I listen to a lot of public radio. One of my favorite programs is Snap Judgment, a weekly collection of stories on topics ranging from the circus to forgiveness. I recently heard what may be the most touching segment yet, prison chaplain Chris Hoke on what happened after the jail he worked in issued a no-contact order. You can listen to Chris’s story here.
(I’ll warn you, this one’s a real tearjerker. I first listened to it while I was out running, and started bawling on Micheltorena Street. I played it later for my husband in the car, and for a minute he could barely see the road through his emotion.)
Chris begins by talking about what life as a prison chaplain was like before the no-contact order. Tough guys, gang members and drug dealers, would come to his Bible study just for the hugs and the hand-holding–this was “the one place where [they] could receive such a healthy touch.” In his one-on-one visits, Chris, recalls, the men never wanted to let go of his hand–even to wipe their noses. These prisoners were big, scary, guys, but Chris wasn’t scared. Instead, he says, “I didn’t deserve this,” didn’t deserve the way the men opened their hearts to him. For maybe the first time, Chris understood what the word sacrament meant. Read the rest of this entry »