These are real text messages from my daughter that I read after leaving Baltimore City’s Youth Detention Center:
- Daddy, where are you?
- Call me back HELLO!!!!
- I’m really worried you’re not responding
- Daddy please just write me back
- Are you dead?
When I finally called her, she was legitimately upset with me so I had to promise to let her know whenever I won’t have my phone. I felt horrible that she was so worried about me. This is just one example of the mental gymnastics I go through trying to fit everything I can in the 24 hours God gives me each day.
Where I struggle is what many people would call “work-life balance.” I have no idea what that means. There is no balance. When I’m at work late I feel like I’m cheating home; when I’m home and there’s outstanding work that needs to be done, I feel like I’m cheating work. I can’t even begin to think where service fits into the equation.
When I started with unCUFFED I was self-employed and free to leave work as much as I desired. I welcomed being able to lock my cell-phone away for an hour or so and not have that distraction. Today I’m in a corporate role with responsibility for a 24/7 operation. The ability to leave in the middle of the day is non-existent which leaves only evenings. Of course, my evenings are spent with karate lessons, receptions, after-school activities, helping with homework, cooking dinner, and an occasional visit to the Brass Tap.
I know the boys in jail need Jesus and if we don’t make the introduction, who will? In Luke 10:2 Jesus says, “The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few.” I try to make it inside on as many Tuesday nights as possible. I can only describe these visits as the most emotionally draining hour of my week but there’s always the little victories that gives me hope. Maybe it’s a boy that comes to Bible Study that we didn’t expect or one of the guys remembers the details of our lesson from the previous week. Whatever the little victory is it gives me hope and that hope is what keeps me coming back.
Chris Duncan is an Executive with Exelon, a husband and father with a young family but most importantly he is a faithful servant of Jesus Christ. He is a man with human limitations but he makes time to love and serve incarcerated boys with unCUFFED.