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"Proper Use of Toilet Paper"

When I was a corrections officer, I was always amazed at seeing new inmates adapt to their surroundings. They would begin by feeling dismayed and being cut off from society and the tools of daily life. Over time though, they would learn to adapt to their surroundings and creatively use the small list of items available to them. Their ingenuity was brilliant and resourceful!

Anyone who has worked in the jail or prison, knows what a toilet paper sculpture looks like or that there is usually contraband hidden behind toilet paper wall putty. You may have even had the privilege of seeing toothpaste used to treat pimples or a cassette player converted into a homemade tattoo gun. Of course your nose will never forget the smell of the world's worst wine made of orange juice, fermented into "buck".

What I learned from my time as a CO was that when we are given very little to work with, we must learn to make use of it. As a chaplain, often we are given little. We are called to the scene and asked to stand in the hallway, wait at the tape, or sit in the corner. We are assigned to be simply present. Sometimes we may feel overlooked and as if we have nothing to do.

But to the contrary, there is much to do. If we have nothing to do, then we missed our calling to "shut up and pray". Maybe there is a bottle of water to hand out, a door to open, a smile to offer, or a hand to shake. Maybe rather than feeling productive, we can be a presence, simply a loving presence pouring the Spirit of God throughout the scene. Maybe we have to be resourceful with the little we have.

Sometimes we have to look for the toilet paper and figure out how to make something beautiful for God. As you serve in the Chaplaincy, most of the time you will be called upon to look for mundane and small things that you can turn into something beautiful for God. You can do amazing things with toilet paper, and you can certainly do more amazing things turning the simple into the spiritual.

Remember to be resourceful. Remember that God loves you, and so does Chaplain Rich:)

Thank you for all you do to care for our community in the midst of crisis:)


Rich Robinson

Training Director South Carolina Public Safety Chaplains Assciation

Senior Chaplain Coastal Crisis Ministries

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