31 Orange Jumpsuits – new beginnings - eLine Military Program - Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi

Posted by Keith Wommack on Dec 31, 2012    |    4 Responses

It was 3:30 in the afternoon. A squirrel rested, unaware he was about to be an afternoon snack for an approaching owl. So, I started my rent car, which startled the squirrel, and he dashed to safety.

My actions saved one, yet, irritated another. Then I wondered about the actions that had landed the young people, I was about to meet, into trouble. What had caused them to act or react?

I was sitting in my rental in the parking lot of a baseball field near the Barbara Culver Juvenile Detention Center in Midland, Texas. I had arrived early and decided to take thirty minutes to collect my thoughts, a little spiritual reasoning.

I was told I would be at the Center for about an hour. Yet, I had no clue about how many people I’d be speaking with. Would it be two or three? Maybe it would be four of us, around a table.

I pulled into the center’s lot, parked, and announced myself into the speaker. The door opened and I walked through the metal detector.

A guard brought me to the classroom where I’d be speaking. I asked, “How many will be here?” He said, “Thirty-one.” I thought, “Wow, you have trouble talking to your own two kids.”

At the front of the empty classroom I paused to get my bearings. My prayer went something like this, “Well, here I am. Thank you for leading me, animating me. Show me how I express your wisdom. Keep reminding me that each one that comes into this room belongs to you. Please, put your words in my mouth.”

Then the procession began. Thirty-one of them, hands behind their backs, slowly made their way to rows of chairs. Thirty-one orange jumpsuits. Four young women. Twenty-seven young men. All in their teens, except two boys, age ten.

Thirty-one. Not one smile. Not one hello. Their body language screamed, “Disdain.”

I was introduced: “This is Mr. Wommack. He’s here to talk with you. Listen up. If you make a noise, disrupt, slump in your seats, or are in any way are out of order you will lose all privileges the rest of the day.” I felt like the vulnerable squirrel.

A quick battle took place in my thought. “What chance do you have in helping these kids? They’re just losers. You’ll never get their attention, don’t kid yourself!”

An angel message took over, “Are they really losers? Haven’t you been learning that each child of God is really spiritual, and spiritually dynamic? Each expresses divine dignity?”

I began to speak, trying to look past the orange. I told them about myself. Then I was lead to challenge them. I challenged them to be a thermostat, not a thermometer. A thermometer just rises or falls according to what is happening around it. However, a thermostat, on the other hand, regulates.

I challenged them to be healers, spiritual healers. I explained that by what they will learn in their spiritual journeys they could be regulators, thermostats. They could turn situations higher, holier. Everyone they will meet would be happier and healthier because of having met them.

I told them that Peter, one of Jesus’ followers, healed others when his shadow fell on them. Just so, the shadow or powerful mental weight of their growing spiritual maturity and understanding would help others. The more weight they put into the side of good, the more good they will do. They will use laws, spiritual laws, which heal minds and bodies.

The next hour and a half flew by. What started out as 31 orange jumpsuits, turned into 31 precious friends. They smiled, they laughed, and they clapped.

At the end, a young man asked, “What is it like to come in here and change someone’s life?” This dear one, when he first walked in, looked like the most defiant and difficult. The way he sat, arms folded and scowl on his face, I thought he’d by the last to ask such a question. Yet, what a question!

The smile on his face and tenderness in his eyes told me that he was taking up my challenge.

As I drove away from the Center, I was filled with a spiritual sense of life. I felt and understood that each life was a blessing. Life doesn’t have to be vulnerable or confined. Life is about new beginnings. We have choices.

(First published January 3, 2012)

– Keith Wommack is a Syndicated Columnist, Christian Science practitioner and teacher, husband, and step-dad. He has been described as a spiritual spur (since every horse needs a little nudge now and then). Keith’s columns originate at: KeithWommack.com

© 2012 Keith Wommack

 

4 Responses to “31 Orange Jumpsuits – new beginnings”

  1. Tina Huston says:

    Thank you for your inspiring account. I especially loved what you said about each one expressing “divine dignity”. It is a precious and significant quality. As a volunteer chaplain in a very large jail, holding that view of everyone will change lives.
    Your analogy of the thermostat was also very helpful.
    Thanks for your New Year’s gift.

    • Keith Wommack says:

      Tina, Thanks for dropping in and commenting. Yes, dignity is an important element of your and my (everyone’s) being.

      Have a wonderful New Year.

  2. Sally says:

    I agree with Tina. This message is a New Year’s gift. I feel uplifted and hopeful by reading it.

    If these dear young people are awakened to their true identity for only one hour, they are blessed, but the challenge to be healers was very real to them. Could they help themselves and others? Wow, what an idea.

    Thank you Keith for sharing this experience with your readers.

  3. Carmen says:

    Thanks, Keith, for sharing that powerfully touching experience. Acknowledging man as the child of God and reminding them of innate worthiness or value to God is the best gift you could have given them. Actually, they already had the gift but hadn’t opened it yet!
    Often folks don’t know they have choices because they haven’t been taught spiritual values and principles, and the power and joy that comes with living them. In just 1.5 hrs they learned that choosing the good, and to bless others, will also bless them. “Conscious worth satisfies the hungry heart, and nothing else can.” (Mary Baker Eddy) Well done!

    With God, we always have a clean slate and fresh starts, every minute of every day. How wonderful is that??!!