While visiting family who works at Angola – Louisiana State Penitentiary today I was overwhelmed at the original “death row.” This place is called the Red Hat.
First, the overwhelming emptiness of this hall. The echo must have been emotionally debilitating. To walk in it seems the you could feel the hopelessness of the moment. Emptiness, loneliness, despair, hopelessness, and enormous lack of hope. Looking back at the picture now, I am amazed at the feelings that ran wild through my mind.
Second, I can’t imagine how it must have felt to have your life reduced to this small cold cell. The entire dimensions of the building would most likely not have exceeded 25’ X 50’. While I’m not sure the dimensions of the individual cells, I would estimate the size to be about 5’ X 7’ at best. You have only what you must have and nothing more. Their hopes and dreams we confined to that room. For many this would be the end of the road.
Looking back and processing what I saw makes me think of how many times I have let things in life confine me to a cell. While I was free to move around in life,I’ve allowed myself in many areas to be bound or locked into something much smaller than the dream that is in me. Maybe you have experienced this as well. You have let your past (good or bad), past emotions, past relationships confine you.
As I see it,we have become the Wardens to our own future. Many times allowing our God given hopes and dreams to become imprisoned by our own mindsets and opinions. The good news is that God has come to set us free. It does not matter what or where your bondage comes from, freedom is to be found in Christ.
Let me tell you today, the lock is unlocked. Open the door and walk out to find the greatest life that God has placed within you. Don’t take the greatness that’s within you to the grave with you.