Fun, Fun, Fun, all the way. Watching the Wimbledon tennis championships in the UK, getting out playing sports in a all too short season, flying off to the sun or enjoying School’s out for the summer, Amusement parks, getting the boat on to the lake, fishing, hiking to some of the greatest vistas you will see in your lifetime. Certainly, Canada has some of the most staggeringly beautiful places on earth. At least for some…
if you want to be positive about being incarcerate, then you can get 3 square meals a day, have a bed for the night, plan to build a life outside of jail with nothing to distract you, make taking your Grade 12, learning a new trade, breaking an addiction, not having to endure long, cold winters. Sure all of those things, but look at the missing factors -
What is your family doing? Even if you aren’t married or in a relationship, there are people who you can’t enjoy those things with.
What are you doing? Probably wasting time with all the other things not to do in Jail. Like the great weather to share with loved ones.
What would you be doing? All the things that you are not doing now…
What would your family be doing? Hopefully, enjoying the sharing of lives, building and creating, teaching your kids the values and new things in life.
What sounds too far away? Maybe, they should have thought of that when they got themselves involved in the wrong company or the wrong substances or the wrong attitudes. the consequences of life are there for all too see and everyone event or decision we make will have a consequence. Right?
This is not a judgmental platform to beat up all the inmates and offenders. We don’t do that. It is more important to build relationships on trust and hope. Recounting what they have lost is a large part of the re-building process towards reintegration. Sure, sometimes the first offender thinks ‘this is the last time you ever get me in here’ which is a great motivation. You have the long term offender who has no hope and seems to never see further than spending the rest of his life locked away.
In my opinion, the last example is the hardest individual to deal with because they seem to know it all or be too far away from hope that it is difficult for them to wake up to what they are bringing on themselves. Being behind bars is a life changing experience that no-one needs to go through. No-one. Those of us who are called to minister and support them, will work on every aspect of the positive direction that is required.
That is why the fundamental gateway to peace and restoration is through the Lord Jesus Christ. Salvation can only come through Him, a path that I have seen many, many inmates take and maintain a healthy and positive lifestyle outside of the institution. Examples from an ex-President of the Indian Posse (Aboriginal gang) through to a middle-aged man who was in his first term in jail but found a renewed relationship with his only daughter to a well known musician who should not have been incarcerated to a 19 year old man who lost his parents in tragic circumstances as a child and on and on.
Individuals without hope who were isolated from their loved ones and unable to experience the joys of summer and family fun. Yes, they got themselves into that situation in the first place - but how would we deal with an alcoholic man who was diagnosed with that affliction at the age of 12 months of age because of his mother’s lifestyle, not his. Was he abandoned or did he isolate himself with little chance of recovery? If only we could go back to the point of change or time the slide downhill took place, how much better would any of us be?
Please pray for the work of those agencies and Correctional chaplains/ministers that try to support the inmate and ensure that when they leave, they are able to enjoy Family Fun days again. Amen?