-I'm on death row; the state wants to kill me, but I'm innocent Can you help me get through these days?-
In this manner, I was invited to become Joe's pen pal. My agreement set in motion a long, arduous pilgrimage.
Little in my background seemed suitable for such an undertaking, yet I had personally wrestled with the issues of criminal behavior, corrections, and capital punishment. Also, as a Christian, I felt that there was a spiritual dimension to be explored. If execution was to come, shouldn't we deal with Job's question: -If a man die, will he live again?- Indeed I believe that all people should prepare for the aftermath of physical death.
Joe was an exceptional young man, an atypical inmate. He was a scholar-- in a place where such would be deemed next to impossible. He was a trusty--in a place where the rank-and-file would ridicule industriousness. He became a saint--in a place where unrepentant sinners were the norm.
The pending peril of execution became the linchpin for our ongoing exchanges regarding the issues of capital punishment and spiritual readiness for early death. For the Living of These Days was, for both of us, a living toward dying. But isn't that true for everyone?