I went into a building I'd never been in before. I saw a doorway to my right and glanced in the window as I walked past, thinking it must be a small storage room.
Then I noticed they were one right after another on both sides of me.
Then I noticed there was a name on the window of each door.
My heart sunk, and I stop following the people leading me down the corridor, and I peered in the window.
Inside there was a small bed. It was maybe 5 foot long. The entire room altogether was smaller than my bathroom.
It was a prisoners home.
I'd seen these kids, talked to a few of them. Some of them were over 6 ft tall. I couldn't imagine them sleeping on that tiny bed. That bed wasn't even twin sized. It was at best a cot.
It was a prison.
I work in the Human Resource department at a correctional facility for kids ages 11-19. 11 yr old boys go to sleep in that tiny box. I can't get past it.
But I did walk on past it. The staff that guard these prisoners/children are proud of their unit. They keep it clean and orderly and they hosted a dinner for all the staff to come in and join their lunch. Just before we lined up for food though, a large man, who looked a good deal like John Coffee from The Green Mile stood up. And they asked everyone to stand up for the blessing of the food.
As this huge hulk of a man stood there, he humbly thanked God for baby Jesus, and His dying on an old rugged cross for our iniquities, and how thankful he was that we could see Gods love when we all get together to eat like this. And that's nearly quoting him.
And standing in Unit 17/18, I felt the presence of God.
And I thought about Paul and Silas' fellow prisoners that day when Paul and Silas praised God. Sometimes all I see is the prison. I'm sure that's primarily all these kids see in their walls. But occasionally, someone walks into your prison that sets you free even in your chains. It's nothing you've done. You were just fortunate enough to be in the cell next to someone who saw something better than the prison walls. And you're blessed just to have been in the right place, at the right time.
For once, I don't write this with any real connection to myself, but just gratitude that at least the kids on unit 17/18 have this man walking their corridor.