Monday, July 4, 2011
Jail... Been There, Done That
So, I've been to jail. Judge me. Go ahead. Is it okay that I admit that? I mean... I hope this doesn't discredit me or disqualify me from being a Christian author. Anywho, I wrote a check when I was about 18 years old and it bounced. I moved about 10 times after I wrote it, so it never caught up with me... until I was about 25 and driving to church on Wednesday night.
My mother in law was in town visiting and I got pulled over for an expired sticker. That's when the fun started. Before I knew it, I was cuffed (ever-so-tightly) and in the plastic back seat of a police car- because, yes, they issue warrants for hot checks- just in case you were wondering. So for about three minutes, I thought I was on candid camera- but the fiery redhead who arrested me wasn't laughing and seriously missed out when they distributed the humor in the personality line. So anyway, I had completely forgotten about everything I did when I was 18. I was now a mother of two and an upstanding, church-going, tax-paying citizen... who, instead of going to church, as planned, was now on her way to jail.
I spent a very long night in jail (because, of course by the time I got pulled over, the judge had gone home for the day). So I had to change out of my clean-smelling, cute church clothes and into some awesome jail scrubs. Then I was escorted to a room that was about 12' X 12' (if that) where I met and befriended the "Queen" of the Latin Queens gang as well as about 20 other very interesting ladies with whom I spent the next 24 hours getting to know. There was a 17 year old girl in there who was about 12 weeks pregnant by an unknown partner. She was in jail for skipping school (who knew you could go to jail for this?) There were about 5 women who were coming down off of one drug or another. There were women in there for robbery, for fighting, for prostitution, and for so many other things- mostly drugs or DUIs. So it was a fun night of "Guess why she's here."
Because I was the low man on the totem pole (first offender- whereas most of these ladies were multiple repeat offenders), the "Queen" guarded me, agreed to protect me. She shared the tiny bench with me so that I could have a place to sit and made sure the ladies who were coming down off of Meth kept their distance from me. Apparently some of these ladies were friends... or at least acquaintances. Needless to say, I was scared, felt out of place, and had no idea how long I would be there or what would happen to my kids.
I used the pay phone to call the hottie... collect. He had to work the next day, so guess who had the honor of watching my kids while I sat in jail, awaiting my turn with the judge? You guessed it- my MOTHER IN LAW!!! Kill me. I seriously had no idea how I was ever going to explain that. "Hi, Terry... yeah... I'm in jail. I know you thought I was a good little church girl, but apparently I have a naughty side, so could you watch my kids while I sort this out? Last time, I swear." She was so sweet and non-judgmental... at least, as far as I know. She stayed with the kids and then MY MOM came to bail me out the next evening. Could it gt any worse???
So for 24 hours I was stuck in a room with feisty females- most of whom I wouldn't have otherwise gotten an opportunity to meet. But I learned something- most of them were so much like me- hurting, searching for something to fill a void. In that one day, I was able to visit with this sweet, young, confused girl and encourage her. I listened as these women explained their hurts, their pain, their frustrations with men, with life, with family. They were real people with real pain. Some of them made one stupid choice and it forever changed their lives... sound familiar? I've been there. I've done that. I paid my physical debt and my slate was wiped clean (not too clean.) I was warned that I would never be able to be president... because, you know, that was on my radar before all of this went down (#imsokidding).
But while I was in there, I was thinking and analyzing. I was thinking that these people- just like you and me- these were people Christ died to save. He didn't just die to save the "church-going, tax-paying, clean-cut, upper-middle-class citizens". He died to save the gang members, the robbers, the murders, the drug addicts, the liars, the gossipers, the slanderers, the poor, the rich, the blue collar, the young, the old, the clean, the dirty, the smart, the not-so-smart, the funny, the boring, the educated, the girl working in the McDonald's drive through, the police man, the fireman, the business man, the pilot, the janitor, the unemployed, the boss who degrades his employees, the sexual offenders, the pastors, the teachers, the students, the actors, the gays, the heterosexuals, the athletes, the obese, the bus drivers, the man next to you in traffic who just cut you off, the man who held up the bank yesterday, the rude man at the grocery store and the woman he knocked over in line, the woman at the post office, the lifeguard, the camp counselor, the prostitutes, the President of the United States, the computer repair guy, the Mary Kay lady, that annoying Facebook guy, the football hero, the cheerleader, the biggest nerd in school, the choir kids, your best friend, your worst enemy, and the list goes on and on...
I realize that Tom Cruise may have coined the phrase "You complete me" when he professed his undying love to Renee Zelwegger, but the truth is, there is not one person or one thing outside of God's love that will ever complete us. I realized that I've spent far too much time inside of my bubble and far too little time trying to impact the ones who have yet to hear what we bubble dwellers already get to see and hear every week- that God created us all so that He could love us and then died for US ALL. People everywhere are searching for hope- for truth- for this truth: The Bible doesn't say "for God so loved THE CHURCH that He gave His only begotten son..." John 3:16 reads "For God so love THE WORLD that He gave His only begotten son. That whosoever would believe in Him would not perish but have everlasting life."
So no, I may not ever become President of the United States (thank goodness!) but I do believe I have a word to share- God died for US ALL- for THE WORLD. I need to remember these little lessons when I get stuck inside of my bubble. As I clean out the closet and share my skeletons with you all, just remember- we're not all that different. I'm still growing and still changing, still learning and still being reminded that there are so many out there who need to hear this wonderful news. For now, I'm just so glad to have had an opportunity to get out and to experience real people, just like myself...
No Longer stuck in the bubble, No Longer I,
The Real Life Mom