Saturday, July 4, 2020 -
Today is a difficult and slow day. I am very homesick; perhaps it is because it is Independence Day here in the United States. I long to be with my wife and family and the week marks five months since I’ve been able to lay eyes on them and kiss and hug them. I miss Kathie especially more than words can express.
Normally our family would have a picnic out under the pine trees beside the pool. I would do the grilling, and we would invite quite a few folks, including neighbors and friends. I think four years ago on July 4 was the last time our entire family, with all six children and one 3-year-old grandchild, were together. I have a photo in my cell of all of us on that beautiful July day. It was a photo the government and the judge refused to allow to be shown to the jury in my trial, fearing it would raise sympathy for me by the jury.
In the evening, after dark, our boys and the neighbors all around would present a wonderful fireworks display. We all enjoyed it, but the farm animals and dogs despised it. I suppose that is universal. I have no idea if our 2-year-old granddaughter likes fireworks or is afraid of them. Today, however, Kathie and I are both alone.
I don’t really recall last year, how I felt or got through Independence Day, but even though I was in prison it was far different than this year when we are locked down into our climate-controlled unit. The radio says it is in the 90s today, but I have no idea if it is humid or dry. Looking out the window through the bars it looks wonderful. Last year I’m certain I must’ve spent most of the day outside at the recreation yard. If I could, that’s where I’d be today if I can’t be home. I’ve never been in a medium-security prison, but I’d imagine that being on this semi-lockdown for five months with no end in sight is kind of like being in such a facility, although even there I think they normally get more recreation time than we do now.
However, I am comforted by the words found in Isaiah 40:23-31, “Do you not know? Have you not heard? The everlasting God, the creator of the ends of the earth does not become weary or tired. His understanding is inscrutable. He gives strength to the weary, and to him who lacks might He increases power. Though youths grow weary and tired, and vigorous young men stumble badly, yet those who wait for the Lord will gain new strength; they will mount up with wings like eagles, they will run and not get tired, they will walk and not become weary.” I have, when we were allowed outside, stood and watched the birds flying freely in and out of this prison compound, unimpeded by the fences and barbed wire, imagining what it must be like. But here is a promise from the Lord that if I wait for the lord I will one day mount up with wings like an eagle (not just any bird), and fly away. Eagles are marvelous birds, and I believe I once spotted one from the prison yard, but it could have been a hawk. Living where we do in Virginia at the foot of the Blue Ridge Mountains in the Shenandoah Valley, we sometimes see them but only rarely. On one occasion we had one land and sit in the field right outside our front door.
Today I am especially longing for that day when he sits this prisoner free.