Sunday, December 21, 2008

In The Hole

Friday night's Bible study at the local prison provided this tale:

Wyatt, who has spent a total of seven years incarcerated and has never had anything negative put on his record, was transferred from a room with a loud and abusive roommate to a new room, one with four beds. His first week there, one of the guards found a cell phone charger sitting in a public part of the room, and none of the four would claim it. So. Into the hole for seven days went the four of them.

Wyatt had just gotten a day job on the outside, a really good job that paid well and which was going to stake him to some funds for when he is released next year. Being thrown into solitary cost him his job. By his own admission, he spent two days increasingly upset at this injustice: the cell phone wasn't his and the owner wouldn't confess for another several days. As his distress grew in solitary he began to cast about for some explanation for this evil imposition. Why him; why now?? And everything had been going so well up till now! There had been for him a dim light at the end of the tunnel of stupidity and confinement that had been his life to the present time.

They let you have four items of printed matter when you go into solitary. He asked for his two Bibles, his dictionary, and another novel. As he sat stewing, trying to wrap his mind around this present disappointment, he found himself poking around in the book of Proverbs. (I've found that most of these guys, once they've familiarized themselves with the overall scope of scripture, spend an inordinate amount of time reading Proverbs. I think it is just the reassurance and clarity of reading that there is a way of wisdom and a way of being a fool). Somewhere, he ran across the work "meek" in his readings, and suddenly had an urge to better understand what the word meant. He turned to his dictionary and read something like the following definition: "To respond to misfortune with patience and without resentment."

Wyatt told us he then sat back startled and deeply impressed. It was as if God had spoken to him about his present misfortune! It made all of the difference in the rest of his time in solitary confinement. He told me there are heating ducts that connect the cells, and he was able to speak the gospel to the guy in the next cell over the next few days. Amazing tale.

So. Some advice: The next time you get thrown in the hole, be sure you have a Bible and a dictionary with you. You never know when you'll really, really need to know the meaning of a word.

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