The conflict of my emotions at the end of my yesterday wasn't expected. I woke with such enthusiasm... such excitement. (Woke up? Who am I kidding. I hardly slept! I was SO excited!) And yet, I left the house with one kind of whoa-ing emotion.... but came home wearing a whole other woe-ing one.......
To attempt to tell of it, words won't describe. The sweet lady (who I'll call Miss 88, because of her age) that I picked up from prison was precious! Fiesty! Full of life. Funny! (Hilarious, more like it.) Sharp minded. Quick witted. NOT at all as I'd pictured her. She looked much younger than her age.... and acted more like a 40 year old, than one a mere two years away from 90. The whole prison loved her. She got well-wishes from both her former fellow inmates and the officers. Everyone was yelling and blowing kisses when we were leaving. I can't began to tell you how sweet it was! Tears rolled down her cheeks as we left and threatened to rolled down mine.
She'd been inside those very same gates for 16 years! What does it feel like to walk out of them for the first time after all that time?
She kept telling me that, "Words can't describe it."
She oohed and ahhed over the trees that we past on the road. The fields. The sky. The air-conditioning. The feel of a car. The houses. The buildings. The sky. EVERYTHING! Everything was so exciting to see! I loved looking and seeing for a few minutes through her eyes.
Long story (one for another day), but I left the prison with two new-releasees, not just the one. It was such a God-thing that it's funny to see His set-up. So Him! So what He does.
It was so sweet to begin with. I can't tell you how many times I looked over at Miss 88 and saw her wiping her eyes. It was so overwhelming! Still, so hard to believe. She kept telling me that I think I'm just having a dream. She was scared she'd wake up............ it was perfect!
A lot happened between pickup and drop off. We had breakfast..... ate a late lunch..... stopped by multiple gas stations.... the AIM Center.... the General Dollar.... a Thrift Store..... Rite Aid..... and more! Hours later I dropped one off one place... and the other in another.
On my way home (immediately upon dropping the last (younger) girl off), my mood changed. Here's how I worded it when telling it to a friend:
I was so down on my drive home. It seemed sad for Miss 88 to get out of prison and yet be dropped off at a very unfamiliar place (a transitional home). At least she did see some people there that she knows, former inmates that had recently been released. But still! Why not home??? Why no family???
I took Kim to Huntsville first to meet her probation officer. The house where she plans to go had no beds open. They told her to call back in a week and a half. I left her in a homeless shelter! It was a sweet place. But HORRIBLE to have to go to!
All the way home I wondered: one left scared in Lovelady...... the other afraid in a homeless shelter??, scared (but acting brave), all alone by herself....????? WHAT KIND OF FREEDOM IS THAT??????????????? Why get out of prison if that's all you've got left and that's where you're going??? I am distraught over what kind of life that is. I wouldn't want to live like that. If that were my case, I don't think prison would look so bad.
I've been upset about it since. It was a 14 hour round trip. I spent lots of time, and lots of money, I bought them things that I knew they'd need and some they didn't, I gave them encouragement, support, talked about Jesus, I fed them, loved on them, patted them, hugged them. And yet, after all that, I keep thinking, "What good is it?"!!! How much did that really help? They have no home. No family willing to take them. None, evidently, right now to go back to. No job. No support. They're alone and are left to figure it all out by themselves. You lock me up for sixteen years and let me out when I'm eighty-eight with a mere $10 bill...... and where am I gonna go? How am I going to take care of myself? She told me the place where she's staying charges $150 a week. How in the world will she ever be able to come up with that? Whatever will she do next? What would I do? What in the world does she have to live for? And will she live the rest of her life afraid? Not knowing? In a strange land somewhere? With strange people?
What about the younger girl? I'm sure she can make it, others have, BUT!!!!! She's basically left on the street! What now? How? And who? And where? Who's gonna hire her? How will she get there if they did? How will she make it? And a thousand other questions...........................??? Again, that doesn't sound like freedom to me! It sounds scary! Sad! Lonely! And unsafe! No wonder so many end back inside prison...... prison, to me, sounds better than that.
"What can I do?"......... "What can I do???"....... "Lord, what can I do????".............................. I'm so sick! The question plague me!