Sunday, November 21, 2010

The Address

I left my purse in the shopping cart at the grocery market today. Rushing back to the store parking lot from across town numerous panicky thoughts zipped through my mind. Would it still be there? I had my debit card in my car with my phone, but what was in my purse?

Not much actually besides my driver's voting card, a gift card to Starbucks, spare change...and then the bad news hit me.

One of our dear friends had recently left prison and her address was in my purse. Why hadn't I written to her sooner?

The only hope I have of knowing how a friend is doing once they leave prison is a letter. Most of the time I never know how they're doing. I pray and remind myself that they know the God who sees and the God who is able. They know I love them.

Letters of encouragement are a lifeline to those in prison. Life after prison release can be even more difficult for the person. Being without a home, job, friends or church is a heavy burden for anyone, but when adding to that the stigma of a criminal record, depression and frustrations are intensified. They can be haunted by temptations to return to familiar friends and places. They remember that drugs and alcohol offer temporary relief from their pain. When you're hungry and cold, you remember that in prison you had a cot and 3 meals a day.

As soon as I got home I sat down and wrote my friend a letter. She will laugh at my panic and be glad that I retrieved my purse in the lost and found, but she will also pick up a pen and paper to write a letter to someone in prison.

Prayers matter. Letters matter. Who needs your prayers and letters?

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