The Norman Green Story
A friend gave me this story as just a small paragraph. Since I wanted to know for sure that this ever happened, I looked further, and sure enough, there was a Norman Green, and he did put himself into self-imposed imprisonment. Here is the story and what I take away from it.
Hide and Seek. It’s a simple game we have all played one time or another or many times in our lives. Two can play, or several can play. Variations of the game are Cops and Robbers, Kick the Can, and of course, family rules that make up personal family games. The familiar, “Ready or not, here I come,” rings out and the hidden hold their breath as the seeker walks by unaware. A sneeze is a dead giveaway! My son used to play when I was unaware of his hiding then jump out of a hamper or closet to the delight of shocked screams. It would have been terribly disappointing had we not gone in search of him once we found he was missing. That might be called self-imprisonment.
In 1974, in a small community in England, a man did just that. An 86-year old woman had been murdered. The police came to Norman Green’s home, arrested him as a suspect and took him to the local jail to question him. For lack of evidence, Mr. Green was released. Filled with fear of being falsely accused and put into prison, Green fled because when he arrived home, he spotted a police car near his home. He shivered in the cold and rain in a community park for three days. In the dark of night, he sneaked back home and found refuge in a shed where his wife found him and faithfully took him tea and sandwiches for several days. Finally, Green worked up enough courage to go into his own house and hid in a closet for three more days. The police were combing the neighborhood and in an effort to fully hide, Green cut a hole in the floor under a secret storage bench and stayed there under the house.
Severn and a half years passed. His wife got rid of all his clothes so a search of house would convince police that Norman Green had disappeared. With all shades pulled and curtains closed, Green sometimes came out of his hole to visit with his six children. Once a neighborhood child spotted him and told his parents but the story was so preposterous that no one believed the child.
In 1984 the murder was solved. Green released himself with the words, “Thank God it is over.” His self-imposed imprisonment ended. The days of struggle for the family ended. The game of Hide and Seek came to a halt with no real victor.
So what does this prove? Well, what imprisons you? Is it a spirit of unforgiveness? Or, is it a lack of surrender to an authority figure that enslaves you? It can be any number of things that hold us back. Sometimes it is simple, but egregious pride. Pride carries prison bars that are stronger than actual iron bars of confinement. Next time you say, “I can’t” it might be more accurate to say, “I won’t.” The “I won’t” is holding you back from the blessings of service to others. You are hiding but your seekers are unaware.
Jesus gives us liberty! It is wise to remember that “If the Son therefore, shall make you free, ye shall be free indeed.” It is sad that Norman Green lived in fear because he did not know about freedom in Christ. I wonder if anyone ever told him about salvation through the atoning blood of Christ.
Net time you feel imprisoned, remember Norman Green.