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Archive for June, 2011

Who would have ever thought my hands would strike these keys to speak of sorrows such as this. There is seldom a place of refuge or a place for compassion in a world that is ignorant to an experience such as this. We that come here to read, those of us that have in spirit gone to prison ourselves, serve time in a place so intimately our own for few can comprehend the depth of our loss.

Though no one has died, we mourn, though no person
has been laid to rest the fact of the matter is, the person we once knew, has left us forever and will never be the same – neither will we.

Who can know what it is like to manage a face of courage when inside your heart is screaming with fear and frustration? And how can any understand the prejudice that we encounter when others are appalled at the notion that we would associate ourselves with such degenerates. They do not know.

They do not know this journey that we share as the casualties to the varying scenarios that brought our loved ones to incarceration. And oddly enough having once sat in that seat of innocent, ignorance and condecention what they really do not know, is that it can happen to anyone, even them.

Until it comes to your door, you can not imagine or remotely fathom the capacity this beast of agony has to torment your life – and though we have come here to share and expose to each other our commonalities in pain – each one of us silently cries specific tears that only God can understand.

This we know, this we live and may God be with anybody who ever reads this and may He richly console you in your loss. May His promise of His peace that surpasses all understanding be with you.
Author unknown

  The words above were not written by me, but they could have been. 

“Those of us who in spirit have gone to prison ourselves, serve time in a place so intimatly our own for few can comprehend the depth of our loss”   That is how if feels.  We are all serving time with our loved ones behind bars.  Each mother, wife, child, father…it is the same.  Our heart doesn’t beat like it used to, our soul has withered, our hurt takes on a life of it’s very own.  We keep living, going through the motions, really.  Barely functioning ghost of the people we used to be.  Empty shells trying to fill the void left by that person who has been taken away. 

  It sounds dire and depressing.  All days are not like this, and yet too many are.  And unless you have walked a mile in these shoes…you can not begin to know.

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WHEN THE TRUMPET SOUNDS

GUEST POST BY LEE

Revelation 8:6 And the seven angels which had the seven trumpets prepared themselves to sound.

Mary Duval has passed.  The trumpets have sounded.  And yes there were angels; a million of them, joyously marking the fact that Mary D was now in their band.  But knowing Mary as I do, I believe these deities weren’t at all cloaked in flowing, diaphanous white robes, but rather in “steppin’ out” attire – black cocktail dresses and sharkskin suits; rocking ray-bans all.

No, for this contentious and invincible spirit I was thinking Saturday night Jazz.  Progressive, mind blowing fusions that conjure up Miles Davis in a neon-coated off-the wall-late-night ad libitum that blows the doors – and parochial musical concepts – off their frame and into the street, is how I will remember Mary.  For this is how Mary played.  She was fire.  She was electricity with no off switch.  A fearless social virtuoso who went for the highest, boldest, and loudest notes…especially when the bar manager was signaling to keep it down.   Please keep it down.  Never happened; that is not how she played.

The stage is empty, the chairs have been stacked and the lights turned off.  Mary played to encores and standing O’s.  It was a performance for the ages.

But if one listens, though…I mean really listens, one can still here her trumpet wailing from the club upstairs; seems as though she ain’t done her set yet.

Does that surprise anyone?

Goodbye, friend.  You were one hell of a player.

 

 

 

 

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He Who Lives in a Glass House Shouldn’t Throw Stones at Others
Egyptian proverb
Explanation:
Though origins of the proverb may be English, the proverb is now widely used in Egypt.
It advises people not to attack others for their mistakes when they have the same mistakes.The proverb is an equivalent to the bible’s verse “Why do you see the speck of chaff that is in your brother’s eye, but don’t consider the beam that is in your own eye.”

   

    It saddens me when I see another case where someone has made a grave mistake in judgement that results in public condemnation and humiliation.  People love to judge and point fingers at someone elses expense.  However, when one of the very ones who relished in pointing those fingers is brought down in their own shame, then I must believe they are experiencing the fruits of Karma in their life.   One reaps what one sows. 

  Rep. Anthony Weiner had the audacity to mock the humiliation that Larry Craig experienced in his sex-scandal two short weeks before he found his own sext-scandal the newest headlines.  Glass houses come tumbling down.

   What I find most appalling in this case is Anthony Wiener in all his self-righteousness co-sponsored a bill to Keep the Internet Devoid of Sex Predators.  He stood and smiled for the voters in all the photo-ops and accepted all the accolades and kudos’ for being tough on anyone charged with a sex offense.  All the while, he had his own dirty deeds going on behind that blue screen.  Hypocrisy at its worst. 

http://mikeyounglaw.com/internet-lawyer/anthony-weiner-keeping-internet-devoid-sexual-predators-act/

 

Lessons From The Anthony Weiner Cybersex Escapades

Here’s a few lessons to learn from the Anthony Weiner fiasco.

  • Not all creepy married guys trolling for sex online are registered sex offenders. There’s even congressmen like Anthony Weiner.
  • Legislation like the KIDS Act of 2007 won’t do much to protect anyone from registered sex offenders or guys like Anthony Weiner.
  • Protect yourself when dealing with strangers online and don’t rely upon leglislation to protect your kids in cyberspace either. Parental supervision is key. 

  So-called “Polite Society” loves to throw around the term “Sex Predator” and Sex Offender” while they draw their curtains tight and keep offenders out of their neighborhoods.  I dare say Mr. Weiner would have been and has been welcomed at many a dinner table in “Polite Society”  and yet, so many sitting in prison right this very moment did no more than Rep. Weiner did to get themselves put there.  They, too, talked online or sent graphic images to someone they “assumed” was an adult which is exactly what Rep. Weiner has admitted to doing.  If it proves to be that just one of those pictures ended up in the hands of a minor then Heaven help Anthony Weiner because you are about to experience the Hell of being labeled a Sex Offender.  I do not wish that on anyone no matter how much bad karma you might have coming your way.

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Tears of Blood

 

  Tears are the safety valve of the heart when too much pressure is laid on it.  ~Albert Smith

  A very wise woman once told me that I could cry tears of blood and it wouldn’t make a bit of difference or change the outcome of what was happening to me or to my son.  He would still be in prison.  People would still hate him and judge him and our family and life would still be unfair.  This had a profound effect on me.  Up until this point, all I had done was cry.  Cry so hard for so long that I would get physically ill.  Day after day and night after night, I cried.  For almost 2 years, that is all I could manage to do.  I could have filled a river with my tears.  I was living in a haze of pain and grief and semi-madness.  I don’t know if semi-madness is a real term or not but to me it means that place of limbo where you  should have been committed but you appeared to be still functioning so most people left you alone.  They also steered a wide path around you though, because you just give off a vibe of “something ain’t quite right here”.  In your head, you fluctuate back and forth between wishing someone would just put their arms around you and make it all better and having the urge to climb up on the top of McDonald’s and begin shooting random strangers.  Like I said, people steered a wide path around me. 

  These words came from this wise woman and mother, who by the way, was dealing with her own son in prison.  He was 5 years into a 20 year to life sentence for rape.  Even though the woman had recanted her accusation, the courts had refused to overturn his sentence.  He had been a soldier serving his country, home on leave when the incident occurred.  Somewhere between the Welcome Home BBQ and the Good-bye, Come Home Safe party, he had been arrested and charged and the nightmare for this mother began.  He was in Leavenworth Federal Prison wearing a prison jumpsuit instead of his Army dress uniform and a long way from his Kentucky home on the side of a mountain and his God-fearing and believing mother.  She was an ordained pastor and had a calmness and serenity about her that puzzled me.  I kept wondering what had kept HER off the roof of McDonald’s with a sawed-off shotgun?  During that time, the McDonald’s fantasy seemed perfectly reasonable to me.  (Told you, semi madness).  I never did find an answer to where her serenity came from, I assume it was her faith, something I was sorely lacking in during that time. 

Just as a small fire is extinguished by the storm whereas a large fire is enhanced by it – likewise a weak faith is weakened by predicament and catastrophes whereas a strong faith is strengthened by them.” Viktor E. Frankl (1905-1997, Holocaust Survivor and Author of “Man’s Search for Meaning”) 

  Still, somehow, this woman’s calm and knowing words to me was able to penetrate the darkness I was in and I felt them in my heart.  I dried my tears and went about finding my way back to sanity.   Semi-sanity maybe but sane enough to function and have a life again and even manage to smile occasionally. 

  I read just recently about a beautiful custom called a Tear Jar or a weeping bottle.   I could have filled a few of them to the brim.

       “In the dry climate of ancient Greece, water was prized above all. Giving up water from one’s own body, when crying tears for the dead, was considered a sacrifice. They caught their precious tears in tiny pitchers or “tear jars” like the one shown here (lifesize). The tears became holy water and could be used to sprinkle on doorways to keep out evil, or to cool the brow of a sick child.  

The tear jars were kept unpainted until the owner had experienced the death of a parent, sibling, child, or spouse. After that, the grieving person decorated the tear jar with intricate designs, and examples of these can still be seen throughout modern Greece.  

This ancient custom symbolizes the transformation that takes place in people who have grieved deeply. They are not threatened by the grief of people in pain. They have been in the depths of pain themselves, and returned. Like the tear jar, they can now be with others who grieve and catch their tears.”

 

  My son did not die nor did I.  It only felt that way.

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 Oh I believe there are angels among us
Sent down to us from somewhere up above
They come to you and me in our darkest hours
To show us how to live, to teach us how to give
To guide us with the light of love

  My journey of learning to live with a son in prison has allowed me to cross paths with some of the most amazing mothers God ever created.   Women who also survived the horror of a watching helplessly while your child’s life is taken and their dreams are crushed forever.  One such mother is Mary Duval.  Mary and her son Ricky have been the subject of many television shows, news broadcast and magazine articles.  They have been featured on CNN and 20/20.  When Ricky was 16, he met a young girl at a club who he had sex with on two occasions and who lied about her age.  She told him she was 15.  Turns out she was only 13.  Even though the girl and her parents did not want Ricky prosecuted.  He was.  He was looking at 20 years in prison.  He was advised to take a plea and was then labeled a tier 3 predator status sex offender ( the most dangerous status  of all) for life.  He was no longer allowed to attend school.  He was ostracized and bullied.   Taunted and harassed.  Community members followed him with video cameras. Ricky and his mother and his brother had to move into an old trailer that sat outside of the populated areas and afforded them a place to run if vigilantes came calling.  Oh, and did I mention, Ricky’s mother, Mary, was blind?  But that never stopped her from fighting.  And fight she did.  She took on the elected officials.  She went to Washington.  She appeared in front of cameras fighting for Ricky and every mother’s son like him.  She fought tirelessly.  Until she couldn’t fight anymore.

  Tonight, Mary Duval has slipped into a coma and is on life support.  She has been battling cancer.  I can’t help but wonder how many battles must this woman fight in her lifetime?   Last year, when the word came that there was a group of homeless men who had been released from prison or jail with no place to go and were living under a bridge in Miami, Fl.  Mary packed up and took a camera crew and she went there and she served soup and kindness to those men that society had thrown away and hated.    http://juliatuttlecauseway.blogspot.com/

Americas Dirty Little Secret

She practiced and lived the verse from the bible that many choose to ignore: 

“Whatever you do for the least of these…you do for me”   

A friend of mine wrote some beautiful words about that day under the bridge that I would like to share an excerpt of:

CRYSTAL CLEAR

“Hail Nancy, full of Grace, your public lynchings are a disgrace;

those without sin are now running this place; do unto others with nary a trace”

She must be some kinda saint or somethin’

Ya know, hangin’ the sinners and all

James says God forgives but the government don’t;

That people could but they won’t

No matter who you are or what you did

Don’t seem right

The mood’s pretty good here right now

The guys talkin’ Christmas and Salvation

Charlie’s got an old guitar he got last year from the Army

They ring bells and sing

Think it’s a homeless thing

Makes me lil sad; makes us all a lil sad, to tell you the truth

They’re the only ones who care we are here

Oh, there is one other kind soul that drifts in with a prayer

We call her Mary D

She can’t see our smiles, but she knows they are there

She was blinded by God, not by hate

So much different then the rest of this state

Settin’ up tables and cups for her right now

Mary D’s servin hot soup tonight

Don’t wanna be late

Life is hard

Send us a Christmas card

PO BOX 000 Julia Tuttle Causeway Miami, FLA”

Written by LEE

“She was blinded by God but not by hate”  Wow, no truer words have been spoken.

  We could all learn a lot from Mary Duval.  

 She is a fighter and a crusader who has shown such courage and determination tempered with kindness and love.

But most of all, she is a MOM.

God Bless You, Mary Duval.

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Disaster Relief

 In real life, out in the “real” world, my job is transportation and logistics;  the most basic definition of my job is transporting a variety of goods cross-country from point A to point B.  That definition does not begin to define or convey the million of experiences I am blessed to encounter between point A and point B.  I love what I do because the freedom it offers and because at heart I am a true gypsy of the road.  Everyday is an adventure out here to me.

  These last few days I have been transporting a Disaster Command Center from Alabama to Indiana.  It was a  monstrosity that required special permits in every single state and a million rules and regulations to be familiar with and adhere to.  It essence, it was a giant pain in the…well, you get the picture.  It looked like something that could easily land on Mars and then withstand the atmospheric elements of outer-space into infinity.  It had enough booms and satellites and communications equipment to rival any NASA contraption built.  It apparently could withstand any disastrous event including nuclear. 

 

  Having driven around a million miles of roads over my career,  I tend to  keep a professional eye on my cargo and do a little daydreaming at the same time while I ride…hey, it’s a long way to Indianapolis!  Anyway, I began to contemplate what it takes to withstand disasters.  To remain standing throughout the strongest attack, be it natural or man-made. 

  As I watched that huge hunk of metal in my rear-view mirror and imagined it being the only thing left standing in a nuclear attack and the materials it must be made out of to make such a claim, I thought of disasters in our own lives.

  The definition of disaster: 

(dĭ-zăs’tər, -săs’-) pronunciation
n.

    1. An occurrence causing  destruction and distress; a catastrophe.
    2. A grave misfortune.

  Disasters and catastrophes come with little or no warning.  Often we are grossly unprepared to withstand the event, much less the after-effects.  In our personal lives, when such an event occurs, we must be built of solid, even super-human, strength.    I believe we ourselves may not even realize what we are made of until after we are left still standing following a disaster in our own lives.   After we dig out from under the wreckage and take stock of the damages, internal and external, that is where the rubber meets the road, folks.  This is the moment you reach down deep and find what it takes to carry on and rebuild your life and offer your own strength to those around you who need a helping hand.  This is where true strength of character comes in.

  The  synonyms of Disaster include Calamity which is stated to suggest a great affliction; emphasis is on the grief or sorrow caused: the calamity of losing a child. Also Catastrophe refers especially to a tragic outcome of a personal or public situation.

  I write many of my words with the heart of a mom with other moms in mind who have walked many miles in my shoes who are hurting and who are affected by personal disaster in their lives.   The mothers I have met and the rock-solid strength they convey in the face of tragedy would rival that hunk of metal I hauled this week.  If the kind of grit and fierceness these mothers have shown could be pattened…we would all be millionaires and NASA would be calling us.

Any disaster you can survive is an improvement in your character, your stature, and your life.

                                                                                                                                                                                              Joseph Campbell

Synonyms of DISASTER
1. mischance, misfortune, misadventure, mishap, accident, blow, reverse, adversity, affliction. Disaster, calamity, catastrophe, cataclysm  refer to adverse happenings often occurring suddenly and unexpectedly. A disaster  may be caused by carelessness, negligence, bad judgment, or the like, or by natural forces, as a hurricane or flood: a railroad disaster. Calamity  suggests great affliction, either personal or general; the emphasis is on the grief or sorrow caused: the calamity of losing a child. Catastrophe  refers especially to the tragic outcome of a personal or public situation; the emphasis is on the destruction or irreplaceable loss: the catastrophe of a defeat in battle. Cataclysm,  physically an earth-shaking change, refers to a personal or public upheaval of unparalleled violence: a cataclysm that turned his life in a new direction.

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