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loose ends.

8 Oct

Around the time I gave up Facebook, things got a little crazy.  That’s not what this is about.  What this is about is typing up the loose ends.  There are a few subjects that I wrote about the week of and then never followed up on.  So, without further adieu…

Quitting Facebook: I thought that quitting Facebook would be difficult.  Not because I’m hooked on technology, but because I’m all about people and Facebook is a way of keeping up with said people.  I’m probably the only person that actually looks at all of the pictures from your trip to Spain last month.  I want to know what’s going on in your life and unlike the majority of Facebook-ers who are passively perusing your Facebook pages because it’s easier than verbal communication, for me it’s just more fuel for the face-to-face conversations.  So what I missed, if I missed anything, was knowing the little details people put up on their Facebooks.  But when it was all said and done– I didn’t miss it.

Sex Offender: Following writing a letter to a registered sex offender (here and here and here), I wanted more.  I contacted OASIS, the organization that I originally spoke to about sexual assault.  They have a 24-hour crisis line that they use volunteers for.  Anyone can call in– victims of domestic violence, sexual assault, children, people with questions, friend and family of people affected by any of these issues… etc.  OASIS was having a weekend-long session, teaching people about sexual assault and domestic violence and how to effectively handle situations that deal with both.

It was HEAVY.

Something that still weighs on my heart is the lack of support out there for people that struggle with those urges/act on them.  There are resources, websites, shelters, support groups…  all available for the victims/survivors.  But for those people that struggle with those thoughts and those urges and who eventually act on them and even for the people that don’t act on them…  there’s nothing.  There’s NOTHING.

That bothers me.

We have books for people that are bad with money or who covet it.  Therapists for people who don’t love themselves/make themselves throw up/don’t let themselves eat/cut their arms with razors.  Substance abuse problems?– there are programs specifically for you.  Into porn?– that one’s a popular outreach these days.  Prone to punching your wife?  Into the thrill you feel when she says no?…  sorry.  Nothing we can do.

That bothers me.

Why do Christians pick and choose who deserves our love?  our help?  our forgiveness?  our Lord?

(More on this later, maybe.)

Death Row: I wrote a letter to a woman on death row.  It was different from the letter I wrote to a registered sex offender, because there was no hiding the fact that I knew what she had done.  She knew why I was writing her.  I was writing her a letter in prison, after all.  It was also different, in that it wasn’t anonymous.  Part of the reason my letter to the sex offender was anonymous were for the obvious precautionary reasons.  But more than that, I didn’t want it to be a source of anything but encouragement.  I didn’t know what this particular person’s hangups were, what they struggle with, what a letter of encouragement from a woman [their age that they could easily see a picture of on Facebook] would do.  I wanted this letter to be different.  I wanted to be a name; to be a specific person that cares about this particular woman.

I wrote a letter to a woman that I was able to Google and, with a few clicks, learn the details of her story.  Convicted of a crime she committed when she was too young to drink, this woman succumbed to the pressures of finding something to belong to and killed two people in a gang-initiation.  My heart broke for her because I can relate to those feelings.  Oh, can I relate to those feelings.  I can understand that pressure.  I can understand wanting to belong.

Fear often drives us to act out of desperation.*

I haven’t heard back from her yet.  I don’t know if I will.  I think I may, but it’s already been several weeks.  Even if I don’t, the letter I wrote her could not have been much more divinely-inspired than it was.  I don’t need a response to know that it contained the words God wanted  her to hear.

*It’s an easy response to say that a lot of trouble would be saved if we would just find ourselves in God.  Sometimes** the easy responses are the correct responses.

**More on how most responses come too easily for me later.

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pen pals.

15 Sep

Number 35 on the list:  Become pen pals with someone in prison.

I don’t know anything about jail or prison.  I don’t know what the difference is between the two, besides the fact that prison sounds worse.  I don’t personally know anyone in either one of them.  As someone who recently moved to an unfamiliar part of the country, I don’t even know where a jail or prison is in relation to me.  My perception is simply what I’ve learned from watching movies.  (How accurate.)

So I did what I always do:  I looked it up on Google.

There are 35 prisons in North Carolina.

There are three levels of custody:  minimum, medium, and maximum.  Minimum security prisons are composed of non-secured dormitories that are routinely patrolled by correction officers.  The prisons generally have a fence lining the perimeter, but no watch towers or roving patrol.  Inmates assigned to minimum security prisons pose the least risk to society.  Medium security prisons are composed of secure dormitories that provide housing for up to 50 inmates.  The prison typically has a double fence perimeter with armed watch towers and armed roving patrol.  Most inmates work at self-improvement programs within the prisons, as well as work programs such as prison farm operation or highway maintenance for the Department of Transportation.  Maximum security prisons are composed of cells with sliding cell doors that are operated remotely from a secure control station.  These units are utilized to confine the most dangerous inmates who are a severe threat to public safety, correctional staff, and other inmates.  Inmates placed in maximum security prisons are typically in their cells for 23 hours a day.  During their only available hour they are allowed to shower and exercise.

Read tomorrow for more information on the costs of imprisoning an individual, programs available to inmates, and the death penalty, which happens to be in effect in North Carolina.