I went to prison on Saturday. I was all set to meet “the guys” doing CR there. Weeks of anticipation, no years of anticipation were about to be ended as my new journey began. I drove across the miles of empty desert and listened to worship music, trying to prepare my heart and soul for what was to come. My current “go to” worship song was playing on the radio as I parked the car. I soaked it in, said a pray, and headed for the entrance.
When I got into the employee entrance the CO at the desk asked me about my business there today. He took my ID and ran it through the computer. Then he just looked at me. Then he looked through the papers in front of him. Then he asked me again why I was there. We ran through this cycle several times. It was explained to me that I had gate clearance, but no escort. No one had alerted them to the fact that I would be there on that day.
Phone and radio calls were made and eventually a Lieutenant came to talk to me. We did the same dance moves from my earlier interaction with the men at the entrance desk and when the music ended we were in pretty much the same place: gate clearance and no escort.
I saw that I had a few choices. I had done everything in my power to follow protocol (including calling ahead of my visit). I had driven an hour to get there and I arrived 30 minutes early to give plenty of time and not cause stress on anyone. I wore the proper clothing. I even brought my whistle. I was squared away and then some. They were not. It was on them to fix this and not waste my time, right?!? WRONG!
The other choice that I had was to be gracious. I chose to model calm and understanding. I chose to be reasonable and let them know that what they were doing was more important than what I was doing. I let them know that I had waited for 16 years to be standing in just such a spot so one more week was not a big deal at all. I said nothing about wasted time and gas. I chose, right then and there to…