Saturday, February 5, 2011


When my sister was little she would sing a song:

Beautiful, beautiful

Jesus is beautiful

And Jesus makes beautiful

Things of my life.

Carefully touching me

Causing my eyes to see

And Jesus makes beautiful

Things of my life.

Those words came to mind yesterday after talking with Charlie. I wasn't suppose to have a personal conversation with Charlie. I actually wasn't even suppose to leave my house. As I left for my prison class yesterday morning, I got stuck in the snow in my subdivision. After twenty minutes of pushing and pulling my car was freed and I was on my way. When I arrived at the prison there was a miscommunication and all the guys in my class were told that they could go to "rec" because it was canceled. There were only two guys that would be available to come. I was asked if I wanted to do the class with only two people. Sure why not I am here.

So my class consisted of Chris and Charlie. Chris is a rather quite fellow who I didn't know well. Charlie I have had in five classes now and have spent considerable time with. I have written about Charlie in the past. He has become a friend and an inspiration to me. When I first met him he told me there is one thing I can do "I cook meth and I damn good at it."

Well I have found that isn't true Charlie is good at many things. During a field day Charlie led bingo and he earned a nickname from Jon and I. The nickname was "coach." He acted and looked the part of a coach that field day. Charlie was living out the life that he had missed out for so many years.

Charlie told me yesterday he started using drugs when he was 9 some 40 years ago. His life was incomplete and he turned to drugs to deal with pain. Drugs had been a part of his life ever since. He had tried to live a double life and had been successful to some degree but he had always fought with this addiction. The addiction had affected his family in many negative ways.

He had been in and out of prisons for some time, but this time had been different. He shared yesterday that if they tested me now for drugs I would be clean. I haven't been able to say that for quite some time.

Then came the line "I wish my family could the see the person I have become." Charlie is new creation, not only has he developed many new habits, and become disciplined. He has become a follower of Jesus. He is studying the words of Jesus, he is using the gift and passion God has given him. Charlie is a natural counselor and encourager. Charlie is one of the people I thought of when I wanted to quit last year when I ran my 5 mile race. (not long for some, almost killed me).

What a priviledge I have had with my friendship with Charlie. I have seen the person that God has created him to be. All the years of drugs had hidden that person.

What will happen when Charlie gets out? Who knows, he could go back to drugs, but I am not thinking about that. I am thinking about the person Charlie is today. The influence and encouragement he has on the 30+ guys in his unit. The wisdom and bluntness that comes from his mouth.

His family is staying away from Charlie right now, it is somewhat due to fear of what they are doing and who Charlie is becoming.

As I drove home yesterday those words of the song ran through my head. Jesus is doing beautiful things in Charlie.


Michael Bustos said...

I know that song very well from a record I had as a kid. Salty the singing song book.

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