Moving Forward

Perhaps there is some value in lengthy incarcerations. Recently I heard from two new friends who remain behind bars. They seem to know their own direction…but they have been in prison for years. One observed of some around him that “they hold in anger and resentment” and “wear every injustice.” The other wrote “Hating someone will kill you just as fast as over-drinking every day.”

These men have ridden themselves of anger. They are looking forward to the chance at a better life. They have discovered a sense of purpose, a desire to be different than they were before they came to prison.

The words that these men wrote resonated with me because I know another man who does not live in a prison surrounded by razor wire…though he might as well. He lives in his very own prison of anger and resentment. It has sapped his strength for anything productive. He is frozen in time, imprisoned in his own hell from which he has been unable to escape.

We are all prisoners in some way. All too often we get stuck in attitudes and behaviors that are unproductive. Friends, relatives, and mentors often help to direct us to more positive ways of living. What if we never knew anyone who valued us enough to show us the difference?

Whether you are behind the sliding door of a cell, or isolated from society by personal choice, YOU could be the person who could make the difference in another’s life. YOU have value. YOU are worth it. YOU are a child of God and there is a reason for you to be here. Don’t ignore your potential. Move forward!

Nowhere by Accident

“You Go Nowhere by Accident.” That was the title of the sermon today at church. There are no coincidences. You are exactly where you are meant to be.

I find this both comforting and exciting. Of course, I’m a “Morning Person” and my glass is almost always “half full.” Still, think about it. If you look for it, you can find the silver lining in any situation. On the other hand, the opportunity will probably have passed you by if you only spend your time grousing over your circumstances.

Most crimes are not committed unknowingly. Many crimes are premeditated. Many individuals, therefore, understand why they are in prison. Initially, the reason is often to be taught a lesson. But, if that lesson has been learned, what then? Be still and listen. The answer lies within each of us. Do we need to learn to be more patient, or is there simply more we need to learn? Is there someone we know who needs a listening ear? Can we offer help to someone nearby? Perhaps sharing a lesson learned will change someone else’s life for the better. You don’t need to be in prison to have this apply.

Be still. Listen to your heart. Look around you. There is a reason you are exactly where you are. You have a purpose, a reason for being. Take a moment…and BE!