#150 Wisdom of Kindness (new)

April 19, 2010 at 4:34 pm Leave a comment

The Wisdom of Kindness

Well, today is an early Monday, cooler than I thought, but I won’t complain. It is about 11am as I start this blog, and I wanted to say first a hello to new people emailing me, and new people finding my blog. I hope you take the time to bounce around some of these blogs and read it, and kinda get an idea of what I am about.

For those of you asking about my cards, prison encouragement certificates and my “Grades of Honor” books, I am trying to make those available by May, so from now until then I am printing some cards and certificates to get ready. The cool thing is I have a lot of requests for those, so I am excited. I am also excited about some of the support I am getting as well, which encourages me to push even harder to do more. My warmest thanks to those of you that support my blogs.

Today’s blog is kinda on the irony of what man conceives as kindness, or even charity. We all hope that when we slip or fall into a problem there would be someone to help us out. But often times the kindness we get isn’t always based on what we thought it would be.

There is a unique and refreshing kind of wisdom that comes with unrestricted kindness, because often times that form of kindness comes from the places we never expected. I am reminded today of something I actually took part in, and it seems to be an example of how sometimes people can indeed receive blessings from the least expected sources…and can also block their own blessings by being too smart for their own good.

Many of you remember my blogs about how I helped a Christian radio station get back on its feet after their General Manager passed away. I blogged much about that a couple of years ago, and how in the end, I ended up losing my position as Executive Producer to the very guy I hired. But while I was there, there was a situation that helps me make an example of how kindness comes from places you never thought about, and how kindness can also be twisted.

While I was helping this Christian (and I use that term loosely for them) radio station, the two people that were working there were elderly, one was sick much of the time and had trouble walking. Collectively, the owner of this radio station, who was very wealthy, was paying about $30K for both of these co manager…not EACH, but collectively.

I gave a lot of free time to help the poor sick lady who didn’t want to lose her job, but in her over 10 years working in radio, she knew almost nothing, because the late General Manager didn’t want to teach her anything. Now, with him gone, she had to learn everything on the fly….very, very hard to do without help. That’s where I came in.

One of the things she wanted to do was to cut down the amount of time she was actually doing live shows, so she could concentrate on getting the station in order. After all, if you are on the air from 9am to 11am, that is two hours you can’t focus on doing other business. Considering these were the only two employees, outside a part time salesperson and another guy who worked maybe 6 hours a week, the job was fully their responsibility.

Well, the idea of cutting off a local show seemed a wise move. We talked about it and with me having a college degree in radio and television, and having worked in a few stations, I could lend her some expertise…

Mind you folks…I am an ex felon….but they didn’t know that….

Anyway, she decides to cut off the local morning show. The next day I come in, and she tells me that she can’t cut off the show, because of a local business who demanded they continue to run the show.

Huh?

She said that there is a local hardware store that told her that she cannot stop doing the show, because the late General Manger had an agreement with the station that every weekday the were to call this local hardware store to chat and talk about their products.

Now, something didn’t seem right.

I asked the lady why she felt that this local store had the right to tell you how to run this station, since they didn’t own it. They weren’t paying for any advertising, so why do they feel they had a right to tell this lady, rather to force her, to continue to do the show?

She told me that apparently, the late General Manager and that store had a contract to contact the store every day they did the morning program. Well, if that is true, then we had to find it. I told the lady that no business had the right to tell her how to run her business, and if there is any validity to it, somebody had to show it in writing. Even if there was validity in a spoken word, that is null and void if the person they made the deal with is dead. Unless they had a contract, they had no right to say that this lady HAD to do the show.

So the next day or two, she looks for the contract, and says she looked everywhere, and could not find one. I asked her to ask the hardware store about the contract, and she said that when she contacted them, they said, “we don’t need no contract”, and threatened to sue the station if they stopped running the program.

So…let me get this straight. This local hardware store does not own the station, is spending no money in advertising with them, but is threatening the station with a lawsuit based on a contract that does not exist, made with a man who now dead. They want the station to continue to run this local program, because by doing so they have to call the store during the program so they can talk about their “special deals”. Some of those phonecalls to that store last as long as 15 minutes folks, we’re talking about 15 minutes of FREE ADVERTISING!

Folks…this is crap!

I told the lady that they had no legal (or moral) leg to stand on, that they were bullying her to make her do what they wanted, so they can keep getting free advertising. I told her, “you need to drop them”. But she didn’t, saying that she didn’t want to lose a customer if they got mad.

But they AREN’T CUSTOMERS! They are swindling the station out of hundreds of dollars of advertising a week!

The elderly lady told me she didn’t really like it but she would keep running the program. She said that maybe she was being too kind…but there is no wisdom in that kind of kindness. As the co-manager of that station, she had the right to do what she wanted with that show, but gave in to a bully and a liar. It sickened me every time they called that store, and the people at the store acted so cheery and happy.

I wanted to vomit.

I explained to her that these people don’t care about her, or her health, all they wanted was the free publicity that they were getting. But the elderly lady didn’t want to cause a stir, so she allowed it, much to her hurt. By doing this show, it prevented her from doing other things that MIGHT have helped the station get back on course sooner.

But during that year I did do many things for her, helping her understand radio as best I could. But not long after that, I lost my position, and the station seemed to distance itself from me (conveniently after I helped them get back on their feet). I tend to believe that the guy I hired and paid quite well told them about my past, and these so called Christians went into condemn-mode.

I mean, it just isn’t right for a Christian to deal with an ex felon…right?

(as a fool would say)

Again, if you read my blogs from a couple of years ago, I made it quite clear how I felt about this. I spent the better part of a year saving this station with my two hands when nobody was there to help or care about that station, and that elderly woman. But in the end, I am bounced out as if I was stealing money from them. The only thing I got of that station was a soda from time to time, and that was ALWAYS with the permission of that elderly woman. Some days I walk from home to there, in the heat of summer, just to make sure she was doing ok. Some times I would sweep the floor, or help her with the fax machine, or cut commercials for her. At NO TIME did I ask for any money, I did it because they really needed help. Yet after all the things I did, it seems that my value to them wasn’t in what I did, it was what I was…an ex felon.

Sometimes we outsmart ourselves when we try to be to righteous, as if we know what God is thinking. Sometimes the person God sends to help you might be the LEAST likely candidate you would ask for. It kinda proves that God can do anything, and touch anybody to help a person in need. Sometimes the person you dislike can be the one to help you through a situation. Sometimes the people you don’t trust can be the very ones God put in front of you to help you through a problem.

I kinda learned that myself when I was in college, while working in the summer in Raleigh, North Carolina. I missed my bus and decided to try to walk home…a very foolish idea since I was staying with a cousin and was not familiar with Raleigh. I thought maybe the apartment was maybe a mile or so away, so I figured I’d walk home…

Then it started to rain.

I was soaked from head to toe, trying to find my way back to the apartment, not knowing where it was. Lots of cars drove past me, seeing this guy in casual dress shirt getting soaked. Finally somebody pulled up and asked me if I needed a ride. I accepted and as he was driving me back, I told him were I was going, and he told me I was a LONG way off…ugh. As we talked, I asked me which college I went to, when I told him, he told me where he graduated from…and our schools are dead rivals. Kinda like Duke and UNC, or Florida and Florida State.

That kindness came from an unlikely source, and believe me folks, I was ever so glad to get that help. But this happens far more times than we can imagine in our lives, especially in my case with this so called Christian radio station. If we can believe that God sees ALL angles of a situation and knows the beginning from the end, then we have to accept that God knew what He was doing from day one.

It was no coincidence that I went to help that station in their greatest time of need, after all, I had experience in radio, I worked in radio, I have a degree in radio, I had the free time to help them, and I had the heart to do so, without asking for money. All these things fell in place for me to have the desire to help them. But you will notice that God never factored in that I was an ex felon…to Him, that was not important.

But to society, it is important. How ironic is it that a Christian radio station gets saved by an ex felon? Don’t get me wrong, I am NOT painting myself as anybody great, but that is the beauty of kindness…ANYBODY can do good things. God can use any person to help any body…but the problem is, we are too judgmental about WHO we want helping us.

This radio station had the answers right in front of them, with myself, and even my professor, who wanted to help. But through their own ignorance, they felt that they didn’t need, or want the help. Funny, that elderly lady needed me there every day when I was helping them. There were days she wanted to quit, there were days she was so sick I had to take over on the air and other instances. Once, she was so sick she had to go the hospital, and the other elderly man didn’t want to cover for her (don’t get me started on that guy…). I filled in for her for a couple of days, and she was so grateful for that.

But we as people don’t remember kindness too well, especially if it comes from people we don’t think we can trust.

And this is backward thinking. I was highly trusted while I was helping them, but after they found out I was an ex felon, all of a sudden I could not be trusted. What did I do before that changed their minds? Nothing. But the perception of an ex felon erased all the things I did for them, and all the things I might have done for them in the future. Its like one pastor said about ex felons: “you can’t trust anything an ex con says”.

Liar.

So I ended up losing my position and my standing with this station, and was forced to go my own way. It really sucked because I was just starting to establish a nice job, and would have been paid quite well as the executive producer…but I did all the leg work for nothing, and had it quite literally stolen from me from the very guy I hired and paid. Talk about irony.

All that happened a couple of years ago. Today, and the last couple of days, I was listening to this station and noticed something different. The elderly lady that was there when I was there was not on the air…something she ALWAYS did. I listened to hear her voice, and didn’t hear it, rather heard someone else. I followed the station over the next couple of days, and noticed she was not on the air at all. Not even on some of the commercials…something was going on.

This was a low budget radio station, and these people were paid minimum wage, so if she was not on the air, it was not due to the station hiring people because they wanted to…it had to have been because they HAD to. It implies that maybe something happened to that elderly woman…and I don’t want to assume the worst. But the fact is, she is not on the air.

The guy who worked a few hours a week now had the same time slot, and I listened as he said a few things, then called the local hardware store…and I got sick again.

I know without a doubt that this was not a financial agreement, and I wondered why on God’s green earth is this station still calling these people, unless they continued to bully the station to make them do what they wanted. It certainly isn’t a commercial agreement, because I know the station never got paid for these 5 to 15 minute free promotions the station gave to them. And trust me folks, the station NEEDS the money.

So a Christian radio station puts its trust, or warped kindness to a local store that threatened to sue them on less than honorable charges, but an ex felon who helped save that station can’t get the time of day from them.

There may be a lot to learn from this, but as human beings we are not too quick to learn when it comes to spiritual matters. We want answers that we can see and predict, but the irony is that when we pray for help, God decides how you get it, and often times, it is in a way you never expected.

But if you asked for help…does it MATTER how you get it? Apparently it does. And maybe that’s why we don’t get as many of our prayers answered as we want. Its not so much that God DIDN’T answer…its that He did…and we refused the solution.

And its not so much that we refuse the solution, but the method. We think that God is going to send an angel in brilliant light to come to our aid, and tell us from the mouth of God exactly what is going to happen. Anything less, and we doubt.

I mean, if it is anything less, how can you know a blessing is from God?

This is how we miss so much…and yes, I include myself a lot. Even when I blog and talk about support, some of you don’t realize how cautious I am. When a person emails me and asks to support my blogs, I always tell them to hold off, and to wait until they are absolutely sure that it is something they want to do. I don’t want somebody sending me anything, and then a week or so later regret it.

So often times I will ask people to keep reading my blogs until they are sure that they are sure that they want to support me. But you know, one time I did that, and I remember thinking about it, and a thought came to me. It was almost like something was saying to me, “how do you expect to get a blessing if you keep turning it away?”

The wisdom of kindness applies everywhere, because God knows what He is doing. I know I have missed out on likely thousands of dollars in support because I thought I was doing the right thing by being cautious. I mean, I would feel bad if a mother sent me $50 that maybe she could have sent her loved one, but what do you do if she offers to send it to you for encouraging her in her difficult times?

Even now that is tough for me to do. Now granted there are several that support me, because I have gotten past that with them, but with new readers, I didn’t want to seem like I was trying to get their money. I’d blog 100 pages to help a person if I could, and I have blogged much in the last several years, but I still would like to generate some income for myself. God knows I need it, heck, I kept praying for it, so doesn’t it make sense that the answer is likely right in front of me?

You can’t pick and choose who will be kind to you, that is dependent on who God moves across your path, and if that person is willing to act on such a thing. Everyday, people have thoughts of something they COULD have done for somebody, something nice, but more times than not, they rationalize away from it, and thus the kind act was never finished.

Kindness is in everyone, but we choose whether to act on it or not. This applies to every one, whether ex felon or not. It also applies in prison, just as it does outside of prison. It applies to people who go to church every Sunday, or people who have not set foot in a church in years. Kindness comes to every human being…but it is human beings who decide whether to act on such a thing or not.

I am sure there are other prison blogs out there, but considering how many people have actually done time, there ought to be thousands of different prison blogs in this country alone…and that is a low number. Think about it, don’t you think God wants to help parents and wives and girlfriends with loved ones in prison? There is no reason to think that just because YOUR loved one is in prison, that you have to suffer to the fullest. Many do, but there are solutions.

If so, then it seems wise for God to find guys or women that did time, to write about their experiences, to give people hope that they can get through it, or to answer questions about prison. Heck there are lots of prison support sites up full of people looking for answers, and full of fear. I used to write for many of them.

But we also know that there are not that many ex felons that write much on prison. Some, yes, but not a lot. Why is that? I am sure God would like to have 500 guys or women writing about prison experiences and helping others get through this tough time… but there aren’t that many. I think part of this is that perhaps, just perhaps, many were in fact called…but few chose to act.

And I can’t blame so many guys for that, I mean, who wants to talk about the worst times of their life, when you have a new road of life to follow? Yet somebody needs to talk about prison, for those that know so little about it. That does not make me somebody special, it just makes me available. I mean, I love to write, I type pretty well, I express myself in a kinda positive and constructive manner…and oh, I did time. So I qualify to be a help to somebody on prison matters.

And imagine that…a college grad writing about prison experiences…who would have imagined that. So kindness does indeed some from the most unlikely sources and venues. Kindness seems to be based on the wisdom of God, which surpasses everything else we can imagine. Its also why we reject kindness so much, because we can’t understand it. If somebody emailed me and said they wanted to send me $100 as a gift, I would be like, “SURE!”, but I would also worry deep inside if that was fair to say to them. I mean, if they are offering, why not accept? Yet I would rationalize that if they were a first time responder, I would want them to read more of my blogs, or at least have me send them something for free, so they can see my sincerity.

Yet by doing that, I am rejecting the kindness that is put in front of me. Even if they eventually support me, I would be fighting that initial kindness. Its not like I hit the lotto, so yes, I can use the money. But perhaps foolish pride swells inside of me, telling me, “its not right to accept other people’s money, it might be all they have”.

But when I do that, then I get that nudge saying, “why do you keep rejecting the kindness that people want to give you. If you asked for it, be ready to receive it!”. So I am working on that.

I think we all need to work on that in one form or another. I think another way of explaining kindness is “looking a gift horse in the mouth”, or at least that is the opposite of accepting kindness.

As for the radio station, I fear that it may crumble, because it is not sounding any better than it did when I left, not that their failure was based on me leaving. It just seemed that these people were too prideful, or too religious, to see that God was trying to help them. But they refused the help that maybe He put at their doorstep, because they was expecting help to come in the form of something more righteous. The idea of an ex felon helping a Christian radio station does sound kinda blasphemous…

But perhaps the perfect venue of kindness in God’s wisdom. It shows that with God, all things are possible. Oh well, its lunchtime, not sure what I will be eating, kinda got a headache, but very slight. I think a peanut butter and jelly sandwich and some Tylenol will help. At any rate, keep in touch with me, share my blogs if you want, and email me about support or my projects. There is so much more we can discuss. Until then…

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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.

#148 Lack of Understanding (retro) #151 Prison, Death and Soulsearching

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