Sunday, March 10, 2013

Old Man Nick

I know most of what I've imagined about prison is exaggerated, sensationalized.

But I also know that some of it isn't. Some of it's the kind of real that finds me sitting earring-less across from my oldest "son", listening to things that make me want to press my cheek down against the cool plastic table in front of me and close my eyes for a while.

He's always trying to "phrase things delicately" even though I keep telling him I'm not the delicate kind. I can take it. Just tell me what you mean. Tell me what you're trying to say. Tell me the truth and I'll be fine.

I am. I'm fine. Even though some of the things he says confirm the fears that had me crying for days when they sent him down. This isn't kid stuff. It never was. But he is. He's a very tall child with a wounded heart and a soul that astounds me. He's strong and he's learned how to spit nails from the best, so of course they like him in there. He knows how they play and besides, what's not to like about him?

I have trouble separating the "ins" from "the outs". I need some guarantees from the kid in the jumpsuit. I need some guarantees from God.

He has one for me.

I ask him if anyone in there walks with God. "Just my bunkie. He's the only one I know. He's so cool, man. He's old. We talk about God all the time. We read the Bible together." 

Know what I said?


I said it twice. And he laughed with his mouth wide open because that's just what he does.

God answered my prayer in Old Man Nick. (age 41, incidentally. *clears throat*)

So the thugs are present and accounted for. The gang-bangers do their fool work from the inside. Robert plays cards with some, leaves others alone. He eats with them, watches television with them, and I guess that's alright with me. It sounds like they're a hard lot to avoid.

It's okay, because what I prayed for was one man. I prayed for someone older and wiser. I prayed for a single soul who could in some small way shepherd our boy along during the 23.5 hours a day that we aren't talking to him on the phone.

God sent this person in the form of a criminal with a tattooed stomach who lives with Robert behind a locked door. He couldn't be any closer.

I've been praying lately for God to show me who He is and how He loves me.

This is who He is.

This is how He loves me.