It’s hard to believe I’ve spent a decade of my life incarcerated. Life in prison can be an absolute, tormented balancing act on the sharp edge of massive heartache and each man’s own search for meaning. I have not sat idle. I divide and conquer as if this is all a study. To comprehend the complexities of prison life and all the elements and the inter-workings of this foreign world, it takes delicate handling. After ten years, I know this, for my integrity and being absolutely comfortable as an outsider. I do my time very differently than these other men. I’m not involved in all the politics and controversies here. They go full force. I don’t hustle politics or gamble.
What I do is inspire and remind people that true freedom can not be bought and sold in any courtroom. It’s without question something you have to discover within yourself. We all are deeply wounded and continuously degraded down here. Some have lost their will entirely. We roam, helpless, while our mothers, our fathers, and children pass away. Helpless. There’s a loneliness like nothing you’ve known that aches deep in your bones. The vacancy in the repeated abandonment and discarded promises were told every day from those of you who think they’re free. Are you free?
Over the decade, I’ve found pieces of my life’s puzzle in only ways God could have orchestrated. I’ve loved in ways that have taught me selflessness and how to be courageous. To love someone is to be courageous. Have you ever thought of it that way? I’ve said many good-byes and watched that last corner be turned and then VANISH. It’s comparable to a death. It really is, because that person is just instantaneously gone. Life moves on (and incredibly fast) when a man reclaims his freedom. I’ll hear from them for a few weeks, then maybe once a month. But the world begins to consume and command your every hour. I don’t allow myself to feel discarded or forgotten. I know with certainty that I made an impact on your life, and in some way will forever remain a part of it. With or without you in mine.
My days are very busy. I work as a clerk 0500 to 1600 hrs. I have an important job and actually enjoy being able to organize groups and create projects with individual accountability. The way I do things is not conventional here by any means. The system here is designed around old ideas and outdated solutions. Things have now been modernized and after a process of getting everyone familiar and on board, we have the best department in the state.
It is important, even behind these walls, to continually challenge yourself and adapt those processes to other areas of our lives. My challenge right now is a huge one. I’ve had some research done, and there has never been a study and/or book written about the communications between incarcerated men and their fathers. You hear every war story imaginable in here. I’ve noticed over the years that no one ever speaks of their father. This person, this part of your life, is sacred to a man. Much deeper emotions to talk about than say, a wife or mother. What was his nickname for you? Did he ever tell you he loved you? Do you hope to meet him someday? I’ve worked on a collection of 42 questions that I believe will grant others great insight on this topic. I’m going to interview as many men as possible. I’ve done five interviews already, and the intensity is obvious and present; I talk to my father first, and allow them to see my own vulnerability. What’s amazing is the person who has never even met his father, and yet has much more to talk about than those who have. One man watched, as a child, while his father beat up and raped his mother. It was when he watched his dad put his hands on his 8-year-old sister, that he stabbed him in the face and neck 21 times. He wipes tears away and asks me if anyone is looking. These stories are powerful and I’m looking forward to this project. It will become a published book. When a title surfaced that could not have fit better, that’s when I decided this has to be a book. Father Time.
What are reason and purpose in this life if not to be on a constant search for understanding and the ultimate realization that we may very well never find the answer. It’s our own individual quest. I’m sending this out with all my love and a single request, that each one of you look in the mirror and love that person you see in its reflection. Look in your mirror’s reflection, and treat that person well, you’re their protector.