Journeying together in Christ

“I was in prison, and you visited me” by Jarrod G. Shook

I was in prison and you visited me
Me, “the least”
Me, “the least”
Whose just desserts he sits and eats
In the belly of the beast

On not my first
And worst of all
Not my second
But my third fall
Behind bars and barbed wire with guarded gun towers and cement walls

And I was only 26
A repeat federal offender—a recidivist
Me, “the least”
Me, “the least”

Serving a sentence of 7 years 9 months and 27 days in prison
For which I broke the law was given
To be served
Until at least 2/3 on a federal reserve
In a penitentiary called Collins Bay

Me, “the least”
Me, “the least” who could find no inner peace
Who would walk the yard
And keep his guard
Up

As he watched the starved
Young men who owe their youth to the State
Slowly turning granite hard inside their hearts
And full of hate
And I’ll admit, despite my pride
And everything I tried to hide
There were times at night that I would cry
And thought to take my life, and tried
But never seemed to find the drive
Or the nerve
So on I went, survive, survive

Me, “the least”
Me, “the least”

I’d walk the yard in days to follow
Searching for something to fill my hollow
And satiate my innate desire
To take my life to some place higher
Then this belly of the beast
I was in prison, and you visited me

Me, “the least”
Me, “the least”

It started with a simple book
An invitation to the club
We meet, you said, once a month
Once a month we sit and talk
About the book (but often not)
We laugh, we listen, we want to hear your thoughts
Me, “the least”?
My thoughts matter?

That’s something new
And you’re going to listen too?
Just read the book the whole way through
Your very best is all that we expect from you

My very best?
From me, “the least”?
Me, “the least”?

My worst is all I’ve ever done
Then do your best
And best is what you will become
You said
And I believed

So on I went to read and read
Where starved before I’d feed and feed
And swallow books you gave to me

Voraciously

I was in prison and you visited me
And watched as I developed these
Developmental tendencies
You don’t know what it meant to me
To finally find, and feel, some empathy

Me, “the least”
Me, “the least”

I was in prison and you visited me.

*****
Jarrod was featured on Michael Enright’s The Sunday Edition on CBC radio: Please click on this link.

 

One Comment

  1. What a raw, yet so beautifully written testimony to Scripture, and to the unconditional support of St. James…
    God’s Blessings to you Jarrod…

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