A Visit to The Rock

Welcome to The Rock—Alcatraz.

Fortress. Military prison. Maximum-security U.S. penitentiary. Native American activist stronghold. Bird sanctuary. National Park … and as a dear friend would describe it, a place swarming with redemption.

On a day celebrating independence, our team decided to incarcerate ourselves, walking the very paths of high profile felons like Al Capone, George “Machine Gun” Kelly, and Robert “The Birdman” Stroud.

Located 1.5 miles from the shores of San Francisco, Alcatraz—named for its dense population of sea birds—is surrounded by the chilly Pacific waters and the Bay Area’s relentless winds.

The sights and sounds of the City taunted prisoners enslaved within the cold, concrete walls of the most infamous U.S. prison. The sheer proximity to freedom psychologically agonized inmates. It was seemingly at their fingertips, yet could not be grasped.

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Good behavior was rewarded with time out of the cages to enjoy America’s pastime.

Just beyond the chains dwell signs of redemption–gardens kept by inmates and new life on an island paradise for the birds.

This is where hope is felt. Hope that just one inmate found eternal forgiveness behind those steel bars. Hope that a stony place with a tainted past can spawn beauty from ashes.

And I’m confident it can.

“I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you; I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh.” -Ezekiel 36:26

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