I visited L tonight! With Dear One for company on the road, I made the sixty mile round trip to a new jail in the county next door to see him. There was one scary moment when the guard seemed truly baffled by who I was and why I was there, and a bit disinclined to allow me access at 7:30 on a Friday night for a face-to-face visit. But a little judicious drop of the jail administrator's name and a flash of my hospital clergy badge did the trick, and three clanging locked doors later, I was in.
If I'd ever had any doubts that I needed to follow my guy, which of course I didn't, they were dispelled the moment I saw his face. "You came!" A mixture of joy, disbelief and something else....a tentative trust perhaps....a coming to believe that maybe , just maybe this person who speaks of God to him stands on her truth?
We had a fabulous visit. He had a paternity hearing for his son last week. It just kind of popped up the way things seem to in his life. He told me they had tested his DNA a while back. And then lost the sample and had to do it again. He told me when he went to court he told the judge that even if the test showed the child was not his he would sign any paper it took to claim him and see that he was taken care of. He says he is worried about little D as mom is drinking. Part of his motivation for getting his life together now is seeing if he can get custody eventually. On his way to the hearing (held in yet another county, such is rural life) he had a discussion about being forgiven "70 times 7" with the officer who was driving him. He says "He was a really nice guy...he let my call my brother on his cell phone just to say hi, my brother thought I must have broke out of jail when he heard my voice!" Turns out D is his, and he pretty much impressd the judge as well. He was given $50 a month child support starting the month after he gets out of jail, and other developments to follow, "depending" on how it all goes for him.
His hearing is January 4th. His public defender has not returned my six phone calls. L gave me his e-mail address. We will try that. Otherwise I show up at his doorstep! I do not know what ails the man...I am trying to help him do his job and have made that pretty clear in my messages....as well as the fact that I have the contacts and the wherewithal to do that....lest he think I'm just a do-gooder preacher woman going all heart-soft on some delinquent kid!
I told L that I was part of a big group of wonderful people on the internet who knew that I was seeing a young man in jail and were praying for him. He smiled hugely and said, "Cool! Because I can't do all this stuff I have to do by myself." So pray on, my friends, pray, on!