What are the worse parts of being physically in prison? Not being able to see family, not being able to do what you want when you want? Not having freedom.
Physical prison obviously is a punishment for an act that wasn't correct by social standards.
This past Thursday Jill and I were asked to share about Kyle and muscular dystrophy in ISP Prison.
I am not sure what Jill was expecting but it didn't end up like she had thought. It wasn't scary, the most intimidating parts were the doors closing behind her. The men were gentleman and she even had some great conversations.
In sharing about kyle, there is a lot of similarities between muscular dystrophy and prison. Although he can see and interact with his family. There is a small amount of freedom he has. He is dependent on others most of the time. This past week his electric wheelchair broke and he had to take his manual chair to school. He was dependent on one of his classmates to push him around all day. Kyle is dependent on one of us to go to the bathroom, to roll him over every two hours at night, and he is almost to the point of needing someone to feed him due to his lack of muscle in his hands.
But just like men in prison Kyle is not helpless or needed to feel sorry for. The reason we were speaking at the prison was because the group of men I teach has been doing some fund raisers. They did one specifically for mda (the muscular dystrophy association). The fund raiser was shooting ten baskets and getting sponsored. They each shot ten baskets and the amount that they made was how much money they raised. There were 47 inmates only one made all ten about 3 made 0. All together the check presented to mda was over $650.That is a lot of money if we were to put into perspective how much money that is legally circulated in the prison system.
After my presentation I was asked by one of the men what else can we do? How can we help children with muscular dystrophy? We want to do more.
I didn't have a great answer, but afterwards they asked me what if we raised money to buy equipment. What if we were able to buy wheelchairs for children.
Can this group do it? Could they raise 10,000 or so for a powered chair? I think they could. Actually I am pretty sure they can. This is the same group who have donated hygiene items to Haiti, have made quilts for veterans families who have died in the war.
Prison and limitations isn't a reason why we don't serve others. It is very easy to think that charity can be given and nothing is expected in return. That is very wrong thinking, we serve others, and in turn we teach them to not act selfishly but to give freely with what God has given.
Recently I was visiting with my neighbor who has cancer. In the summer we spend most nights in their yard with Kyle racing around chasing their dog. My neighbor has shared many times that Kyle is an inspiration to him. When he is having a bad day he ll drive home and see kyle and immediately his perspective changes. Kyle brings a smile to his face. The day specifically I was in the hospital visiting he was talking about Kyle. He was going on and on about him.
It is very easy to feel sorry for him, or wish that he had a normal life. What is a normal life where we can indulge in whatever we want, live the way we want, spend money the way we want, and basically live selfishly?
It is easy to think that those with imprisionments (whatever that may be) have it tough, and in some ways they do. But it doesn't stop them from showing God's radiant love to others.