June 9, 2013
Sunday, 7:00 p.m.
Letter #281: Party, Party!
Happy Birthday to Me! I love birthdays and especially mine. Prison or not, I’m celebrating! Since I was able to throw a party last year, I decided to try it again this year.
First, I was able to switch the schedule around so the Business Class had the use of the multi-purpose room on my birthday (June 4), then cancelled class for that night. Priorities, people! Then, I invited twelve guys who have been great friends and encouragers to me this past year. (If you didn’t get an invite, it’s not because you’re not a great friend. I had to make some cuts somewhere.) Finally, I saved up enough money to buy a bunch of makings for burritos and lots of sweets as well. Like last year’s bash with just six guys, I didn’t let my friends bring anything, since I wanted the night to be all about them being blessed for benefitting my life.
I’d hoped to talk to Michael at the very minute he turned 40, at 3:51 p.m. while I stayed a very young 39 for a couple of minutes until 3:53 p.m. In the past, we’ve made an effort to do this even if we weren’t able to be together. Unfortunately, I’m in prison. (I know. GASP!) We have rules, and I get locked in my cell at 3:45 p.m. every day for count, until 4:30. A new officer was working that day, so I told her that I’d like to talk to my twin at 3:51 and showed her a picture. He’s so good looking, she arranged to let me stay out while she locked everyone else down. I enjoyed a great half-hour call with Michael until 3:54. Later, the officer stopped by to ask me if I’d been able to speak with him, and I was able to thank her for making it work out for me.
I was denied permission to bring food to the multi-purpose room (Chuck E. Cheese wasn’t available to host my party that night), so I just made the food and let the guys eat it before we went to the room. I served chips and burritos with beans, rice, cheese, and salsa, enough for each guy to have four. The sweets and sodas I gave out after we got back from the party, but I acted the part of the criminal and smuggled in a Hostess cupcake for everyone to eat together in the multi-purpose room. Cupcakes = Party!
One guy felt sick and couldn’t make it as part of the twelve, which was quite Judas-like of him. I half expected him to show up with a bunch of officers and chief chaplains and kiss me on the cheek. He didn’t, and technically, we weren’t exactly in a garden, either. But it was incredible.
I started by thanking the guys for their investment in my life, and I had each one write a word of inspiration in a “Friendship Bible” I have for that purpose. Then we made the cupcakes disappear, and my friend, Derek, gave me a card he’d had around 25 guys sign for me. The evening’s main entertainment was a rousing game of Pictionary, divided into two teams of six. The guys had a blast, and before we knew it, the hour-and-a-half was gone and we were headed home. As we locked down for the night, my pod officer asked me if I’d had a fun party—sometimes there are small acts of kindness that really mean so much to me and are far more than what I deserve!
Thank you for the many cards and notes of congratulations (or pity) that you sent, as well as the many of you I know who are so busy, yet you pray for me. Even if you don’t have time to write, I’m just grateful you read my letters! I covet your prayers as I head into this next year, that I would be sensitive to the Holy Spirit’s leading me to speak comfort, truth, and life to the many here who need to experience a Spiritual Birthday.