Recently I met someone who knew someone who had a life sentence in prison. This prisoner will never leave the prison she lives in. She was incarcerated around age 18 and her crime was severe enough, that she was given a life sentence. According to my new friend, this prisoner came to know Jesus in prison and has become a bright light and loving friend to many she encounters. Over the holidays, I decided to share some of that light and love with the prisoner. I had kids draw pictures for her, saying Merry Christmas, and we did an online order for a holiday care package that they handle right there in the prison, so you know she will be able to have and use everything in the package. It was effortless on my part. A few weeks later, I got a hand-written thank you note from her. She shared how suprised and blessed she was by the gesture, the gift, and asked if she could make me something crafty. She asked what my favorite colors were.
What are my favorite colors? Most of my days are so full and complex and involved, that I don’t even notice if I chose a blue mug or a green one for my coffee, if my favorite shirt is black or tan….but to someone who makes crafts and who never, ever will experience a full and complex day….a person’s favorite colors matter. Truthfully? They should matter to me too.
I sat and read a letter, written to me, on yellow legal pad paper, and it was written in curly, swoopy ink, like a teen-ager would write. No one writes letters anymore. No one asks what my favorite color is, and gives me pause to consider it as I hold a tri-folded sheet of notebook paper in my hand. This prisoner, who will become my new friend in 2013….has stumped me. What is my favorite color?
She is not an orphan, but she is a child of God, she has a plan and a purpose for her life, ordained by the One who knew she would eventually live out a life sentence in a penitentiary. God knew. God knows her and He knows all of the lovely things she does each day, despite her sin and guilt and shame. I am drawn to her, drawn to the possibility of getting to know someone new with a story so different from mine, a lifestyle so different from mine, and yet the exact same Father, the exact same love for Jesus.
I used to have a green bracelet I really liked. I think it broke. I don’t really remember. I do remember that when I wore it, it made me feel happy in a quiet, lack of reason, kind of way. I wore it even if it didn’t match my outfit. Maybe my favorite color is green. I think I’ll tell her green….when I write her back…..today.