Tuesday, January 17, 2012

The “Real” Parts of Prison Life

What do you picture in your mind
when you think of daily life in prison?
Do you see uniforms?
Cell doors with bars for windows?
Is it an image of gangs and violence?
Guards with guns - standing in towers?
Have you seen enough movies to get the idea
that being incarcerated is no fun, and even dangerous?
I rarely discuss the details of my life on the “inside”,
but today I will share some parts of what I experienced
and why I talk so little of it now...
Routines were a comfort: eat, exercise, read, wash, sleep, repeat.
Having Visitors was like a having birthday and Christmas combined!
I talked with few people each day,
often feeling lonely - but never alone.
Phone calls were like fresh oxygen from outside,
providing life support when breathing was difficult.
Separation from loved ones caused despair
and suicide was one release from pain.
Drugs were available, as were alcohol & cigarettes.
I witnessed rape, fights, and fights, and more fights,
stabbings with blood everywhere - so much blood,
like I had not seen since being in the military.
Inmate abuse at the hands of guards.
Politics exist here too,
along with exploitation of the weak and old.
And in there was inescapable death too.

But there was also beauty.
Not much, but enough.
Men prayed for and helped one another,
some to learn subjects for taking the GED exam.
We had ‘outside’ churches come to lead us in worship,
and though it was infrequent - it mattered to us.

This is where I want to spend my life now,
Encouraging Others.
I have always believed in the power of words
to build up and inspire people to More.
Through thoughtful leadership,
people can reach one another,
to help and not to harm.

Now my words are used less in the business of former jobs
and more to motivate people to move beyond limitations,
whether real or perceived so.
To spend my time in the “real” at the risk of the “ideal”
wastes my energy on what “was”,
and doesn’t look forward to what “can” be.

So I will not speak on the past,
but on how to change for tomorrow
no matter where we are in life.

God be with you.
And may the Lord give you whatever you ask for
as it is His desire to bless you and not to harm you.
May you be restored in all the areas where you have fallen away.
Now claim the victory in Him!
Affirm that you are receiving His blessings even now.
Have faith, and He will bless you with more.
More than you can ever think or imagine!
In Him, I know all things are possible.

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