30 January 2007

In the beginning

How else to begin? It's the end of the day in the life of a prison chaplain. It's been busy. I saw individual men for most of the morning and then a whole stream of them during the afternoon. For two hours on Tuesday afternoons, men from three different living units come to the chapel in search of greeting cards, address books, reading material, and a friendly ear. That last item is my responsibility. I have to switch gears frequently.

The first man may want some resources for when he gets out of prison. The next wants to talk about the letter he got from his girlfriend. The third may have pictures to show of his kids. It's always different.

The end of the day seems to arrive in a rush. It's time to close down the building and get ready for count. The silence is sudden, but not unwelcome. I restack the piles on my desk and make a resolution that tomorrow, for sure, I will address what the requests that got pushed aside today.

For today, I'm grateful for the stories I heard, for the people I met, for what I could do.