Thursday I visited with Mark at the prison. I try to do that once a month because I don’t ever want him to feel that the church has turned its back on him. Sure he made a mistake… we all have… but we don’t throw him away because he made that mistake. No, we gather together to love, support and care for him in his time of great need. Thanks to all in his relationship circle, family and friends, who continue to send those cards and letters. They mean the world to him and give him the courage he needs every day. You are making a difference. Keep up this good work.
Well, this Thursday was one of those days I believe could only happen to me. The first problem was that I decided to go over the top dressing in DUKE championship apparel to rib Mark – an avid UNC fan. I wore a Championship Tee shirt, a long sleeve white DUKE shirt under that, and a DUKE visor to complete the look. One of the guards was a UNC fan and the other pulled for Kentucky. I was lucky I didn’t get locked up. When they learned that I got my Master of Divinity at DUKE the UNC fan said he would cut me some slack. No quarters from the Kentucky fan… I think it is still the Laettner fall out… love to hate Laettner bunch from Kentucky. Finally the UNC fan – the nice one – said the Duke thing is the least of your problems… there is an even bigger issue.
You see, it was such a nice day outside that I decided to wear sandals. Little did I know that sandals and visiting inmates at Piedmont is a No No. You’ve seen that sign on the door of businesses that reads “No Shirt, No Shoes, No Service.” Well at Piedmont Correctional there should be a sign that reads no open toed shoes – no visit. They said I could not visit Mark. Wow, an hour’s drive, Mark is waiting, and I am standing there talking with the guard about how we can make this visit happen. Do you have any shoes or socks in your car?” No, I don’t think so. “Can you just put duck tape on my toes?” The guard’s strange response was a humorous “No, we can’t go that far.” We talk some more as I ask him if I can improvise with stuff I find in the car? He said “Go try. Come back and the Lieutenant will make a decision.”
I go to the car, look through all the stuff, and find only a box of clothes brought back from a consignment sale. I find a pair of black knit shorts and my little pea brain says… ugh, pockets can cover up toes. I find the pocket knife in the center console and cut out both pockets. Sure did!!!
I walk back to the entrance, go inside, sit down, and put on my pocket-socks and sandals. The Lieutenant comes over and says he will let me in this time – he likes to give the benefit of the doubt to ministers. But, he says, next time wear closed toed shoes. I thanked him and visited with Mark.
I do want to thank these guards for allowing me to visit with Mark even though my attire did not fall within the lines of proper protocol. Mark and I got a good laugh out of this. I am glad we were able to adapt, improvise and complete the mission (old USMC proverb). We got to visit, pray with one another and be the church in action.
Adapt, improvise, be the church… take the love of Christ with you to people in all conditions and circumstances and places.
You will notice at the bottom of the header (above) are a list of my books. I have added the last one so you can order The Grieving Heart in paperback form. All the other books are eBooks. I hope that you will take the opportunity to read these and I hope they will help to bring you comfort and grace in time of need.
Please also take the time to leave a good review with Amazon. After today, these books have been published in the United States, United Kingdom, Canada, and Japan.