February 9, 2014
Sunday, 8:00 p.m.
Letter #317: Home Sweet Home
I’ve moved again! You won’t believe this crazy story, but here goes: I was doing just fine, minding my own business and enjoying the front row seat I have, watching Joe grow in his relationship with God. The 120-man pod I was in had changed, too, but not for the better. Good guys had moved away, including several close friends, and they’d been replaced by several not-so-good guys.
Tuesday, as one batch was sent back to California to prepare for release, a new batch arrived from Compound One, including one guy from the very pod I’d been moved to back on July 5, without my consent. (Most moves are done WITH your consent, if you are not prone to write-ups.)
This guy had been best friends with my gang-member cellie at the time, and after my cellie threatened me, they worked together to steal lots of my property. Because the prison let them into my cell once I’d left—but before officers had packed up my belongings—the prison had to reimburse me, though the process is still ongoing.
Joe, my current cellie, was also in that pod, and the guys tried to sell some of my property to him. Now, Tuesday comes, and here’s the guy, in our pod. AND he’s one of the top gang-members of the “25” prison gang here. Joe told our counsellor about the history in our old pod, and the counsellor said he’d handle it the next day. And boy, did he ever handle it.
Wednesday morning I was awakened by the counsellor opening my door and telling me to pack up and leave—he was moving me “for my safety” to the next pod over, the same pod I was moved from seven months ago. I was dumbfounded. Why would they move ME? I hadn’t broken any rules or gotten in trouble! After all, I was the victim in this case. I thought the perpetrator gets taken away, not the victim. Man, I felt so sorry for myself.
I went to the office to ask the counsellor about it. I offered to sign a “marriage chrono” which would state I had no issues with the gang leader. Nope. I told him that Joe and I didn’t want to be separated, since we’re working together on his growth in the Lord. He said I had to move regardless. I reminded him that I’d filed a statement defending him against an inmate who had falsely accused him of harassment—nothing. I had to move.
I asked if I could politely refuse and be taken to “the hole” (solitary confinement), and he told me I could do that, but I’d lose all extra property I may have, such as CDs books, and letters. Hmm. I was out of options.
Just then, Joe poked his head into the office and said, “Hey, can you ask that other pod’s correctional counselor if he would mind taking the two of us?” He agreed, made the call, and unbelievably, got a YES!
And just like that, we were scrambling to pack up everything, take down hooks, and return everything we’d borrowed. We said our hasty goodbyes to the pod and carted our stuff about 20 feet away to the pod next door, my old home. As I rolled the cart through the door—well, Joe pushed the cart as I dragged a garbage bag that was giving birth to a load of books via C-section—lots and lots of guys came up to welcome me back to the pod.
Remarkably, I looked up to see the cell I was assigned to and saw the very same cell I’d been removed from EXACTLY seven months ago, to the day. Basically, I’d been sent out to that pod where I met Joe before moving back to this compound. Then, once Joe became my cellie, God moved me back—all without my consent and beyond my control. He even stamped it with a big seven to make certain I got the point that He did it all. And you know what? I’m learning—AGAIN—that life works better without my consent and beyond my control.
Thank you for praying.