8 AM: I slid my new collapsible baton and its holder onto my brand new Sam Browne belt. I snapped the baton open a few times, and it made a metallic clacking noise as it extended. The noise is a very distinctive sound, and would give me the creeps if I weren’t the one holding the baton.
8:30 AM Sergeant Lopez and Corporal Chavarrin, two correctional officers with the Imperial County Sheriff’s Department, begin putting us through our paces.
They start us out with some light stretching…
8:38 AM Have you ever heard a muscle cry out in pain? I am positive that I heard my thigh muscles screaming, “We give! Please, make it stop!”
9:00 AM Sgt. Lopez is showing us how to snap the baton open. There are 17 ½ ways to open the baton. I think it was 17 ½. It may have actually been 6 with each hand, but I lost count. I was concentrating on not letting the baton fly out of my hand and impaling Cpl. Chavarrin.
9:30 AM We are beginning the actual baton drills now. There are four zones, and Sgt. Lopez and Cpl. Chavarrin are showing us where the zones are. Easy enough. Now we have to start swinging the baton. The baton snaps out, and I go to work on Zone 1 with my right hand. Pop, pop, pop, the baton hits the pad that Cpl. Chavarrin is holding. My arms are still fresh and it is easy to hit the bag.
9:50 AM Now it is time for Zone 2 with my right hand. Again, the pad pops as I hit it over and over. This isn’t so bad…
10:32 AM I am beginning to wonder what a heart attack feels like. Okay, it can’t be a heart attack since it is only my arms that are hurting.
10:43 AM I am trying to keep from crying like a big sissy-la-la. I have whacked my own elbow twice, and believe me, it hurts like you don’t wanna know. I slink to the back of the line and try to put on a good front to the deputies standing around me. I think my sobbing tipped them off to the fact that I was hurt…
11:30 AM We have finished the combat drills and I am going to check and see if somebody has filled my baton with lead when I wasn’t looking.
1:25 PM Okay, somebody is definitely messing with my baton! It started out weighing about 8 ounces, and now it must weigh ten pounds.
2:13 PM Cpl. Chavarrin looks at me and asks me if I need help carrying my baton to the side of the gym. It now weighs somewhere in the vicinity of 7,000 pounds, and I am looking for a forklift to help me get it to my car.
Okay, it wasn’t really that bad, but the baton did seem to get heavier as the day wore on. My arms were sore for about three days. My legs are still sore, and may never recover.
Sin is a lot like my baton. We get involved in little sins, and think we can handle them without any problems. But as we get deeper and deeper in sin, the days take their toll, and things get out of hand.
Doug Lyon wrote, “There is a small tree which grows in Southeast Asia known as the Judas-tree. From its branches grow gorgeous blossoms. These blossoms look like scarlet sunbeams. The brilliant beauty of the crimson flowers attracts thousands of tiny insects. Wild bees also try to draw honey from their exquisitely shaped cups. But every insect that comes to rest on the edge of its blossom is overcome. It is overcome by a fatal drug which the flower-juice contains. And the insect drops dead upon the ground below. So, when you walk around a Judas-tree, you often see the soft grass littered with dead and dying insects. The Judas-tree reminds us of sin. Sin may look bright, pleasant, and attractive to our eyes. It may appear harmless to indulge in it. But lurking behind the pleasure of sin is a fatal poison. And sin is a poison—a wickedness that acts as a drug to take away your motivation to live for God.
Jesus came to free us from our sin, and save us from its ravages. It is a pretty simple task to accept His forgiveness. Just pray this prayer, “Jesus, I am sorry for my sins and the wrong I have done. Please forgive me and help me to live for You.” Yes, it really is that simple. Then seek out a pastor or Christian friend and get started on the road of true freedom. You can even email me or get me on Twitter. Believe me, I know all about how heavy that baton can get.