Went to Jail Today
Lisa called me several weeks ago. She works with Life Network, an agency that supports women in unplanned pregnancies. One of their clients requested a pastor to go and see the father of her child. "Would you be willing to go?" Lisa asked. Without much thought, I said "Yes, it's what pastor should do." So I go the contact information, arranged a meeting with the local jail chaplain and scheduled a visit.
It was a beautiful blue sky day here in Santa Barbara. I arrived about 10:30 am and gave the reception desk people all my identification docuuments. They called and arranged for me to meet this guy. He was being held in Isolation, so I had to go through several sets of locked doors, with buzzers and fuzzy intercoms. There waiting for me behind thick glass was a young hispanic man in a bright orange jump-suit. We made small talk and I asked if it was OK that I came and visited him. He smiled warmly, telling me how much it meant that I came. I asked him what was the hardest thing for him right now in jail. He said that the waiting "sucked!" and he worried about his girl-friend and their unborn son. I asked him when his trial was, and he said he did not know, though he did know he was facing a minimum of 5 years. Then I asked him how old he was? "I just turned 20" he said. 20 years old, in jail, without an HS degree, unmarried and his girl-friend pregnant and five years locked up ahead of him.
What an incredible contrast for a gorgeous community of really beautiful people! That remains one of the biggest challenges of ministry here, the high contrast between the successful and the broken, those with unlimited choices and those locked up. I need to go back again and see him, listen to him, and love him. I guess that's the same thing we do with those with 'everything" as well, see them, listen to them and love them in Jesus' name.