In yesterday’s email, “Laundry in the Ghetto” – I mentioned that while in the Bahamas, my son played a couple baseball games inside the grounds
of a prison. Today, let me elaborate…
On the afternoon of the championship, as parents and fans sat in attendance, a man who looked to be in his mid-50’s, sat behind the backstop wearing striped black-and-white pants.
What was he doing there?
He was announcing the game.
No, he wasn’t giving the names and positions of players. He was literally announcing what was happening on the field, out loud, for all to hear, as if he was on the radio.
He was filled with joy and laughter, having what appeared to be the time of his life. Perhaps it was. Then again, after speaking to him for a few seconds later on, I’m not so sure.
The prisoner used breaks in the action to give updates on LeBron James going back to Cleveland and the San Antonio Spurs hiring Becky Hammon, the first female to coach in the NBA.
He called the game right along with the umpire, but with much more detail.
“Strike one looking. And it was right down the pipe.”
“Three up, three down. Just like that folks.”
“Oh, he got a hold of that one. Knocked it all the way down to the Florida panhandle.”
And so on.
At times the man laughed out loud – showing great elation for the job he was allowed to do. At no time did he ever attempt to escape the scorching sun. And as soon as one game ended, he began announcing the next … ALL DAY LONG.
When our game ended, I walked his way and flashed a “thumbs up.” He smiled. The energy from his smile covered the whole ball field.
“Great job announcing,” I said. “Really enjoyed listening to you today.”
“Thank you. Thank you,” he said.
Then he uttered three words that struck me in the heart center.
“PEACE AND LOVE,” he beamed.
And before I could reply he repeated himself.
“PEACE AND LOVE.”
Hmmm. Made me wonder what the man was in prison for. Made me wonder if he’ll ever get out. Made me wonder why he’s still a prisoner.
The dude MEANT what he said MORE than anyone I’ve ever heard utter these type of words before.
His words weren’t a hollow, empty “love and light” slogan. They weren’t words from a hippy or do-nothing.
He didn’t just say “love” – or only say “peace.”
He gave both to me – in reverse order.
“PEACE AND LOVE.”
Made me think.
Why not “love” first?
Well, it’s not easy to love when there’s no peace, right?
So first and foremost, let’s have peace. And where there is peace, we can have love.
Love without peace isn’t love.
Where fighting exists, there doesn’t appear to be much of either.
Yet, this man found both INSIDE a prison.
He may never see another day outside this prison – yet in spite of this, he’s filled with joy. And he’s given priviliges no other prisoner enjoys.
Somebody took note of WHO this man is on the inside. He changed who he is – and whether he ever gets out or not – he knows that he
He may live inside a prison, but no one and no thing is keeping him from being a beam of goodness for all to see. And he’s totally free to say…
“PEACE and LOVE.”