In the first days when a person comes out of prison
the world seems completely new!
The air we breathe-in seems fresher.
Colors more vibrant.
Cars and phones we dont recognize,
and sounds we may hear for the first time ever.
Everything seems possible!
And anything we can think of becomes our temporary “goal”.
Such as a long, hot shower... alone,
followed up by a good nights sleep on a real mattress.
Yet as the first days go by, the reality begins to set-in.
There are expectations other people have of us.
Parole officers tell us when to be somewhere,
what things we must do each day to stay out of prison,
and sometimes even where we can live.
The freedom we so craved begins to look... well, confining.
We begin to look for work,
both because we want to earn an income,
and because our P.O. insists on it.
(Our parole may even be contingent on our finding work.)
Then, we start to realize the truth of what other people see when they look at us.
The job-interviews turn into “Thanks for your time”,
and even some apartment managers will deny our request for a place,
all because we made the mistake, perhaps even several times,
until we are forced to recognize that no one may ever let us forget
that our “label” is permanently affixed to our history:
Criminal. Felon. Convict. Parolee. Former Inmate. Ex-Prisoner.
However I personally know Christ,
so I know those “labels” can never accurately describe me.
But even then, I am limited by what choices I can make.
My ‘freedom’ isnt quite yet... well, complete.
One day, after my medical examination came back “clear”,
of any potentially harmful disease often transferred between prisoners,
I made a bold choice...
to offer my Bone Marrow to anyone in with a need who has a match.
I did this through an organization called: Be The Match (follow the link).
There has yet to be any notification that my bone marrow will be needed,
yet the joy is still truly amazing,
because I know I can make a choice that no one else could stop!
It is a choice to make a difference and potentially help someone else,
and it changes on more label that cannot be removed, ever...
There may never come a call for the need of my marrow,
but I am ready to give it anyway.
And it reminds that in some small way, I still matter.
And it can mean the same things for you.
Never give up hope, that your past failures can be somehow overcome!