Prison Diary: Suffering

Given the size of our study, we have about sixty guys in the room, it's hard to have intimate, vulnerable conversations. It's one of the things we wish we could do, but it's a trade-off. Limit the study to the few, or take as many as we can? We take as many as we can, and even then we have the longest waiting list to get into the study of any study currently going.

But this week, Nate got very vulnerable. We were talking about our ups and downs in this Christian walk, the way we fail over and over again.

Nate spoke up and started talking about his struggles with depression, dark moods that suddenly descend upon him and bring him to despair. The pain of being separated from his family. Being unable to hold his daughter in his arms. The weight of guilt and shame when he morally stumbles and falters.

The emotion with which Nate communicated all this was powerful and brought him to tears. I've never seen a more vulnerable and real moment in all the years I've been coming to the study.

I know it's hard, in policy debates, to generate compassion for criminals. But when you see suffering face to face you have to have a pretty hard and calloused heart not to be moved.

I wish the world could have seen Nate's tears on Monday night.

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