September 27, 2012
Thursday, 4:00 p.m.
Letter #244: Timely Decisions
I stayed busy throughout the week, a benefit to living at a facility that gives me a lot of freedom to be involved with or to create programs. It is true that busyness tends to give the illusion that time is flying by. However, I’ve never been a fan of killing time just to make time pass by. That is why I carefully choose what I can and cannot spend time on. Here’s a look at some of my scheduled activities each week:
A few explanations: You don’t see breakfast on the schedule above, due to it happening at 4:00 a.m.; like the other meals, it can take up to 1½ hours to complete, from the time you leave the cell until the time you return. Thus, during mealtimes, as I wait in the dayroom to walk to the dining hall, I always take with me my Day Planner, my Bible, and often the student homework I need to correct. With such lengthy wait times, I find a wall to sit against and spend the time profitably.
Unlocks are available every hour, beginning at 7:00 a.m. every day, while we have mandatory return-to-cell lockdowns (for the purpose of count times) at 10:15 a.m., 3:45 p.m., 7:45 p.m., and 9:45 p.m. I usually do my college studies during these unusually quiet stretches of time, and my afternoons are free for this as well.
The designated library time is when I get to type up my class handouts for the Business class, Public Speaking class (I’m teaching both from college textbooks), and Exit Strategies classes (usually these are one-on-one meetings with inmates). Currently, I have 30 in the Business class, 20 in the Public Speaking class (more on that class in a future letter), 8–10 per month in Exit Strategies classes, and nearly 10 in the Community Choir.
On Friday nights, I offer tutoring for any student who schedules 15 minutes with me at a time (for help with homework assignments). And most important, my quiet time with the Lord is usually at 6:00 a.m. every morning, starting my day off right.
I’m so grateful for God’s favor on my life and His direction in how I spend my days. This schedule gives me time to grow personally as well as time to bless others around me.
This week, the most unlikely guy approached me to tell me he’s been worried about his family. I made him a card to send home and told him I’d pray for them. Thomas—whom everyone else here calls “LowDown”—later came up to me and unloaded all the stress he’s under, especially as he has no drug-free house to parole to in five months. Then, unexpectedly, he said he’ll go to church with me for at least four weeks! On Sunday, Thomas got much hassle and ridicule from guys who saw him go to church with me. Please keep praying for guys like Thomas who have such burdened lives and need to let go, resting in God alone. Thank you!