Even in the midst of such an uncertain and fearful time I was aware that, although I sometimes I felt I had A LOT of information being thrown my way and sometimes I felt I need to know so much more, I could look at my husband and watch his chest rise and fall, knowing he was till breathing in that moment. His sons traveled hopefully and anxiously as he underwent emergency surgery and returned CVICU, hoping they would get to see and talk with their Dad, afraid he would pass before they could reach his side. One traveled 16 hours and one 24 hours without updated information.
To understand the urgency, I spent the ten days following the surgery having perfect strangers on the hospital staff look at me with a rather shocked look and say, "He was really, really, REALLY sick." It was a truly blessed miracle that he not only survived but thrives today.
But when I came to prison ministry a few years later I think one of the immediate things I appreciated was how truly awful incarceration is for the prisoner, for the families, for the extended families during times of family crisis. I know some folks are over sentenced (and I thank God so often that we are making some small strides in this area), and some are bearing the weight of truly heinous crimes and some are not guilty of the crime for which they were incarcerated. In fact, being unjustly incarcerated would be horrid and engender resentment. But to have truly "done the crime" seems to me to be even worse when separated from dying loved ones and children growing up without the full presence and support of both parents and being ill ourselves and knowing that we have caused such pain to those we love and innocent children and our parents by our own foolishness.
So this day I'm thinking about all the folks separated against their highest longing from loved ones due to incarceration, but also do to military service, employment demands, lack of financial resources and all the other things that limit our ability to reach out and touch someone, smile into the eyes of someone important to us. And I'm thanking God with a full heart that while we are separated, physically, emotionally, however we are separated, God's Hand rests gently on us all wherever we are, uniting us in the risen Christ.
Abba Father, Alleluia. Amen.