I usually glance at the sky when I leave the school building for the day. Lines of jet exhaust looked like a cat had scratched across an otherwise lovely sky. That was my day, perfect aside from a few scratch marks.
I didn’t know G. well, but then none of us did. He did his time quietly and respectfully. On the surface he was likable. Because of his demeanor I wondered if he had ever had to work hard to get what he wanted; I suspected that people had naturally gravitated in his direction and helped him out his whole life. In his placement committee I remember everyone assumed that because they didn’t even know his name, he had to be a model offender. “If anyone deserves to be released on his eligibility date,” I remember one member saying, “it is someone like him.” Therefore we released him as soon as we could. He’s been out on parole for four or five months, I’ve lost track.
He talked to another offender on the phone recently, I’m not sure who, and a message was relayed through the complex prisoner party line to me.
“He’s drinking again,” I was first told. Out of work, out of the structure of the half-way house (for better or worse), he was also almost out of hope. “It’s discouraging,” said my messenger. That was an understatement. I felt my heart getting ready to break again. “He said to say, ‘What’s up,'” the offender finished. That came as a surprise because he never seemed responsive to my concerns for him. The surprise was quickly replaced with a surge of anger, only because I couldn’t take anymore sadness that afternoon. But I wasn’t really angry, and I replied, in my mind, “My prayers are going up Mr. G. May God bless you immensely this Christmas season. God please grant yet another miracle.”
I idly held a cutout of a Christmas tree an offender had given me earlier that day. He wants me to write my Christmas wish on it to decorate Lucy’s bulletin board. He expects mine to be uniquely me, he tells me. That’s why I haven’t written it yet; I know I’ll disappoint.
All I want for Christmas, from the bottom of my heart, are miracles, answers to to these sad, sad stories that will haunt me forever. When I pray it is with a “double-mind” (James 1:7), so I guess what I really want is the kind of faith to be able to pray for these miracles and to accept God’s sovereignty in these matters.
I can’t write that. It is unique, private and personal like they’ve come to expect from me, but it also sounds cliche. Besides I’m not sure they would understand anyway.
I’ll write down something like “vacation” or “housemaid” instead. They can relate to wanting more quality time with family.