Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Learning to love

Last night I finished rereading the letters I had written to my father during my incarceration. Wow.

I remember thinking I was writing pleading, but loving letters of apology and remorse. Our memory is jaded in times of stress to say the least.

Bottom line, I was angry. I was bitter and hateful and striking out at the only person that seemed to be working the most to take care of my life details and staying in touch with me through it all! I not only lashed out at my father through almost all the letters in the first two months but I confessed just about every negative, horrible, criminal, immoral act I had ever committed for great shock value! I was "off the chain"!

Then "the letter" - the letter after the night I accepted Christ and I could read something new. A peace, a calm, a resolve; but more importantly a reaching out to my dad that I cared and I was sorry and I truly wanted something different. I expressed my confusion at my life without blame and anger. I wrote about my childhood memories and experiences with a broken but hopeful heart. I wrote page after page that sounded like a different person than before.

Then there was silence.

My Dad sent me all the letters he could find that I had mailed to him during my time in jail; letter after angry letter for two and half months...then "the letter"...then silence.

When he sent the letters to me he included a short note:

Hi Hon:

Here are all that I can find.

There seems to be a large gap in correspondence from the end of April until shortly before your release. That may be due to more phone calls - I dunno.

Love,
Dad

Due to more phone calls? There were very few calls during that time. I remember going from constantly calling and constantly begging to a time of peace with God as I read the Bible and walked through the first few months of my relationship with my Heavenly Father.

I knew, when I read the short note that there were no missing letters. There was a special time in which I was totally focused on God and the only letters I wrote were to the clergy, Joy, asking questions and writing about what I was reading.

I do remember that time; a special, private time that God and I became friends. A time alone when He told me things I had never known about Him and about me. A time when my heart was softening, my words were changing and my actions were focused more on others than myself. I was talking with others about God, I was reading and sharing when asked and I was spending time alone rather than in the fray of things.

My final letter to my Dad before I was released was gentle, kind, hopeful but somewhat scared of the future. I thanked him for all he had done and talked about what it had been like inside. I described a sincere desire to have God heal my heart. I have him a glimpse of the women I had met (without the purpose of scaring him or manipulating him into action.) I talked about how Joy and I were talking about creating a ministry and what that would mean for my life outside of here. I even said I realized now how all this was the best thing to ever happen to me as I knew I was on a downward spiral that wasn't going to end well.

Mostly I talked about life in jail; the legend of Jeffrey (the jailhouse ghost) and singing with the girls during times of levity. I talked about seeing people differently and learning to have tolerance where anger and arrogance had always been.

The letter was eight pages long and expressed everything I had been through and how my life was going to change but I was okay with that, no matter how hard.

I had learned that "I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me." (Phil 4:13) and that meant walking out the doors and living a life Christ would approve. I was changed. And I think it showed in this last letter. I was 35 days away from release and I was focused on my son's birthday, moving in with Joy and reassuring him I was fine physically and emotionally.

And it ended with:

"...I am sorry for all I've put everyone through but in the end its done some really wonderful things. For one thing I've been able to finally see how much my own Dad loves me; something I never believed before. It has to be all uphill fro here. I'll be in touch soon but maybe not before I am out. I love you. Les"


As insane as it seems, I learned to love in jail.

1 comment:

  1. Thank you for sharing, it's so beautiful how you have you come to know the Lord. Isn't it amazing what He allows us to go through in order to find Him with His arms open wide standing waiting for us. Kinda like He's saying, well it's about time, get over here. Thank you for your ministry to the ladies you're helping, what a blessing you are.

    Have a great day.

    ReplyDelete

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