immediately after "The Accident"
but before my first court-date,
and still unsure what the future would hold,
I met a man who came to discuss Christ.
It seems that new inmates are the most susceptible
to depression, self-loathing, and hopelessness
upon first becoming incarcerated.
Yet at the same time this is when:
People are most receptive to God.
"When in transitions of life,
or under some strenuous tension
that seems too much to handle on their own.”
‘Smart’, I thought. His coming here now.
To reach people when at their lowest.
But then he told me why He does it...
For many years He seemed to have the perfect life,
but then all of a sudden, it wasn’t.
For twenty-six years he had been married to a wonderful woman.
Had his first child when he was 28.
Then two additional at ages 30 & 32.
But within one year
so did his wife.
It seems he had been a workaholic.
Leaving his family for days at a time on business
or even during ‘vacation’, he would need to ‘plug-in’.
The thing was, he had enjoyed his job.
And his family felt it.
So within two-months after the last child moved out
his wife told him how he had never listened
and never completely given himself to their family.
So she left and filed for divorce.
The kids seemed to side with their mother
because she had been the person
who had held the family together.
Missed opportunities to connect with loved ones
all because the allure of something else was so great.
Substance abuse? Nope.
Some other addictive behavior? Nope.
You would have to ask the family he never saw.
And that’s how he views it, as a criminal offense:
to withhold love, attention, and affection
from the people he swore to give of himself most.
After eighteen months, his ex-wife was re-married.
And for many years, he was all alone.
The kids visit him on father’s day,
but they spend major holidays with their mom.
Are they the neglectful ones now?
Maybe. But that’s not the end of it...
Somehow he connected with a church, and Prison Fellowship.
He saw how he could give to ‘those’ who could never re-pay.
It took a few years for him to get past
the idea of ‘doing penance’ in jails.
Now, he does it because he enjoys it.
And his kids see it too.
Are they healed?
But somehow the pain of their neglect
has helped others through his volunteering.
And healing can begin for everyone
because he was willing to make time for others.