Too Much or Too Little
Its almost 11:30am as I share this, and I just finished rereading the blog about “Do Prisons Lie”. I went to bed late last night, after writing it, wondering if I did something good in sharing that.
Usually when I write a blog late, or during the evening, I think about what I shared before I go to bed. I wonder to myself, did I do a good thing, did I help somebody?
This is important because often times when I blog, I have to wonder if anybody is “getting” it. Not in a bad or ignorant sense, but in a way that I wonder if I am making a strong enough impact on my writing.
The foundation of sharing blogs is based on the idea that I believe I can help you understand a little about prison, and to encourage you by building some hope, then building faith. If I can do these things, then surely I am doing the right thing.
But the blog I wrote last night was indeed a direct attack on the prison system, and the inability (and apathy) when it comes to inmates. The problem I have is that those inmates are YOUR loved ones. And as one that was once there, I know how very frustrating it can be when the prison ignores their own rules simply to make your incarceration as tough as possible.
This bothers me because the idea of prison is to also rehabilitate a human being, to “point him” in a better direction. Society expects every inmate to walk out of a prison with a halo around their head, and to walk on water and heal the sick…but those same people who expect that will most often refuse to give that same person a job, but will sit right there in front of the church pews singing about “Amazing Grace”.
And on the other side, in the prison, you have administrators who are not interested in the slightest idea that SOMETIMES an inmate can be right, that they have the ability to reason and to make a point. These administrators like to keep all the inmate problems “under the roof” so that they are in complete control of the thoughts of the inmate, while telling society how terrible these people are.
Stuck in the middle is the inmate, who seemingly can’t win for losing.
Now don’t get me wrong, there are LOTS of people in prison who I would not trust a wooden nickel to, but not every inmate is like that. Many guys and women made a mistake, and wish they could get a second chance. Some are decent people who had a set of bad circumstances or made a bad decision…I wager lots of YOU are imperfect too.
So its hard for an inmate to try to make a stand for himself when so much is against him. This is what I encountered while in prison, with excuses from DOC about the rules, when they were clearly not interpreting them correctly.
I wrote that blog in high emotion, because I do remember how I felt when I got that letter, and others like it. You try to do right, you try to help others, and the prison punishes you for doing the right thing. Its not what THEY want you to do, but it clearly is the honorable and respectable thing to do. A polar opposite from what the prison wants, because they want to be able to control every facet of the inmate, including his individual thoughts.
So I wrote that blog, making accountable the individuals that made my life that much harder than it should have been. They have no right to make my incarceration any tougher than the sentence alone. No administrator in ANY prison has that right. But yet there it was, and it happened often.
I went to bed after that blog, wondering if I overdid it, or if I did the right thing. Will anybody care about what I wrote? Will it help anybody? Its sure to tick off some administrators of DOC, but so what? I went to bed not really feeling so accomplished.
I sat in a chair in my bedroom, and wondered, “Did I do enough today”? It really concerned me, because I am hoping I am doing a good thing, that if God Himself was to judge me, then He would (hopefully) say that I am on the right track. Did I write out of selfishness, did I write to glorify myself, did I write out of emotion, rather than wisdom?
It kinda got me worried, because when I start going down that lane, I am no longer any good to anybody in my blogs. I have to try to give you my best, because in that I can help you, but also in that I am really hoping to earn an revenue this way. It has to be done in good faith, to help others, if this is to work.
So I was worried a bit, wondering if maybe I over did it, or maybe not enough. I think it was about 2am, maybe a little later, when I got up and went to the bathroom. Our house was very quiet and dark as I went to the hallway leading to the bathroom. On the way, I noticed one of our face trimmers…you know, one of those rechargeable hand held grooming kits for men. I had it on the rechargeable stand, and there was a small green light, indicating that it was recharging, or recharged.
That green light seemed like a beacon in the pitch black, almost so that I had to squint my eyes. Its funny, during the day, that same light is on, and nobody takes notice at all, you barely see it, nor notice it. But in the darkest time, that tiny light seemed like it had 100 watts.
It was then I was reminded of something, something I had heard before.
Sometimes the things we ignore and think are insignificant can often be of tremendous use in the right circumstances. In the darkest of times, we don’t need a big flashlight to cut through the night, sometimes the smallest of lights is enough.
Prisons are very dark places folks, and prison issues, to be sure. I believe that God understands that, and also that there are millions of people who pray for help, whether they be inmates, or parents of inmates, or husbands of inmates or pen pals of inmates or anyone with a loved one in prison. I cannot imagine how many prayers have gone up to God for someone in prison. Hundreds of millions I suppose, maybe billions of prayers.
Surely God has received them.
But in a very dark place, who does He send to help people? I mean, whom shall He send, if NOBODY wants to go? You do understand that He works through people, so He is able to move through others to help others. But in a very dark place such as prison, it seems hard to get help, because after all, prisons are places for the condemned (carnally speaking).
Prison support sites are full of people with problems, seeking help, prayer and miracles. Prison support sites can often be just as dark as the prison themselves, because there are few “lights”.
But I think we forget how God works…in that while we are looking for some 1000 watt search light to blast away the darkness…God often works with the very simple, the things that the carnal mind would clearly overlook, and ignore.
In the darkest of nights…even a single candle casts a powerful light.
In my house last night, that tiny green light was actually less than a single candle. You can’t read by that light, it was just too small, but in the middle of the night, with everything off, it was bright enough to cut through the darkness. In fact, although a weak light, it was bright enough to cause me to squint for a second or two.
In a brilliant show of wisdom, this is how God can get us to help one another. Sometimes folks, I kick myself for not being able to do more, some days I really want to write more, to do more, so I can help you. But sometimes I just feel…well, bland. Not lazy, because I love writing, but sometimes I have to work myself to share a blog, or to write about a specific subject. I know I can do much more, but I don’t.
I don’t want to overdo myself, but I want to give you my best. So sometimes I wonder if I did enough for you. I think that little green light reminds me that even if we give a little, in God’s hands it is much. I say this knowing I am not perfect, but I say this with my heart. I am doing the best I can to help you, to give you hope, to build some faith, but in the whole scope of things, it seems quite small.
Sometimes I wonder, if I am really doing a good thing, then I should be prospering, after all, you shall know a tree by the fruit, right? When I started blogging a couple of years ago, I thought I would soon be financially secure, jet setting across the country, taking nice cruises, and sipping ice cold smoothies….
I don’t drink alcohol folks…
So sometimes I second guess myself because as much as I have written, perhaps it was not enough…or perhaps too much, in that maybe I was being too brash in what I say. Its like I am knocking my head against a wall in an empty room.
But I know that can’t be right, I get emails and comments from people, people say “God bless you” about some of my blogs, I have people asking how they can support my writings…surely if there is a God, then I am on the right path. Maybe not the perfect path, but surely a good path.
So last night I thought about it, and that little green light. I suppose I am like that tiny green light…not very much, and during the day, of no value to anybody. But it is possible that maybe God put me in a position, in the midst of darkness, where that tiny green light can cut through so much of the darkness, giving a little bit of hope in a dismal situation.
God does not need much to work with, just a willing participant, and anyone will do.
And light is a comforting thing in the darkness, we naturally feel a little comfort when we have some light…not TOO much, because I can’t sleep with all the lights on, but you know what I mean.
We need more tiny lights in the prison genre, more people to believe that as bad as things are, it can get better. We have to start believing in something positive, instead of expecting or preparing for the worst. So many people have prayed to God for things, but for some reason, they must have believed that God doesn’t honor prayers if you have a loved one in prison…that isn’t true at all.
We have to encourage one another to be that tiny green light in a very dark place. It might not seem like much to you, but in the right position, it can be a tremendous source of power….
Hmmm, reminds me of something the Bible said about God’s grace, and how it is perfect in our weakness…hmmmm….maybe another blog….
If I can help you to build some hope, and to encourage your loved one, even a little can mean so very much. This is why it is important to curve the panic mode, and to try to build a foundation that you can get through this. This is why I talk about prison, because it gives you the idea that I can understand what you are going through, because I have lived through some of it.
And if I can get you to believe that, then hopefully it can give you a sense of hope, and maybe give you a good nights sleep. If we can get you there, then we can continue to build hope inside of you, so that you can start to believe that things can get better. If you build that hope, you start to believe in the positives, NOT the negatives. If we can get you there, THEN maybe we can build your faith to believe that God can…or rather, has already heard your prayer, and already has the answer.
These things can’t happen if you are focused on the darkness of your situation, it just won’t work. When I read posts on “Daily Strength” from people in panic mode, I say to myself, “did they even TRY to read the post I put up about staying positive?” Or did they just skip over it, determined to “speak their mind”?
I say again folks, I am no saint, I am not perfect, I can’t walk on water. But I DO believe in God, I have seen miracles and for some strange reason, I keep writing these blogs. In fact, as I was kinda reminded to myself last night that my blogs seems to be getting longer…
Its strange, because the more I write on prison issues, it seems that my posts are actually longer in length. And yet, it does not seem to bother me so much. Its like I spent an hour or 90 minutes writing, and its not a big deal.
So maybe I am just a very small speck of light in a very dark genre. So few people talk about prison, and it is evident when we look at prison support sites. I have been rejected by DOC officials, prisons and prison support sites. But I am still convinced that I am doing the right thing, or as best I can. Not everyone will agree, and to be sure I have been heavily criticized for what I say, but I have also had many nice comments and support.
Have I done too much, or too little? Maybe I have said too much, but even in that, I have not nearly scratched the surface of what can be discussed in prison issues. For that reason, I believe that there is much more to share.
I hope you can bear with me on this.
Anyway, gotta go, email me if you want to discuss prison issues or want to support my blog, or interested in my books. Until then…