#147 Life for life (retro)

April 18, 2010 at 2:59 pm Leave a comment

Life for life?

This is my second entry today, based on a couple of things that happened recently. One, my older brother calls me and tells me we are expecting snow tonight and tomorrow…

SNOW!!!!!!!!!

I know those of you in the northern states are tired of it, but I have yet to see any this winter, so I am kinda excited. So I went to check out the forecast on “The Weather Channel” but there was a show on called, “It Could Happen Tomorrow”.

I really dislike that show, even though I have never seen it. Why? Because to me, it is the creation of the worst possible scenario and forced into a person’s head. What if all the snow on the polar caps melted? All of the Eastern Coast of the US would be under 50 feet of water….

Who in the world is thinking about this???

“But it COULD happen?”

Yeah, but we could also end world hunger, but is there a show about that? It’s shows like that, and folks, I LOVE the Weather Channel, but it is shows like that which destroy faith. See, fear is the complete opposite of faith, and the more fear you are exposed to, the less faith you can have. It goes the other way as well, the more faith you have, the less fear you have. You can’t have both in great quantity.

If you watch shows that tell you about the worst case scenarios, you will slowly start to embrace the possibilities and the fears…and forget all about the faith that we ought to have in God. It’s like all these “reality” shows on television. Almost every show is not geared to show you what “reality” is, it is geared to show you the worst parts of a human being. We like to see people fail, we like seeing people make a fool out of themselves. ( I say this as the average person).

But in watching so much of that, we start to develop the wrong idea about humanity, that we are a bunch of idiots instead of beings loved by God. We start to see the worst in a person (especially inmates and ex felons) rather than the potential. We miss the point of humanity…and love.

Anyway, I could not get the “weather on the 8’s” because of that show, and I was not going to stomach watching what would happen if 60,000 people got killed from flooding in Tampa area…especially since it is ONLY hypothesis. So I will have to check later, but I did see that we may get almost a half of an inch of snow tonight….YES!!!!

But as I checked my email, I got a reply from one of the newspapers that asked me about doing a story. I read the email and I kinda got the answer I thought would happen. The person emailed me back saying that without my name or identification, they could not run the story, because in all fairness, it would seem as if the newspaper made up the story.

From what the email said, there seemed to be an honest attempt to try to do a story about what ex felons are doing to help others after they themselves have done time…and I am a prime candidate. The newspaper is located in a town where I actually did some time in prison. So it would make sense to do a story on an inmate that actually was in that town.

But this puts me in a very serious bind.

I believe the person who wrote this is sincere, I have no reason to think otherwise, I mean, you gotta give people the benefit of the doubt sometimes; I’d hope my readers felt the same about me. And the fact that they mentioned that many people pass through those prisons and so few talk about what it is like. It could be a tremendous step in the right direction if an ex felon could talk about writing prison blogs, helping thousands of people across the country, and writing prison books and the like. It just seems like a win/win situation.

But I also know how these things end.

I’d lose my life (not by death, but by freedom) and would be condemned again for something I served my debt for, if I gave my life to a newspaper. Folks, I don’t really think you understand the severity that I am talking of, so let me explain:

I told you guys awhile back about how the local newspaper here in my home town did a story on me. It was a story about how a guy (me) was being paid unfairly by a Christian radio station (less than minimum wage) and how the Department of Labor had to step in to help me get my earned money. The “Christian” station lied to the DOL, telling them I was not an employee, but a volunteer, but was proven otherwise when I showed proof of my employment in a check stub. I was awarded my back wages and the matter was resolved, but the station still needed help. They asked for my help, and I went back to help them cut a few spots.

The newspaper wanted to do a “feel good” story for the city, which shows that ex felons can do good things and deserve a second chance. They called me and asked me a few questions about it, and I told them what I could. When the story came out, it was front page. If I had been “Joe the Plumber”, with no criminal background, I would have been seen as a model citizen.

But I was an ex felon, and this was mentioned when the pastor and owner of that radio station was quoted as saying, “you can’t trust what a con says”. He said that when the newspaper asked him about the wages issue, and the pastor let his mouth say things he clearly regretted. In fact, when he realized it was going to be published, he tried to ask the paper to remove that statement, and even threatened to sue, but they printed it anyway.

Do I believe he meant to say it…yep.

But I also believe he wanted to save face, and tried to deny it. I remember this very clearly as if it was yesterday, because I has lost my job at the radio station and was working in a grocery store when he came in. This pastor NEVER shopped there before, but came there because he was looking for me. When he found me, he made with the nice talk, and asked if everything was ok, and if we (him and me) were ok. I saw no harm and felt that what is done is done.

But what I found out was that he was covering for what he said about me before the newspaper hit. When it came out, with my name, identity and HIS comments about “you can’t trust an ex con”, my reputation was tarnished. Everything I was trying to do to get my life back was now in jeopardy, because my credibility as a honest person was now thrown back out there for all to see.

It cost me my job at the grocery store.

The newspaper wasn’t at fault, they merely printed the info they had, but in blindly doing so, my life was traded for a newspaper article, and I lost. It was hard for me to get a job because I tried to go about life after prison in a normal way, but now found that I could not. The great irony here…I lost not one, but TWO jobs because of a pastor. Second great irony, I lost it because I honestly tried to contribute to a “feel good” story.

In a more perfect world, I could easily share anything a newspaper asks of me because I would truly believe that every person would believe that if a person does time, he should reenter society just as a regular citizen, and not be condemned a second time for the past. I would have had no problem at all sharing my identification for that newspaper, believing it would indeed help many people see that ex felons do change, and that they desire to achieve goals just as much as you do.

But we don’t live in such a world, and I believe that as I give my life (my identification) to a neutral party to do a story, it will backfire. Even if done in a sincere and honest attempt to show society that ex felons can change (and do), I would still be hostage to the fears of society.

See, I can blog here freely because I am not forcing myself on anyone. If you don’t like what I am writing, you can easily stop reading. If you do like it, you can continue to read, and maybe even support me. This isn’t about whether Nolaw97 is making up these stories, because from the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks, and the poverty of the heart it would not speak. There is no way I could have written thousands of pages if I didn’t care, and if I was lying. Heck, fictional writers wish they could write so much.

But what I share comes from what I have experienced, and I give those to you because I care. But I also do it from a veil, because people are too carnal, and want to know whom they will condemn. If you want to know who I am, read my blogs, get to know who is writing them, and email me. It’s not like I’m hiding from you, but what I will not do, what I cannot do, is give myself to people who mean only to condemn me again. That is not what this blog is about.

In like manner, I cannot put myself through those problems again for a newspaper. Sure, if I gave them everything I could, it might be a great story and might even inspire a few people. The newspaper would make some money off the sales, so it would be a win/win for the newspaper. But what’s left behind for the ex felon?

Condemnation, not from those who will understand, but from those who DON’T understand. I can’t make those people believe me or understand me, and it is those people that would condemn me just for the heck of it. If I gave that newspaper my picture, name, location and all that, and told them I owned a bakery on Main Street in that very town, do you think my business will increase…or decrease?

Be honest.

Would you buy a cake from a “con man”, or a “killer”, or a “child molester”, or a “drug dealer”. No “righteous” Christian or citizen would dare spend a penny with such undesirables. (I speak as a fool).

But that is what would happen, because sadly, people are more conditioned to find the worst in a person than the best. We know for example, that running for any public office is out, because the campaign against him would bank on his past. This was proven true here in my own town during our mayoral election, when the newspaper published an article the day before the election about the candidate who had a DUI over thirty years ago.

It preyed on the fear that society cannot accept criminals. It was that same fear that cost me my job at a grocery store. And it’s the same fear by society that would do me far more harm than good.

Am I saying I am in greater fear than in faith…not necessarily. I am saying that it would be wiser for me to do what I am doing now, for those that believe in me, than to extend myself to those who would not. There is a scripture that goes, “give not that which is holy to the dogs, and cast not your pearls before swine, for they will trample it and turn to rend you”.

Now, before you get uptight, I am NOT calling anybody a dog or a pig, so don’t get silly on me. But what the scripture seems to say is to be careful in giving that which is important to you to those who may not appreciate it. My life is important to me, and I don’t share that so liberally to those who may use it to condemn me.

On this blog it’s ok, because I am in control of what is shared. I am also in control as to who responds, because if a jerk wants to send me a mean comment, I can delete it. I used to get that a lot from members of Prison Talk Online, but they hid behind the anonymous names, so I had to change the settings. But still, I am in control of how I share my life here.

But in a newspaper, I have no control after I give them my identity. They will write it anyway they see fit, even if it could be completely different from the way I thought. Even if the editor, writer and paper all assured me that they would treat my story with the upmost respect and kindness, there is nothing to prevent the readers to condemn me openly, now that they have a face, a location and a name.

I’d really hate to be doing local high school football games and somebody comes up and says, “hey, you’re that guy I saw in the newspaper about ex felons!” Such an article would not allow me privacy once it is printed in public.

I understand that the Bible says that we should not be afraid of what man shall do unto us, if God is on our side…but he also gave us wisdom too. God may have protected Daniel from the lions, but will YOU go jumping a fence at the zoo to test out whether the lions will eat you whole or not? God gave us a brain, and wisdom to say, “hey, don’t do that!” Daniel didn’t have a choice…you did.

Same as with my blogs, and the newspaper.

I truly, truly wish I could do that story with them, because I do believe it could help some people, but I also know that I cannot prevent negative comments, so the wisest thing to do is to limit them when I can. If I am put in such a situation, I trust God will look after me, but when I have a choice in the matter, I should opt to just do things the way I am led to do. If things change, then I would have no problem helping that newspaper, but I just cannot give them my life for sake of an article.

I just can’t.

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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.

#146 Relationships in prison (retro) #148 Lack of Understanding (retro)

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