In my last blog I was telling you about my one week in Santa Fe Women's Detention Center, prior to being released on bail, as a result of the Grand Jury indictment in Dallas. You may be wondering why it took a week, as we hear about it just taking hours or a day when we read the newspaper or watch television. I can tell you, I was arrested on April 7, 2004 which was a Wednesday just prior to Easter weekend. The amount of the bond was not an issue as I was considered a low flight risk, it was set at $20,000 which translates to $2,000 plus I was allowed to remain living in New Mexico. But, I had at least a couple things creating delays. One was not having any experience in such matters whatsoever, my family and I didn't know how the system worked or I should say, how to work the system. The other of course was being Easter weekend and Good Friday, the system just wasn't working, everyone was taking off and coordinating efforts between Dallas, TX and Santa Fe, New Mexico was next to impossible. Judges in and out, attorneys here and there, families to be with, Easter egg hunts to administer....
As I previously mentioned, my first 32 hours were spent in a holding cell. Following the arraignment I was given a khaki-colored uniform and taken to the "back" where those staying were housed. The general population "pod" where I was assigned held 24 inmates with 2 to a cell, the individual cells sharing a day room and showers. There were tables and a television in the day room. This was a bit better than the holding cell but certainly not the comforts of home.
My first roommate was a young woman in her early twenties, also a mom. Evangeline was helpful, explaining how things worked in the system, as well as how to get along within the group of women. There are many unwritten rules for surviving.
The next day following the transfer was Good Friday. We had a visit from the Archbishop out of Santa Fe. He came into our pod and gave a very touching prayer asking for redemption of our lost souls. I had tears in my eyes and just held on tight. I wanted to be with my two sons. I didn't even get to say goodbye to them or assure them I love them and would be home soon. When they took me away from my home the morning of the 7th, Nate was still sleeping and Brandon had spent the night with a friend since it was spring break. Prior to the Archbishop's visit I kept pushing my boys out of my mind because the pain of possibly losing them was more than I could endure. With the Archbishop there and God's presence feeling closer than ever I could no longer avoid those thoughts and feelings.
The grief felt unbearable as though it was pressing in on my heart and I could barely breathe. How could those men who falsely accused me be so cruel? How could their lies have the power to rip me away from my dear family? How could people be nothing more than objects to discard when you are finished with them? Was it just cold-hearted business or was there more? Was there something else that I had in my possession or was in my memory that they were afraid of my telling? What was their motivation to destroy another human beings life on this earth? If I couldn't think like them, then how could I ever figure this out? In His time, and His way, would God give me the answers and with this, the understanding, grace and protection to move forward? This was my prayer.
As time passed, I talked and shared with more of the women. I went to every Bible study and became more hopeful. A couple women were interested in the Dialogue process that we used at The NOAH Project. We used this process with the parents of the children and our staff to explore beliefs we held about our special children, discard beliefs that did not help us or our children and decide on new beliefs to replace those that no longer served us. On an individual basis I worked with each of these women. One woman explored her self destructive choices with drugs and the other woman decided to explore her tendency toward engaging in abusive relationships.
After the dialogue, each woman commented on how refreshing it was to just be asked questions to help explore and to not be judged. They were used to everybody giving them advice but this was the first experience they had where the person (me) trusted them to have their own answers and to know they were their own best expert. I smiled as I knew they were building their own skills to help themselves and this was just a beginning if they so chose. I suggested a couple books of Barry Neil Kaufman's if they wanted to go further with this learning. I was inspired by their personal strength and their wanting to heal and grow their lives.
I was bonded on Monday at 4:00 p.m. but it actually took two more days for Santa Fe to release me. The Judge in Santa Fe had set a "no bond", and had given Texas 10 days to come for me....which they did not do....it took an additional amount of time to get that cleared, bringing my stay to exactly 7 long days (and long nights) which at the time seemed like an eternity. Even then I'm sure God knew I would have to endure much MUCH more before this nightmare was over. I remind myself often (then and now) God does not give us more than we can handle and He is always with us, we are not alone.