[Editors Note: Last week’s blog post Thou Shalt Not Kill may have been considered a little “preachy” by some readers, this was not my intention. It was my intention to state my opinions about the cause of the ongoing violence that we continue to see.]
Life behind bars is controlled from the moment you wake up, until the moment you go to sleep. Sure there is some independent time, but the guards are always on the watch. On my unit, which was a very relaxed unit, the cell doors were unlocked from 7:30am until 11:00pm, except for a daily “sleep” period from 1:00pm to 2:00pm. The 24 inmates in that unit were free to be in the common area or in their cells during these times. In the common area we had access to limited television (or movies on the weekend), a weight room, table tennis room, a limited library, and a few games (mainly cards).
When I first was admitted into jail, I couldn’t wait for the morning to arrive, and dreaded the nightly lockup time. In the seven months that I spent there, that changed, and I really began to look forward to lockup time, as it became quiet, and it also meant another day had passed and I was one day closer to going home. Its quite amazing how that happened.
For my first month, I was housed in a double cells, but remarkably I never had a cellmate. At one point we were up to 23 inmates, which mean if one more arrived I would get a cellmate, but it didn’t happen. God was on my side. Our cells were private, we had a full door, not a set of bars, and we each had a key to our own door so we could come and go as we pleased, but could also close it for privacy. There was a small window in the door that the guards could use to look inside (they also had keys). We had full concrete walls (no bars), so once inside my small space, I had privacy, and I enjoyed it.
As I said, at first I spent the time I had to inside my cell. As soon as the door unlocked in the morning I was the first one out, and stayed out until night lockup, except for the one hour sleep time. Those walls felt like they were closing in around me. In June, about 2 months into my sentence, the whole jail was locked down. We didn’t know what was going on, but heard that there was a riot in one of the other units. The riot was squashed pretty quickly but the lockdown remained in place. One day turned into two days, then three and continued. Eventually it was more than five days that we were not let out of our cells, except for 1/2 hour starting on the third day for showers and phone calls.
I was already into my bible studying and reading and found the time was relaxing. Many of the inmates were going crazy as they had nothing to do, but I read my bible and other materials. I spent time with God with no interruption and God spent time with me! I looked forward to being outside my cell again, but I didn’t fear the walls anymore, I found that my private time was my time and I looked forward to it. When the nightly lockdown occurred, I was waiting for it, so that I could get back to my time with God and not be interrupted by the outside noise.
When the next morning would arrive, I would still be one of the first out of my cell, but I knew that I would soon return. There was a lot of negativity in the common area, and spending time with negative people wasn’t good for me. There were others in my unit on similar paths as me, but gradually they would be released and I found myself more and more isolated because I refused to act as other inmates did. My “trucker’s mouth” had been cleaned up and I didn’t want to revert back to it, so avoidance was the best method.
I had “friends” in jail, but some were not on the same path as me, and while I enjoyed their company, and played games, talked, etc, there were many times that I just wanted to be alone, and gradually they realized that I was different.
By the time I was half-way through my sentence I had read through the Bible once, and was already well on my way to reading it a second time. I also read, or attempted to read, many other books and studies. I attempted to read the Quran, and also the Book of Mormon, both of these I failed miserably due to being completely against my philosophies.
Having my quiet time was valuable to me, but also I had other things that I did to keep my mind and body occupied. I’ll detail more of that in my next post.
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Amazing Prophecies: Daniel & Revelation Made Easy
From Daniel: Nebuchadnezzar’s dream, four great beasts and a little horn, the ram and the goat, the Messiah appears. From Revelation: Letters to the seven churches, seven seals opened, seven trumpets, the great red dragon, seven-headed leopard beast, the three angels’ messages, the seven last plagues, the great whore Babylon, victory over Satan, Satan bound for 1,000 years, the New Earth.