Intestinal issues, mental illness, wrongful conviction...all in a day's work. Even on Sunday!
O day of rest and gladness,
day of joy and light
I love this old hymn, composed by Christopher Wordsworth back in 1862, but it doesn’t really describe typical Sundays of this octogenarian.
I look forward to being busy on Sunday! I’m a church musician, and the older I get the more it feels like music soothes my soul. Sunday the 19th was particularly busy, because I was the only keyboard musician on duty that day. I played both organ and piano during the service. When I finally returned home, it was time to crash. I mixed up a Bloody Mary, grabbed the Sunday newspaper, and plopped on the couch.
Within the hour a
telephone call. It was my friend Brad, in a Michigan prison. Could I find some
help for a fellow inmate? David, who lives in a cell right across from him,
has been experiencing physical problems for the past couple of years. When he
goes to the bathroom, a part of his bowel actually comes out, and so each time he
is forced to put his body back together again. It’s painful and embarrassing.
The state does nothing for him but provide stool softeners and sterile gauze. I
know the MDOC well enough to realize that there likely will be no positive
response. But, of course I’ll try. That’s why we’re here.
After reading my newspaper
I decided to check weekend email. It’s a good thing, because George was trying
to reach me. George wanted to discuss a fellow inmate who is mentally
challenged. Tim is now ready for parole. But, no one knows whether Tim has
family or friends who can take him. His mind isn’t clear enough to provide
answers. I’m not sure we can find someone or some agency that can help Tim, but
what a shame. The Parole Board will set him free, but no one wants him. Of
course I’ll try. That’s why we’re here.
Late afternoon, and the
telephone rang again! Sheesh, it’s Sunday, my friends…day of rest and gladness!
It’s a television investigative reporter from Detroit. He’s investigating the
alleged wrongful conviction of my friend Andrew. Andrew is one of our first
clients. He was in his 30s when I first called on him in prison. He’s in his
50s now, having served 29 years. Andrew had some learning disabilities and a
lower-than-normal IQ. I would not have been surprised to learn that the Detroit
police persuaded him to sign a confession, knowing that he could not read or
write. This broadcast newsman is trying to find the truth, and had questions
for me. Could I spare a few minutes? Of course I’ll help. That’s why we’re
It would be quite a stretch to call Sunday a day of rest.
Yet, it was definitely a day of gladness.
These people matter!