Monday, September 7, 2009

Holding on

In writing this blog I find myself returning over and over to memories of my time behind bars. I was so lucky, I spent six short months in a county jail, not far from my home and familiar surroundings. I knew out there somewhere were my wordly possessions that my family had preserved for me in a storgae unit and someday, with God's help I would have a place to set up my bed, arrange my books and hang my clothes. It was a comfort to me. It gave me reason to hope and something of mine to look forward to someday.

Many of the women we work with have lost everything; and while I felt I had as well, the rock bottom losses many face are beyond what I think I might have been able to endure. When Mark and I married in the Spring of '08 I unloaded my entire two storage units to set up house. We had everything we needed; dishes, pots and pans, couches, chairs, desks, dressers. A complete house. I hung my unpacked wardrobe in my closet and stacked dishes in cabinets. Within a couple weeks we were moved in and settled.

But often I am asked to transfer a woman's "property" to her family or friends as she is moved to a prison facility away from county jail and the contrast in loss stops me short.

One woman asked that her "property" be mailed to her Mom. It consisted of a watch, a Wal-Mart gift card and a small silver ring. Her clothes weren't worth salvaging and I can only imagine the conditions she had been living in prior to her arrest if that was the best she had to wear. Another woman has her wordly goods packed in two large suitcases and one duffle bag; clothes mostly, a couple of books, a make up bag. Each time she is released from prison she sorts back through the bags and suitcases and starts over. It is what she owns and she is grateful to have "real clothes" to feel whole again.

I worried alot over my possessions while sitting in county jail. I argued with my Father about how long the storage units should be kept and why bother if he was just going to let it all be sold in a few months anyway. Those possessions meant the world to me and I couldn't see that God provided all I had, He would surely provide again someday. I wanted to hold on. As time has passed I find myself sorting and resorting much of what is still left in the garage. Mark is out there today rearranging all my wordly treasures but more and more I am able to let go of such things.

In my life I've seen God replace everything of value to me; my home is replaced with a quiet little place that Mark and I lay our heads. My children, though no longer at home, are still my best friends and they stay in close contact with me, their love evident each time we are together. My job and career path I had planned is a memory but the work I do today means so much more to both myself and the ones we serve. Family now gone from my life have been replaced by new brothers and sisters, nieces and nephews. God has given me the resources for food, new clothes, new jewelry, sheets for my bed and all the things I thought were forever gone. God even sees to my comfort; new fluffy pillows, curtains for all the windows match and flutter in the breeze, a grapevine wreath hangs by my bedroom window just to look pretty.

Sometimes I dig through a box or look around to try to find something I knew I once owned and cannot find. Usually I find out it was thrown out during the packing of my life but always I see how God has replaced it with something new. He has not failed me and He does not fail any of His children. He also makes it easier and easier to see how little I need beyond Him.

I guess I should go help Mark continue cleaning out our garage, I just don't need so much stuff anymore.

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