Prison is my purpose

Thomas - Pleasanton, California
Entered on April 29, 2008
Age Group: 50 - 65

“Prison Is My Purpose, This, I Believe”

I was a Correctional Sergeant for sixteen years at Pelican Bay State Prison, in Crescent City, CA. On the morning of May 9, 2005, I suffered “Sudden Death Cardiac Arrest” less than five minutes after arriving at work, and was found dead, lying on the floor of my office. On duty staff revived me. My fiancée, now wife, Lori, got a call from our pastor, while she was at her job in Walnut Creek, informing her of my condition. She was told that they were totally uncertain if I was going to survive. She went home, packed and drove the 400 miles to Crescent City, so she could be at my bedside. She found me unconscious, with tubes sticking out from everywhere they could stick out from me. She stayed by me through my medivac flight to the best cardiac hospital in the area – Medford Oregon. She was there when I finally regained consciousness two weeks later, on May 24. She was there through three more weeks of rehabilitation, and moved me into her apartment in Pleasanton where I continued my rehab. We had been scheduled to get married May 28, 2005, and she had to go through canceling all those arrangements – our marriage license even expired. We finally did get married November 6, 2005, during the regular Sunday morning church service. Can you imagine what people thought as they came to church that morning, read the bulletin and saw “WEDDING OF …” ???

Well, I’ve had three years now, to reflect on the events that unfolded, and have been amazed at how God’s plan all came together. And He did indeed work in mysterious ways, this wonder to perform.

This, I believe.

First, He got the very best Trauma Nurse in the county, to transfer from the local hospital to the Emergency Room in the prison’s infirmary. Jim was also a Harley ridin’ buddy of mine… Then, He helped the union to win an issue – which allowed Sergeants to bid for their jobs based on their seniority. Next, He put “Infirmary Sergeant” on the list of jobs open for bid. He also gave me the seniority, by only two numbers out of seventy-five, to get this job. Then, when that had all settled in (about three months) He “gave” me a heart attack, under conditions that He had prepared, which allowed me to survive. None of this just happened by “coincidence”.

This, I believe.

My cardiologists in Crescent City, Medford and subsequent follow-up screenings have all said that people just don’t survive what I had, and the only reason I did survive was due to both the level of care I got and the immediacy with which I received it. The best professional medical staff available and the best professional medical equipment available were literally seconds from me. All carefully placed there by Him.

This, I believe.

The members of the infirmary staff, both custody and medical, received the California Department of Corrections “Medal of Valor, Unit Citation” for reviving me, and saving my life.

My task in the ensuing months, now turned to years, has been to learn WHY I survived. God must have some great task He wants me to complete before calling me home. Ephesians 2:10 tells us that we all have chores to do, which God has prepared for us in advance.

This, I believe.

I have recently come to believe that the task He has set aside for me is to return to prison, and take His Word to a demographic group of people that is in desperate need. In a place where so few are willing to go. In a place where most are afraid to go. I am willing to go there. And I’m not afraid to go there, because He tells me that even though I walk through the Valley of the Shadow of Death, His rod and His staff will comfort me.

This, I believe.

I am now going through the lengthy process of joining a prison ministry team.

God is good – all the time. And, all the time – God is good.

More than anything else,

This, I believe.