When you are in jail you aren’t allowed to whistle… people who whistle are usually CO’s and the inmates who whistle are risking being injured or even killed. Singing is fine though, even encouraged, making music and lyrics is part of life. When I asked a friend, Gerry, why you can’t whistle in jail he told me straight out “because birds are free and they whistle, you can only whistle when you are free.”
This has always stuck with me. Possibly because I own a bird and I have had many birds through my life. My bird likes to climb out of his cage and sit on his roof and whistles, or talk, he often says my sons name which is funny since the bird is terrified of the kids. Every night when Tweety comes out and sings a song or whistles along with me while I am cleaning or working I am reminded that having his door open gives him the love of singing, of being free. He is a domestic bird and always has been so to him the room is the world. He doesn’t know what horrors he would face outside of here and he is content in this room of ours.
It makes me sad though, that inmates can’t whistle, because when you’re serving a year or two or life and you find God all you want to do is sing form the rooftops that you are in fact free. You want to whistle Jesus Loves Me because you have learned that the walls that surround you are meaningless to your soul and that when you have achieved true freedom it doesn’t matter where you are, it simply means you are God’s child and you know it!
My friend, Gerry, has been in and out of jail now since he was 8 years old, one day over the phone we calculated his time served for all these petty things and it was nearly 40 years of his life, and yet each week when I receive a letter in the mail, or a new piece of art from him, I see how free he truly is because of his walk with the Lord. He makes life seem so simple and happy and easy when I know for a fact it is not. He draws me pictures of wildlife and the things he misses from the outside world. His letters are always about me, my family, how I am doing and my walk with God.
He is the Paul in my life. Writing to me from what many would call the depths of hell to encourage me through the power of the Holy Ghost. I remember writing to him years ago, that even Jesus had been arrested and therefore I could not judge. Part of me had been set free upon our friendship beginning and through the grace of God that freedom persists, the letters come, the art goes up and the prayers are felt.
I am free today, tomorrow and eternally all through the One who died in captivity.