"An Inside Perspective"

January 2017

My Dear Family in Christ,

Ever-precious greetings in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ! In prison, we all share the same showers. It is not quite unlike the YMCA or any other group type setting where corporate showers are the norm—it is every man for himself. As you may imagine, the showers are not always, if ever, properly cleaned. As a matter of fact, one of the jobs you may unwittingly be assigned, as a new-jack, is that of a shower runner (cleaner).

With that in mind, one of the first things that a prisoner must acquire when arriving in prison, is a set of shower shoes. The prison sells them in their store, and as with most things sold there, they are low quality five and dime type models. They get holes in them very easily, and before you know it, you are in need of a new pair. I have probably bought at least fifty pair over the years, if not more. These shoes are very cheap, if not of the disposable sort.

Well, let me walk you through the process, no pun intended ?, as you will appreciate this later. For some reason, the soles are hollow and after just a few showers they begin to get holes. At first, there are small undetectable cracks in them that only the trained eye can discern; but cracks nevertheless that widen day by day. Ever so slowly, but surely, the cracks become small holes. Finally, when we go to the shower, the water seeps inside the soles and fills them with water, and then the water starts to fester. But usually, we are so busy that the whole process goes by unnoticed until the infamous, dreaded aroma arrives.

Alas, one day we are typically sitting in the cell doing nothing special, and one of us will inevitably say, “Hey, do you smell that sour smell?” Mind you, a cell is an extremely small self-contained unit. Very faintly, we will begin to smell a sour dishrag smell full of all nastiness. A quick search ensues, and unable to locate the source, life goes on. Next, we go through the process of accusing each other of nefarious silent emissions, to which all naturally plead innocent. One of us will then conclude and say, “It is nothing.” Meanwhile, little by little, with all subtly, the smell gets worse and worse each day.

We are permitted one shower a day, and when they buzz our door for our shower, we then walk to the shower and back again wearing said reeking shower shoes. Then, we take them off and they stay in a specific spot by the door for any “outing” that may occur on the wing during the course of that day. If our movement is off the wing, we naturally must wear our sneakers or boots. But when just on the wing for the phone, taking out the garbage, or perhaps even using the Kiosk, we simply step into our shower shoes, thus tracking said stench wherever we go!

As the smell worsens, unbeknownst to us, we are found to have tracked it all over the wing. As we walk, the sour water squirts out here and there, leaving a tainted trail. I could be sitting at the Kiosk, or on the phone and a whiff overpowers me. Still unaware of the source, I think, “I know I put deodorant on!” Then, it will get on my socks, and therefore my rug, and so my bed. And before I know it—it’s overwhelming! Wherever I had walked, I left the ungodly stench. Then, Carlos and I slow down, and like detectives looking for a clue, we eventually find the source. Looking at each other we say, “Not again, we should have known!”

It is written, “And walk in love as Christ also hath loved us, and hath given Himself for us an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweet smelling savour (aroma).” (Eph. 5:2)

Let me walk you through spiritual regress. As believers, our feet are “shod with the gospel of peace”. Everywhere we walk we should leave the sweet fragrance of Christ as we share the gospel. But if we are not careful and diligent, over time we may begin to make worldly decisions. At first, choices for the flesh will lead to small undetectable cracks in our sandals that only the trained, spiritual eye can discern.

Progressively, slowly but surely, if we continue to make fleshly choices, the cracks will become small holes. Finally, as the world seeps inside of us, it begins to fester. Alas, we are “so busy” for the Lord, however, that when we smell the infamous dreaded aroma, we think it is someone else! We do not, at first, notice ourselves—but others do. There is a peculiar ungodly stench to a walk in the flesh; everyone seems to smell it but us! We are then quick to accuse others of nefarious silent spiritual doings. As the smell then worsens, our sour flesh squirts out here and there leaving a tainted trail wherever we go!

As we walk in the Way, we sport our sandals wherever we go. Beloved, do not wait until you have left an overwhelming tainted trail through life. Slow down now, and as a faithful Christian detective looking for a clue, search it out. Look at yourself saying, not again…