It was Good Friday.
I was in a dark, silent cell with thirty other prisoners, in a foriegn country, and I did not speak the language.
Earlier we had been in front of the big gates to the stockade which was an old fortress. An armed guard was at each side of the gate holding a weapon with a bayonet at the tip that looked three feet long. With a bandolier of bullets crisscrossing the guards’ chest, it looked very grim.
The gates swung open, and in we went. In the moonlight I could see that it was a large square with cells all around the inside edge of the walls. I was taken to a cell and they opened the door and I was urged in. It was dark, but before the door was slammed shut, I could make out dozens of people, laying on the floor, crunched against the wall, and one just sprawled on top of a bench not too far from the door. As the door quickly closed, I stumbled to the floor right away and rolled under the bench.
In the darkness of the silent cell, I was so tired, drifting in and out of sleep. There were bugs crawling around and an occasional fury thing too. Eventually, I did fall asleep. Then I woke up!
My mouth and tongue were so dry. I needed a drink so bad. I could hear some dripping and trickling of water way in the back of the dark cell. Rolling out on one knee, I could just make out the other prisoners. Not wanting to disturb anyone, I slowly made my way to where that water might be. I found it at a stand pipe and cupped the drops in my hand. I gulped and sipped the water. The rest of the night I spent back under the bench I found earlier.
The next morning some special people got a few of us out of the place and to a safe place. Later that Saturday, I found myself in a chapel. I was not feeling well at all, and as I sat there, someone came and sat next to me. He said, “You look like —”. I interrupted him before he could finish and I said, “I know”.
He was a priest.
We talked about many things, every thing, the things that were right, the things that were wrong. It was a long conversation about everything, and so sorry for all of it. Reconciliation, confession, repentance call it what you want, but the next morning was the dawning of a new day, a new beginning. It seemed better somehow, a sign of Hope.
It was Easter Sunday