06/08/2020

One also must bear in mind that a prisoner's woes and hassles are not usually confined to him alone. His tenure costs friends and family money and time for shopping, goods delivery, and visitation. For instance, problems that John's wife had to face weekly, especially during the Covid-19 quarantine, to keep John supplied, were hardly trivial. It entailed shopping for and cooking enough food for a week, for him and his cellmates, carefully checking prison rules on what is allowed to enter the prison and how to find ways to sneak in disallowed items. 

Another stop for her is the pharmacy to acquire prescription drugs, which are a hassle to get into the prison but which are essential for her husband's health (especially given that prison infirmary drugs are mediocre or of interior quality). Sometime a good friend like Valentin had to go to a pharmacy in Santiago to get some hard-to-find prescription, or to go to one of John's doctors in Santiago to get the script itself, every six months, and then arrange for delivery to his wife who lived 45 minutes away by car. Without a prescription, the medications would not be eligible for the 80% discount provided through his private medical insurance. 

Valentin is a historic particular Baptist with theology identical to John's. The two labor together in a teaching ministry for historic Baptists online through the Zoom platform. Valentin is someone John trusts implicitly and is one of his closest friends. The feeling is mutual and Valentin can be counted on to do anything in his power to help John subject only to the constraints placed by his free time and resources. The two men stay in contact regularly in Spanish. John also has other close friends. And supporters like Joe, Ken, and Bert who are monolingual, in English. In reality, John has been blessed with so many good Christian, libertarian, and rightist friends that it would not do them justice to mention them briefly here. And John' predicament has brought out the best in these loyal people. Moreover, John and other inmates need shoes, clothing, plastic chairs, books, Tupperware, hangers, and sundry other items that require budget-minimizing shopping. Needs are endless for a dependent husband in jail and the wife and often other family members or friends must take care of him like a dependent child. 

Money must be smuggled in so he can have a cell phone, other foods, laundry service, lighting, cell shelves, and then keep putting money on his cell service provider SIM card. These items are regularly stolen and thus even more money is needed to replace them. The list of needs is ongoing and effectively endless. People simply have no idea until they have to experience a loved one in jail. Then there are the logistics (especially for non-drivers like John' wife) of taking the city bus (3.5 hours round trip for her) or Uber and Cabify, which entail considerable added cost. Pamela sits on the bus tired, even sleeping. She often thinks, "Week in and week out I dread waiting in line at the pharmacy and supermarket (especially under quarantine rigidities), suffer taking public transportation, and then have to deal with the long line of people (mainly women) waiting to have their bags inspected by the moody and sometimes quite disagreeable gendarmes." She wondered if her husband and others realized just how much she lacked sleep on Saturday morning, how boring the task-at-hand is, not to mention its monotony and the annoyance it provokes, plus the occasional fear she felt from having to go through dangerous parts of town." She often told herself, "This is hardly the fairy-princess life I signed up for, and not even a "normal" life. Indeed, nothing is normal about being married to John, whether good or bad. 

Yet to be faithful to what God requires of me as a faithful wife I forge onward week after week, and mortify the rage that sometimes rises in my mind against my husband. Does anyone know how hard this is for me?" She had some real and valid concerns. "Imagine how much harder it would be for Pamela had I not secured so many supporters providing for her financial and household supplies needs," John mused. Indeed, his ongoing efforts to maintain his base of supporters and provide for his wife in difficult times showed his love for her and his commitment to his biblical duties. Without a doubt, the hassle faced by his wife (especially) and many others is permanent and fastidious. Hence its fulfillment shows deep or sincere love for husband or, in the case of others, father, brother, son, friend, fellow-Christian, fellow-libertarian, etc. that serves to drive them over the long term. John was fortunate to have so many dedicated people supporting him: wife, some children, a cousin, and several (many) dozen friends, clients, political companions, and church friends, rallying to the call to help someone whom the great majority consider innocent and suffering wrongfully, not to mention intentionally denied proper medical care for serious illnesses. 

The ordeal thus serves as a tremendous, informative lesson for everyone, tending to undermine confidence in the state and its wayward system of criminal justice. It provided a means to undertake good works not just to support John monthly but also for his wife and the ongoing household needs while the breadwinner is imprisoned. One can see why for many people it is easy to forget a prisoner or want to be out from under the burden. Some in módulo 118 and most in 109 faced that tragic and doleful reality. The more John compared his situation relative to others around him the more he humbly appreciated his backers and their ongoing commitment to him. Even more impressive is that the longer the ordeal continued the greater the number of supporters became and the more intense the commitment of nearly all supporters.

Copyright John Cobin 2020

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