Thursday, May 05, 2011

Now I Walk on Death Row

Last night was the beginning of a very busy month. Molly is graduating on May 29th, so last night was the first of many, many events as we countdown to the big day. Molly and I went dress shopping on Monday night in anticipation of the busy month, so we both wore our new dresses to her Senior Tea. It's an event put on by the local Women's Club at a church and attended by the senior girls and their mothers. It's an old tradition in Oconto Falls; my mom actually remembers attending hers with her mother forty years ago!

It's neat to see all these girls dressed up in their best dresses and hairdos. Most of the time they are in low-cut jeans with ragged hems and beat-up suede slides. We were served finger foods, including cucumber sandwiches, but also, because we are in Wisconsin, cheese curds, and cheese and sausage! I spent the meal hopping in and out of my chair as Molly had me take her picture again and again with different groups and friends. I didn't mind in the least. It was a lot of fun watching these girls enjoy their time together as they begin to realize it's coming to an end. Last night was the beginning of the good-bye to Molly's time in high school. Next up is Scholarship Awards, Choir Concert, Senior Banquet, Awards Ceremony, and finally Graduation. It's a good thing I changed the batteries in my camera last night!
Now I Walk on Death Row: A Wall Street Finance Lawyer Stumbles into the Arms of A Loving God
Now I Walk on Death Row by Dale S. Recinella is a thought provoking biography of one man's journey in faith. Recinella first learned about the unfairness of life when his younger sister, Jan, was crippled by a high fever that left her in a vegetative state, bringing his parents' life in the American Dream to an end. He grew up to be a lawyer, to always have enough money and to be in a position of control in life. His career takes off and he is soon handling billion dollar deals, but his marriage and family life suffers as he engages in a fast-paced lifestyle of drinking and extreme work weeks of 100+ hours. His younger brother, Gary, confronts Dale and helps him turn his life over to Christ. That decision soon leads him to wife Susan and they begin a new life together with three more children and life in a high-priced neighborhood with all the best things money can buy. Until Susan and Dale read the story of the Rich Young Man in the Bible where Jesus tells him to give all his belongings to the poor and to follow Him. This sets the couple, and their children, on a quest to discover: Does Jesus really mean what He says? The answer they finally discover sends them on a path of radical surrender and obedience that few readers can truly comprehend following. Eventually Dale works as a spiritual adviser in Florida's state prisons for death row inmates. Dale's journey is absolutely fascinating and his willingness to live as God commands, no matter the cost, is both inspiring and jaw-dropping. The writing is compelling, and I had a hard time putting the book down once I started reading it, because I truly wanted to see where God would take the Recinella family. I hope that Dale follows up this book with one focusing only on the stories of the men he has met in his time working on death row. The book takes on an urgency and depth when the Dale starts his work in the prisons, and I would love to read all of the stories he didn't have room to share here.