I have a brother. I love him dearly. We were the best of friends at different times in our lives; we shared secrets, childhood games, I had crushes on his friends and he had them on mine, we had fun times, not so fun times, he would visit me while I was in college in Florida, we were roommates in B'ham - shared an apartment in our early 20s, thought we could conquer the world, or at least leave our mark on it for someone else to see one day.
Unfortunately, the decisions we made in our early lives took different life paths from each other. He began his battle with drug addiction and alcohol early and continued the battle off and on most of his life. [Not that I was an angel in my own youth, I had my time of "testing" , actually I don't think the testing ever ends ... , you know the saying ... there but for the Grace of God go I ... you just never know how that next "bad" decision will affect the rest of your life ... ] The choices he made in his life while drugs consumed his life have landed in a prison cell where he is likely to remain for the remainder of his life. The positive side of this, is that he has found his way home to the Lord in his new home and has found peace with his life's fate, even while still trying to free himself from the confines of his prison walls through the legal system, he knows he is right with the Lord and for this we are all grateful. He has found ways to honor the Lord in the prison ministries which are available to him.
Every couple of months or so, I make the 2 1/2 hour journey to the prison in St. Clair County and visit him. Every time I go, it's like they have added a new restriction, or something to the visitors to the prison. First, no white clothes, no white tennis shoes, then, later, add no open toe shoes and no sleeveless shirts, no jackets, then later, add, no jewelry except wedding band and watch, now only wedding band, we used to drive to the parking lot and go sign in and wait to be called so we can go through the search process; now, they stop all the cars before entering the parking lot, and they have dogs come and search your vehicles.
Guess whose car held up the line today??? The dogs found my car INTERESTING hmmm, could it be the smell of my own dogs, or the plant in the seat throwing them off, or the partially eaten biscuit wadded up in paper napkin and thrown back into the McD bag, from two days ago? No, my purse has to be emptied, my glove box had to be emptied the dogs are all over my car and in it too, and all I really want to, other than punch my brother for putting me in this totally embarrassing and humiliating situation, is to go dig a hole and quietly climb in ... finally they give up on finding any illegal drugs or weapons and let me pass, next is the "personal" search, last time I had to drop my pants to my knees - apparently they had complaints (it has taken me 4 1/2 month to brave another trip after that!) this time I only have to take my shoes/socks off, show them the bottom of my bare feet, undo my pants show them the top of my underwear, show them the bottom of my bra, pull it away from my skin and shake it, then I get patted down, of course all of this is done by female guards, in case any of you were wondering ...
Finally, I am allowed into the visiting area to await the arrival of my brother, who has to undergo a much more invasive search than I do just to have a visitor. Do any of you think you would be so totally ticked off at all you have had to go through just to see this person, that it would be hard to even be nice to him at first ... you would think so, but as soon as he walks through the door, I forget it all (temporarily at least), I just want to wrap him in my arms with a big bear hug and and enjoy every minute I have with him.
He beats himself up enough about what he's done with his life and besides, he's my brother and I love him.