Another day begins in my mundane world of concrete and steel. A pigeon flies by my window. I look down to watch it land on the ground below. I watch as it searches for something to eat.
I can see the whole street from my vantage point, and I watch with curiosity. Back in 1989 when I owned a paint and body shop, I could have told you the make and model of every vehicle. But that was before I came to prison with a long sentence. Now I don’t know what any of them are.
I stare out the window of my cell for hours, watching the people as they go about their business. I do long to be part of that world again; my heart is so heavy and troubled. I miss so many things…life is passing me by.
I’m waiting for the arrival of a young woman. She and her two boys come to the corner bus stop every day. She reminds me of my daughter, though maybe a little taller. The boys who walk beside her look about the same age as my grandsons.
I’ve never met my grandsons, but I know their names and I have faded pictures of them. Every night I ask God to make a way for me to be part of their lives. I haven’t given up hope.
Finally, the young woman and her two boys appear. She turns the corner, holding their hands as they walk to the bus bench. I see a youngster on rollerblades, speeding down the sidewalk. He’s heading straight for them. The woman’s watching the traffic; she doesn’t see the skater. I start banging on the window to warn her, but she can’t hear me—I’m on the seventh floor. I feel so helpless.
“God, help them,” my heart screams. The mother flinches just in time. She tightens her grip on the boys’ hands and jerks them out of the path of the skater. The collision is avoided. “Thank you, Lord,” I whisper.
They look tired. “She needs a car,” I say to the Lord. The smallest child walks to the curb and peers down the street. The mother motions for him to sit beside her. He obeys. She ruffles his curly black hair and gives him a big hug. Embarrassed, he pulls away. I picture her pretty smile and her sweet laugh. My heart aches with fond memories of my daughter, always smiling. An unexpected tear rolls down my cheek. I wipe it away and watch as the bus arrives and takes away the lady and her sons.
Alone in my cell that night, I read Jesus’s words, “Do not let your hearts be troubled. You believe in God, believe also in me” (John 14:1). They remind me that, whether in prison, a hospital, a wheelchair, or anywhere discomfort lives, believing in Jesus brings peace.
I remember that Jesus knows my troubles. He sees my tired frame; He holds my tears. He knows my needs and those of that lady. Our needs are no match for His love and grace.
His presence, His promises, and His Word are life to me.
The next day, I watch again from my window. The bus arrives, but the lady and her children are nowhere to be found. “Where are they, Lord?” I wonder. Then I see them. She pulls up in a beautiful red car, to the spot the bus just vacated. The boys sit next to her, seatbelts wrapped tightly around them. They click their fingers and bob their little heads to the music in their world. It’s a beautiful sight.
I smile. It doesn’t matter that I don’t know the make or model of her car; I know all I need to know—God is good. He cares for us all. He hears our prayers and meets our needs. I praise Him from my window as the woman drives away.