn’t have time to bow by the time the prayer was over and Trevor automatically began reading out loud what he was handed, “• Love is patient, love is kind … 1 Corinthians 13:4a • When you are hurt, wounded, rejected, or ignored, love “absorbs the blow (pillow) and returns a hug (kindness).” Trevor read remarkably well and they were all pleased. He paused and they all chewed on that but sat without adding anything just…pondering it. He waited, considering any input. After a few seconds he went on, “ : Love does not envy, it does not boast, it is not rude, it is not self-seeking,it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. 1 Corinthians 13:4b-5.”, Another grand pause. All six heads bobbed and Knowell sat up, “This is good!” P.T. noticed his new aquatance really taking it in, no longer just soaking in the comfort and control of being in his own cell and own bed but joining them. P.T. raised his pencil to speak. Phil called on hIm, ” P.T.?” He spoke up with his strong Indian accent that they all were amused to hear but didn’t mock, “It seems like men can get into the word of God.”, He held up his Bible, “But what men need to do is let the word of God get into them.” It was profound and true. They all nodded and shared a mutual, ‘amen!’ Trevor read on, “• Love celebrates our differences! Love refuses to compare upward (envy) or downward (arrogance) 1 Corinthians 12:12-31 • Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails. 1 Corinthians 13:6-8a”. Phil spoke up, “I know this sounds impossible, how can anyone one on the out side of jail or especially in here live with this kind of love? We don’t see it, do we?” Phil waited for a reply. Guy said, “well, we tend to follow examples that are set for us so when our daddys act a certain way or those we are around set an example on how to live life we tend to think, that’s the way to live.” Lil John agreed, “yeah there is a way that seems right to a man but only brings him death.” Phil picked up those thoughts, “When I decided to not just get into the Holy Bible but let God’s Holy Spirit into my life I wanted to see others applying this lifestyle. I saw Jesus in a few people. I mean I saw this love in how they lived and dealt with each other and with situations but I wanted to see it more and more. I finally has to focus on my relationship with God and allow Him to help me show others what He was like through me and not be so conserned with what I saw in others.” They were all taking in what God was saying. Time seemed to stand still and nothing else mattered. After a few seconds of no one saying anything Trevor read some more, “• Love responds to failure with truth and grace. Truthful and grace-filled love chooses to A. ‘Blank all things’– to cover, not bury or deny.” They all looked to their Bibles for answeres. Phil read 1 Corinthians 13:6-8 again, “so what goes in that blank, love ‘blanks’ all thing?” P.T. offered, “It is patient. So love endures all things?” Guy agreed, “year bares or puts up with.” Lil’John addrd, “long suffering! ” Each man wrote from his heart, filling in the blank and more words in the margin. Phil askek Trevor to read on, “B. ‘blanks all things’ – believes the best, but is not naïve.” Knowell said, “I’m putting the words, gives the beniifit of doubt in all things in my blank.” Trevor said two words, “Is fair.” Phil encouraged them, “yeah, good. Think things through. Love is kind, fair and hopes for the best, expects the best but it true to reality. Each situation or season we come to in life we can rely on God’s faithful love but know that the world may let us down. People will let us down but God’s love will help us through. Knowell read verse 7 from 1st Corinthians chapter 13, you got the King James version I think.” Knowell turned pail, the blood left his face. Guy noticed Phil was speaking a foreign language to Knowell. “I got it too…” Guy rescued Knowell who was so relieved, “It’s talking about real love here, it says, ‘Beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things. 1 Corinthians 13:7 KJ” Phil said, “This gets us back on track. Don’t just try to fill in blanks on a worsheet, think about how this can really be applied to your life, our lives, even in here. Please, read on Trevor.” “C. __________’all things’ – hopes in God’s sovereign power and promises, not the person’s ability to change. D._________’all things’ – actively tolerates and stands with a person through adversity and failure, but is not enmeshed or co-dependent.” , Trevor stopped there, “That takes us back to the start if how love carries on, endures, deals with things, doesn’t try n’ bury or denied anything.” Knowell thought of his 12 step A.A. meetings and The Big book. ‘THIS could real, really help me stay sober.’ ,Trevor read the last part, “The Result: “LOVE never fails!” – because God is ABSOLUTELY SOVEREIGN!” He even read the last few footnotes on the page, ” Romans 8:28, Genesis 50:20 Reference – God: As He Longs For You To See Him, pp.77-99, Chip Ingram.” Phil addressed the men, “I didn’t always know what SOVEREIGN ment…God is sovereign…but especially now, you know, I am now just beginning to fully understanding it. I have to remind myself Sovereign means, in control of everything, everything. He reigns, rules, over it all, the good, the bad, the beautiful and the ugly. He is all powerful, all knowing, all present…” Lil John thought of the different names for Jahovah trying to describe Him. Phil went into a heart felt prayer, “Lord, you are our creator but you are also our father…You, You..” He gasped for air and finally closed his eyes and lifted his head toward heaven, “You are a good, good father….” He began to weap. Guy waited a few seconds then stood and put his hand on Phil’s shoulder. Phil got up off the to bunk. Then P.T. stood, Lil’John moved in. Knowell got down off his bed and stood and Trevor stood also. They joined in a football type huddle. Guy took the lead, “I believe we all have a God shaped hole in our hearts. I heard a lady named Joyce Myers say that one time and that is when I realized that is what was missing in my life, God.” Guy didn’t know if Knowell and Trevor knew Phil’s son died recently but he wanted to be sure they knew and understood what really matters when it comes to the after life. “When we are lil’ kids we learn to put the right shapes in the right holes. When we grow up into men sometimes we forget we need to still to do that.” He wanted to say more but couldn’t. It was as if God was speaking directly to each man, just between Him and them in the way that only He could. This was new to Knowell and Trevor. It was still fairly new to P.T. Guy recalled this same experience that was more than an emotions and more than a feeling. Lil’John and Phil steeped in it like a tea in hot water, those oh so good moments with God they searched for and made time for every day, every hour, through good and bad times. The six men began to hear the clancing of the pod door, squeak of the chow cart wheels and the noise level of all the residents rise just before the loud call, “CH….DINNER, CHOW TIME.” They thanked God for their daily bread both Spiritually and physically as they made their way out of the cell and down the stairs, back into reality of push, shove and guard your tattered tots or go hungry.