Month: August 2018

Man of the Tombs

From time to time I’ve met with men in jail or prison who have had struggles with mental illness — depression, bi-polar, schizophrenia. Probably six years of my weekly visits were with men who heard voices. Some chose medication to help them deal with it, others did not.

At times I’ve met with men who were having  a major mental health crisis. In those times I am keenly aware of my own inadequacy.

  • I can listen
  • I can speak words of comfort
  • I can pray
  • I can let the staff know if someone is expressing thoughts of harming themselves


But ultimately my own abilities are quite limited. These interactions can be quite unsettling. At times like that I take comfort in the song lyrics written by Bob Bennett.

I invite you to read through the lyrics and think of the men and women who are incarcerated and struggle with mental illness.


Words & Music: Bob Bennett, © 1989 Matters Of The Heart Music (ASCAP)
Man of the tombs
He lives in a place where no one goes
And he tears at himself
And lives with a pain that no one knows
He counts himself dead among the living
He knows no mercy and no forgiving
Deep in the night he’s driven to cry out loud
Can you hear him cry out loud?
Man of the tombs
Possessed by an unseen enemy
He breaks every chain
And mistakes his freedom for being free
Shame and shamelessness equally there
Like a random toss of a coin in the air
Man of the tombs, he’s driven to cry out loud
Underneath this thing that I’ve become
A fading memory of flesh and blood
I curse the womb, I bless the grave
I’ve lost my heart, I cannot be saved
Like those who fear me, I’m afraid
Like those I’ve hurt, I can feel pain
Naked now before my sin
And these stones that cut against my skin
Some try to touch me, but no one can
For man of the tombs I am
Down at the shoreline
Two sets of footprints meet
One voice is screaming
Other voice begins to speak
In only a moment and only a word
The evil departs like a thundering herd
Man of the tombs, he hears this cry out loud
Underneath this thing that you’ve become
I see a man of flesh and blood
I give you life beyond the grave
I heal your heart, I come to save
No need to fear, be not afraid
This Man of Sorrows knows your pain
I come to take away your sin
And bear it’s marks upon My skin
When no one can touch you, still I can
For Son of God I am
Dressed now and seated
Clean in spirit and healthy of mind
Man of the tombs
He begs to follow, but must stay behind
He’ll return to has family with stories to tell
Of mercy and madness, of heaven and hell
Man of the tombs, soon he will cry out loud
Underneath this thing that I once was
Now I’m a man of flesh and blood
I have a life beyond the grave
I found my heart, I can now be saved
No need to fear, I am not afraid
This Man of sorrows took my pain
He comes to take away our sin
And bear it’s marks upon His skin
I’m telling you this story because
Man of the tombs I was