And I felt very sick again when I walked into that prison kitchen and peered down into the boiling vats. I asked the cook to explain why they were boiling everything - the fruit, the vegetables, and the meat. It was because it had all started to rot after no one would buy it in the old town market in Quito. So they sold it to the prison officials who tried to boil off the rot before serving it to the prisoners.
As I walked out of the prison doors I thought of the guards telling me they did not need capital punishment. When they wanted to shoot someone they just told them they were free to go, shot them in the back, and reported it as an attempted escape.
But no one was shooting at me as I looked up at the statue of the Virgin Mary. I was free to walk out of the prison and out of the shadows of evil and darkness that shook me to the core on that damp March afternoon.
It was at that very moment that I recognized the wrongfulness of my hardened atheism. I knew then that those dark shadows were conclusive proof of the existence of the sunshine. Without the Sun I would not know what darkness was. And without the Son I could not escape it.
The reader who inspired this column asked how I look at tragedy and evil in relation to a loving God. That is simple: I look at tragedy and evil in relation to a loving God.