Maybe it explains some reason I'm supposed to be here. I just have to keep the faith that God knows I'm here and is counting on me to be strong when I need to be and tender when those around me need to be. It's a hard order to fill.
Although both experiences of the church service and Karen's blessing were good, it's about where the focus is. Do we focus on the negative or the positive? It is too easy to fall into the trap of fear or worry or 'what if' or the thought of failure. By this point in our Bryer-adventure, I have a strong testimony that it takes a conscience choice to choose the good. It's not that the fear goes away, but learning to accept that if we have faith then it will turn out just has Heavenly Father has planned for us - even if that means I sit here in jail stripes. I don't think He makes bad things happen, but He allows adversity in our lives to help us grow stronger, to help us see our potential to overcome any temptation or adversity that comes up against us. He has way bigger plans than what is confined to the walls of this jail. In the meantime, His comforting spirit comes through music, or a verse of scripture that's particularly meaningful, or a thought that comes to my mind. It's goosebumps when I get asked to pray or a smile that creeps across my face when I see one of these girls making changes for the better. His spirit is what I feel when I am in this awful situation of serving time in jail, all for a medical misdiagnosis.
The whole rest of the day Twinny would correct her words when she would slip. Then she found replacements like mother trucker and flip and I tried not to smirk every time I heard a replacement. These are inmates. Like hard criminals. They've dealt drugs, broken in to homes, stolen money, hurt other people - they've known no bounds of breaking the law - and now they watch their language - for me?!
One of my very favorite sights is to get called out for visitors and to see several of them in the lobby in their church clothes. They look so put together, colorful, and happy-looking! In my days of constant black and white, colored church clothes make me happy. There were 7 of them in the lobby that I could see as I sat down at the stool and looked at them through the window. My emotions are so conflicted to see 7 people for me, while the rest of the girls sit in the common area without any visitors. 6 of my guests took their turns during my 30 minute visit. I was so encouraged to see one of my visitors head to the front counter and then see Karen come around the corner, called for a visit with my 7th visitor! I would have happily given her all of them if it would have made a difference.
It doesn't even matter what we talk about during our visit, I am just happy for the break and to see friendly faces and feel the refreshing, good spirit they bring with them.
Karen told me later all the things she had in common with my friend. This same girl with so much make up and revealing clothes I could have judged and passed by on the street, is the same that has so many things in common and I have grown to seriously love! The Lord works in amazing ways!
Rachel and I were cleaning our cell today. She had wiped down the toilet and sink. When she was done, I sprayed the mirror. Some of the spray had fallen on the sink, so I wiped that down again and Rachel stopped me. "Wait?! Are you re-doing my work?"
I said, "No! I was just wiping up what I got on the sink after I sprayed the mirror!"
We had a conversation about being a perfectionist and she encouraged me to be happy with the way my kids do their jobs. Sometimes it's hard not to be hard on them or to re-make the beds, re-fold the towels, or re-vacuum the floor. She said from her own experience, they will learn that the job they do is good enough and give them a feeling of accomplishment. Was I better about this when there were only 1 or 2 kids with jobs? Their sense of accomplishment and feeling 'good enough' should mean more than a neatly folded pile of towels or perfectly vacuumed floor. A parenting tip from an inmate. Yup, I'll take it.
I called home this evening and talked to Jason and our four older kids. Piper and I decided it would be better if I didn't talk to Bryer since she would wail when I had to say good-bye, so it was easier on Jason for me not to talk to her. I got to hear how Hunter's scout merit badge clinic went and how Sawyr's Native American diorama project was presented. It kills me to hear their sweet voices on the phone, but the worst was Walker's little 5-year-old voice!
Walker: Hi Mom! Where are you?
Me: I'm still in jail bud. Remember?
Walker: Oh ya, but did the police let you use their phone?
Me: Yes, but I had to pay a lot of money to talk to you.
As immune as I feel to the cussing, it bothers me all over again as I talk to my family on the phone. I want to protect their ears and not let them know what I have to hear every day. And as I answered Walker's questions, I sounded just like any of the other girls in here - explaining again to him where I am and how it is that I get to talk to him. The phones are out in the open in the common area, so there's no privacy or quiet place to talk. The worst feeling in here is when my 2 worlds collide and I feel my heart break all over again that I'm not at home with them, doing what I should be doing.
Tonight I learned to crochet a little better. I made my mom an uneven washcloth, and I was ready for something else. One of the girls got me going on a beanie. She wrote out the pattern, showed me how to count stitches, and how to use a crochet marker. It's been a while since I had to really concentrate on making something and I was feeling confident in the challenge. Just as I thought I had finished the first part, I had the other inmate check my stiches. She eyed them closely and counted them and then proceeded to pull the yarn out, undoing my hour's worth of work in a matter of a few seconds. She told me to do it again, and count better this time. Then she made eye contact with me and realized she had pretty much broke my heart and just patted my shoulder and said, "Oh quit! You can do better than that!" Sigh. Being humbled by another inmate!
I took it back to my cell and spent another hour getting it just right, following the pattern perfectly. It still didn't resemble anything like a beanie. In fact, it was closer to the size of a coaster. I was so frustrated that I decided to quit while I was ahead and just use it for a coaster. I tied it off and cut the yarn off using the sharp edge of the bunk bed. I went down to show my crocheting tutor, disappointed that I hadn't made a beanie, but excited at my coaster. She took one look at it and said, "What the *** is this? Where's the rest of it?" I explained my frustration, but being okay that it was just going to be a coaster. She said, "NO! All you have to do is stitch singles after that to make it into a beanie!" This time it was her looking disappointed. She gave me thicker yarn to practice with so that I could see my progress sooner and not quit so easy. I never saw a lesson coming from an inmate about perseverance! :-)
Tonight as I got ready for bed, I reached for the light switch to the side of the cell door. And then I immediately felt silly - there are no light switches in here! I went to sleep early tonight, to the sound of playing cards being shuffled and the TV up way too loud. I'm glad I sleep hard!