#122 One day at a time (retro)

April 1, 2010 at 3:00 am Leave a comment

One Day At A Time?

I say this in a question because I was reading an email from some of my readers, and I read one where someone said they are taking it one day at a time.

It was like something told me that I needed to talk about this, because we need to sit down and discuss what that really means when you have a loved one in prison.

I hope to share this on some other places, but as you know I don’t like sharing my blogs on other places, but I do in an effort to try to get myself out there. It is tough to share stuff on a site and you see many people READING my stuff, but nobody TALKING about it. It’s like people want help, but are too afraid to actively pursue it.

So I guess lots of strangers are reading my blogs, never taking the time to email me, make a comment or support my works… and by the end of the day, they are still having very tough times with a loved one in prison…

(is that YOU, he asks, to the person reading these very words)

Anyway, let’s talk about this title.

When you are in a very tough situation with a loved one in prison, often some sound advice is to take it one day at a time. This is important because many times you worry months, or YEARS down the road about that person. A lot of fear comes with the “what ifs”.

What if he gets in a fight?

What if he gets stabbed?

What if he has to join a gang?

What if he gets raped?

What if he does not want to see me anymore?

What if he hates me?

What if he is using me to get money?

What if he gets out and goes right back to prison?

What if he gets out and leaves me for somebody else?

So many “ifs”, and nearly all are based on the future, something none of us can predict. Heck, if I could, I’d be in Las Vegas or Atlantic City winning my fortune, and planning a cruise! You won’t have to worry about my prison blogs anymore…

“You’d really stop writing about prison if you were rich?”

Well…maybe not, I can’t say that sincerely, but it would be a nice temptation.

But in any case, we worry much about the future, which is why we often encourage one another to just take it one day at a time. Don’t worry about tomorrow, take thought only for today and take it step by step.

But when we talk about this in prison terms, we can often get lost in the true understanding. Just as during this Christmas season, many people lose the real meaning of Christmas, and get caught up in trying to buy somebody something, we can also lose meaning of what “One day at a time” really means.

Think about that…how do you cope with a loved one in prison while taking it one day at a time? For a lot of you, that means the following:

“I will panic and worry just one day at a time”

You see the problem?

The point of coping is finding strength and hope and faith ONE day at a time, and building on that as you go, not giving in to worry and fret and depression each day. Lots of us have this mixed up. Each day you live with a loved one in prison has to be an aggressive move to find strength, faith, peace, comfort and hope.

“Well Nolaw, faith and hope are the same..”

No it’s not. Scripture says faith is the substance of things HOPED for. Two different elements.

Each day you live, embrace that by finding positive things to stand on. You need these things if you are going to make it 5 months down the road, or 5 years down the road.

“But you don’t know how hard it is for me!”

Probably not, I don’t know your situation, but if you read enough of my blogs, you know I was in prison and jail, and have also talked about the difficulties of living after you are released. I know difficulties folks, much better than you think.

I am not saying my troubles were worse than yours, nor easier, I am saying I have been there. And to be honest, it is very hard to find out how you are going to make it. When I first went to prison, I had no idea how I was going to survive in prison, after hearing all the stereotypes. When I was released, I had no idea how I was going to find a life and earn a living with nothing to believe in. I have had many nights in my bedroom where I sit with a Bible wondering how in the precious name of Jesus was I going to earn finances so I could pay the things that needed paying, and then having money to have a decent life, and THEN having the money to have an abundant life.

Folks, that is hard to do if you worry one day at a time, in fact it is self defeating. So what do you do?

You build FAITH one day at a time.

And that is easy to think of. I mean, come on, what are you BELIEVING for with a loved one in prison? If you are worried then you have a fear. If you have a fear, then the opposite is what you need in faith.

“My son has been transferred to a prison too far for me to visit”

Ok, then start building some faith that some day very soon, he will get a transfer closer to home, and in that meantime, he will be safe.

“How do I do that?”

It starts by believing something positive one day at a time. This is where many people fail, because they don’t use that day to fill with something encouraging. They either worry about it, doing nothing but fearing, or they do nothing, which creates a void.

Thinks about it this way… say you are thirsty and you come to my house for something to drink. I bring out a cup and give you three options:

Option one: A cool glass of sweet tea

Option two: A warm glass of spoiled milk

Option three: Nothing.

Which would you choose? Now I know some of you will get picky and try to tell me you don’t like tea, but get over that and see what I am trying to tell you. You have a choice of something beneficial, something offensive or nothing at all. If you are thirsty, the choice seems obvious.

How then can it be any different when you decide how to fill each day with a loved one in prison? If you spent all day worried about your boyfriend, then you didn’t take care of the day, did you? If you spent all day doing nothing to encourage yourself, you didn’t help yourself today did you? But if you found some time during the day to do something, ANYTHING positive, it makes that first step so valuable. This is what we mean when we say, “one day at a time”. In fact, we could say this:

One day at a time.. In faith.

This is the beginning of finding strength to help your loved one, and being a positive force to him or her. This is where the road truly begins where you are empowered to be an invaluable contributor to that son, daughter, husband, boyfriend or whomever. It means you are taking control of your life for him and you. But it means even more…

It means you have faith.

And faith is believing that the thing you desire is gonna happen. Maybe not today, maybe not this week, maybe not this month, but it is GONNA happen. Faith is based on the one day at a time just as much as fear is based on it. But if you don’t choose one or the other, it will be chosen for you, and most times it will be fear.

Look, you know that I am no perfect person, so don’t make me out to be anybody special. But awhile back I was having some very tough times trying to understand how an ex felon could earn a living. After blogging for years, there just was not enough support to keep me going, and I nearly gave up entirely. I felt broken down and it just looked helpless. So one night I took a book called, “The Promises of God” and began to read them. In fact, even though I got out of prison in 2001, this is the SAME book I had, given to me by an inmate.

I just did not believe that what I was doing was for nothing, it had to turn into a blessing for me somehow. I mean, people saying “God Bless You” is cool, but what I needed was financial support. I remember praying about it, wondering why things were still not working for me, especially since I had received so many great emails from others. I realized that just because it had not happened yet does not mean it will NOT happen. I had to hang in there, to stay in faith, and take it one day at a time.

But it meant more than just existing from today to tomorrow and the next day. It meant finding strength to encourage myself and my faith. Not just saying “I hope to get through today” but “what can I do to encourage myself today”.

Some of you need to do that. What can you do TODAY to encourage yourself? You have a loved one in prison, how do you stay positive? And whatever that is, do you do that the next day, and the next? This is what the term “one day at a time” means. You have to find something positive to embrace today, and then find something tomorrow.

“But what if I fall down one day, what if a day comes where things go wrong”

Been there, know what you mean.

If this happens, then do something simple…get up. See, I think some of you see progress of faith like a football game. In a football game, the play starts at the line of scrimmage, and the offense moves FORWARD towards the goal.

But if something happens, like a sack, he may lose yards and be pushed BACKWARDS. If I have the ball and it is first and 10, and get sacked for 5 yards, then the next play will be second and 15, because I lost 5 yards and have to pick it up from there.

Many of you see faith like that. If you lose ground, you have to start back there. If you fall down, you have to start all over. Folks, that is not how it works.

If you have been trying to hang in there with a loved one in prison, and after hanging in there a month, you fall apart (especially during the holidays), many think you have to start all over…who said that? If it happens (and for most of us it does), you get up and pick up right where you left off. You lose NO GROUND.

I don’t care if you fall apart for a week, the moment you start back in faith, you are back where you started. You can weep for your husband for a week, but once you get back in faith, you are right back in the game. You are back to “one day at a time”, not “three weeks back and then one day at a time”.

We can get real spiritual or intellectual on this folks, but I didn’t want anybody here to think that your daily life had to be filled with dread and fear. Each day you live with a loved one in prison gives you a chance to establish some faith. You gotta believe things will get better, and to do that, it is a simple as building faith one day at a time.

Don’t forget that. Email me at derf4000 (at) embarqmail (dot) com to ask about my books, or ask about supporting my blogs, or just to email me.


Entry filed under: girlfriends with boyfriends in prison, God and prison, inmates, jail, LostVault, mothers with sons in prison, prison, prison abuse, prison blogs, prison books, prison cards, prison food, prison jobs, prison mail, prison pen pals, prison support sites, Prison Talk Online, Prisonbid, rehabilitation, son in prison.

#121 The Pain of Shame (retro) #123 It’s not too late (retro)

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