October 8, 2008
Wednesday, 7:30 p.m.
Letter #58: The Captain Preaches
Greetings! I’m abundantly blessed to have a family like you. Thank you for keeping me in your hearts and prayers!
Because I’m ever-mindful of truly how good my life is—and I know clearly how much worse it could be—I’m perpetually in a good mood. I know that I’m in a horrible place, yes, and I know that no matter what anyone says to the contrary, time does not fly by, nor do I want it to! (I’d hate to miss the opportunities to learn what God is teaching me; if I never stopped to listen to Him, the time would go by, and with it, the teachable moments for my soul.)
But, even with minutes that drag into hours that stretch into long days that fill jam-packed-with-nothing weeks, I’m just so grateful for my God, who cares for the precious moments in my life. He bears me up and holds me and carefully watches over me. I only pray that I run this marathon with endurance to the end.
As I rely on Him, it’s an awesome realization that the God of the universe is, in turn, relying on me to bring light to this barren land! What a heavy responsibility, if I try to shine in my own strength, with a fake enthusiasm I see from some guys here. When Christ is able to simply shine through me—ahh … the ease of just being who He created me to be! Guys in my building who had assumed that my smile would fade, that my joy for living would decrease, and that my enthusiasm for the little things—a sunny day, a new gopher hole, a spectacular jet fly-by, etc.—would dwindle, were wrong.
Just today, as I returned from playing piano for an uplifting church service, one guy commented to me and the guys around him that I smile like I’m not in prison. Well, I’m not! Christ has freed me from the prison of sin and death!
As I checked in for count the other day, one of my floor cops I like, (the one who called me over during my first week here to ask me why I was always smiling), looked up from checking off someone else’s name and saw me standing in front of him. I’d just got exercise playing basketball, and I was having another awesome day.
“Christopher. Still smiling. I was sure you’d have stopped smiling long before now.”
I laughed appreciatively and shot back, “Ha! Yeah, see you in 10 years … I’ll still be smiling then!”
I know that because my appreciation for what Christ has done in my life and how He’s kept me in His care will only grow over the next number of years. God is great!
As promised, here’s what the captain spoke about in chapel service last week. (Incidentally, C.O. Kuscmitz visited again today. He’s a blessing.) The Captain:
• “I think this is great what you’re doing here. I strongly support these services.”
• “I want you gentlemen to know that your captain is a Christian!” (Applause and cheers.)
• “The State of California owns me for eight hours every day, but Christ owns me for the rest of my time—and for those eight hours. I keep Him in mind in everything I do.”
• “I know there have been a lot of changes, much of it out of my control, but I can assure you that I know that God is in control!” (Applause)
• “Every day I have to make decisions, based not on what would be popular, but what is right. However, I know I’m not the only one on the yard doing this—many of you also make decisions on the yard every day, not according to what is popular, but what is right.”
• “I’m no different from you gentlemen. I take this tan shirt off at the end of each day, and I’ve got a white T-shirt on underneath, just like you. I’ve made mistakes too.”
• “Our government has kicked God out of schools, along with prayer and the Bible; now, they’re trying to remove every reference to God or The Ten Commandments from every public building in America. When murders, rapes, and robberies increase, they ask, ‘Where’s God?’ Well, you kicked Him out! What do you expect?” (Cheers!) “I’m sorry … I don’t mean to preach … ” (“Preach it … Preach it … ”)
• “Now they expect us to ‘rehabilitate’ prisoners, but I tell you that the only rehabilitation that happens is when Jesus Christ gets ahold of someone’s life and rehabilitates him from the inside out!”
• “Please pray for us … we need it!” (Standing ovation—he then shook hands—a CDCR No-No—and gave “Bro-Hugs” to several prisoners!)
Thank you for your prayers!