Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Home at Last

Unbelievably, it has been 100 hours since my husband's release from the land of confinement. Our day didn't go exactly as planned (imagine that!) mostly because a blanket of fog threw itself on our little town and held my flight hostage. Instead of greeting him at the prison as he walked out, I had to wait a few extra hours for him to fly home. Our reunion took place exactly where I didn't want it to: in the tiny airport of our hometown; the hometown that's served as the stage and backdrop for all our recent family drama and where the members of our small community at once seem to play the role of audience, judge and critic.

Our day was filled mostly with work as our clients arrived only a few hours later. We had a "to-do" list a mile long, but we were trying to be thankful that we could at least tackle it together. As soon as we were hand in hand, shouldering the world seemed like more of a grand adventure than an obligatory burden. I felt complete for the first time in a long time. As for our first night together, it was all at once new and old, familiar and unfamiliar; it was a sweet evening marking both the beginning and the end.

Because of the conditions of my husband's probation, there are a lot of new boundaries to navigate through. First of all, his probation officer is playing God. A role I hear many of them feel compelled to play. My prayers are that this man takes a closer look at the sentencing report and realizes that his interpretation of it is completely off the mark. If he does not come to this conclusion on his own, then we'll be happy to watch him answer to a judge in a hearing. But truly, I'm praying God sends a lightening bolt down from the sky, zaps the probation officer on the head, and tells him to humbly remember his place. I'm trying to give this all to God, but I keep wrangling it out of his hands into mine like I can actually do something about it. I keep telling myself to be anxious about nothing... be anxious about nothing...

When I visited my husband in prison, I was shocked at how he was treated. It was difficult watching the guards give him commands like he was mere poodle. On the outside, it is more of the same. He was to report to his probation officer at 8:00am on the first business morning after his release. Of course, he set aside the urgent task of training in some key staff members that were currently walking around in a daze, wasting our time and money, so he could make the appointment. When he arrived, the probation officer was out of town and his little helper made my husband fill out the same paperwork he filled out twice before. Little Helper then rescheduled my husband at a time where he will have to put more staff training aside. When he asked if the probation officer was out of town often, the response was, "why do you want to know?" Another suspicious government worker assuming that because a person is an ex-con, they are inherently evil and will suck the blood from their polyester-clad body only to be left in a decapitated pile of skin on the floor if they are civil enough to offer a straight answer or, heaven forbid, a little respect.

After two days in our home together, I had to come back down to see our kids through the end of the school year while he single-handedly runs the business. Now there is not only air, but a big old ocean and thousands of miles that distance us. My sheets are once again cold, and I can never seem to get as comfy on my pillow as I do on his arm.

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