December 2, 2012
Sunday, 4:00 p.m.
Letter #253: Who Is That?!
Not to boast, but my day—in fact, my entire weekend—was better than yours! You say you need details? Oh, I’ll provide plenty of those.
So hopefully you weren’t expecting a sad story about life “behind bars” (c’mon people—I’ve told you this prison doesn’t have bars!), because I’ve just been blessed by a visit from Michael, Katie, Michaela (7½), Madison (6), and Kade (2 this month).
I’ve had several visits with my twin and his family since my incarceration, but because I have to visit his kids behind glass, it makes for a tough decision on my part. At Salinas Valley, the non-contact visits were visible from the main visiting room, so for my first year-and-a-half, I asked for no visits from my nieces.
Then I was moved to Soledad, and visits behind glass were private, so I agreed to see them. At Florence, Arizona, the little visiting booths for non-contact visits were away from the regular visit area, so again I felt comfortable to get visits from my nieces without all the guys in the visiting area figuring out what I’m in prison for.
After my transfer here, however, I asked for no further visits with my nieces, due to the poor location of the non-contact booths. A year-and-a-half has gone by, though, and I have really missed them. Children grow up so fast, and though I get letters from them and talk to them on the phone, I knew I was missing so much of their personalities, and Kade—who had only seen me at a few months old—was now old enough to be thoroughly confused by a Daddy look-alike. So, I let Michael and Katie know that I was no longer opposed to a visit from the entire family, including the kids, in the future … not expecting I’d be blessed to see them just a month later!
First, Michael visited me by himself, so we could talk about all the awesome ways God is leading him in ministry. I’m truly blessed to have him as my twin. It is fascinating to have such a clear picture of what my life could have turned out like, and I’m grateful Michael still includes me in his. Of course, all the guys here think we should swap clothes in the visiting room (and yes, some twins have done so), but Katie can tell us apart. 🙁
Katie brought the kids in later, and we had a blast watching little Kade as his daddy brought him into the room on his arm. In family pictures, even if both Michael and I are in it, Kade has identified both of us as “Daddy.”
Unmistakable to him now that I was someone other than his dad, he just stared. And stared.
Michael and Katie kept asking him, “Who’s that?” which didn’t help, since that was the one question he was hoping they’d answer. Eventually, a very long minute later, he smiled and said, “Mark,” which was at least a compliment to my youthfulness and physical fitness … or his confusion, since Uncle Mark is in the military and married. Kade accepted the explanation that I am Uncle Christopher, but we’ll see if it lasts.
I got to take pictures with Michael and Katie the next day and visit with everyone again. I was impressed by how obedient each of the children is, making the visit so sweet. They sang for me—with hand motions, of course!—played games with me, told me about their school days and about the things they can do now.
Madison smuggled in a letter for me one day, so Michaela smuggled one in the next day. My favorite part, however, was when they told me about what they are learning in the Bible. Their dad reads with them every night, and these girls know their Scripture! They explained to me where they are in the book of John and how they refer to Bible commentaries when the meaning is unclear.
I’ve seldom been more challenged to keep studying God’s Word. I was reminded of the children in the temple who saw Jesus perform miracles (Matthew 21:14). They praised God when even the leaders were silent. Thank you, God, for a new generation who loves You!