And I got through it. The first visit, you have to go sit in the little booth and talk by phone through the glass. I had a good visit with the jailed dad, a shorter visit with the jailed son. (My parishioners are father and son.) I think the dad found it easier to talk to me -- but the son gave some indications that he was open to a relationship with me, so I guess I can take it from there. Next time, after my police background check, I should be approved for sitting in a little room with each one.
After the visit, I had to remind myself of some pastoral boundaries. I have to be extra careful not to chit-chat about either of these guys and what we say -- either to the other one (they're being kept apart), or to interested parishioners, or even to my wife (which is why this LJ helps with the processing). It's been a while since I've thought much about that (it's mostly automatic by now).
Not that we're talking any confidences to speak of. The point of visiting them is to be a witness to the love of God that does not abandon us, no matter what, not to try to "fix" their situation with my spiritual bag of tricks. So, I'm thinking that I'll have to treat this like a long-term hospital stay on their part. Probably ought to drop by every few days, at least, just to keep in contact. And we'll see what God uses me for; after all, it's not about results, but about faithfulness. And it's just part of the rich tapestry of the pastoral gig. You never know what you'll be called upon to do next.