#151 Prison, Death and Soulsearching

April 21, 2010 at 3:43 pm Leave a comment

Prison, Death and Soulsearching

Today it looks kinda dreary today…raining outside and very cloudy.

Yesterday was full of activities for me, and I will get to that in a sec. First off, my thanks for a mom in Kansas who has been following my blogs the last few weeks. She asked me about my “Grades of Honor” books, which I hope to make available by May. But she also asked me if she could send me a little gift, since a few of my blogs helped her in some tough times. I received that the other day, and was most thankful for that.

I say to you, if you want to make a nice comment, or email me about questions, my books, cards or anything, do so. I’d like to think that sometime down the line I might have too many people to answer back in a day or two, but that has not happened yet, so if you email me, I should be able to get back to you quickly.

Now, yesterday, in retrospect, was a very difficult day for me in many ways. It had much to do with a local radio station I used to help. If you guys have read my blogs about the Christian radio station I helped, but later was snubbed by, then my day picked up from there.

As you may have known, I helped a small Christian radio station get back on its feet a couple of years ago, helping an elderly woman who had worked over a decade in radio, but ironically knew nothing about how to run a station. Her manager never taught her anything except to play music, and when he passed, it left the station in a critical situation.

I stepped in and helped the station for about a year, being there many days to help that elderly lady in anything she needed. I never asked for any money, I did it because I knew she needed the help, and I also figured that if I can first show my sincerity, then maybe if a position opened up, I can have a chance to then earn some income.

As an ex felon, I REALLY, REALLY needed the money, but I knew that this lady was making minimum wage as a co-manager, which I really had a problem with, since the owner is darn near a millionaire.

Anyway, I spent many months helping the station, lending my aid and expertise as needed, but after about a year, we parted ways because the guy I actually hired on the sports cast crew was going behind my back talking about me and how the station could move on without me. I know this because the elderly lady told me so herself. She had kinda seen me as her son, since she actually lost hers years ago (she never told me how she lost him). We had actually gotten pretty close, and I always enjoyed going to visit her. This friendship gave way to her telling me much about the station, and how the guy I hired actually called her and asked if there was any way they could do the sports games without me…

Understand folks, I was the executive producer for the sports, I hired that guy, paid him VERY well, and even paid his partner, who had been working as his side-kick for almost 10 years, and was never paid. I did all that because it seemed to be the right thing to do.

Yet here was this guy, planting knives in my back. The first few times it didn’t work, because that lady knew me better than that, and she also knew that I did all the work to make the programs possible…it was therefore impossible to do any sports without me, because I was doing all the work anyway…oh, did I mention I wasn’t getting paid either?

However, it is quite possible that he told her that I was an ex felon, something I did not tell her, nor did I think was necessary to tell her. I might be assuming that, but something changed in our relationship where she lied to me and said she was going to retire, but she was going to leave the door open for that guy…that didn’t make sense to me at all.

She told me she was going to leave radio, but IF she decides to stay, she would leave the door open for a man she hardly knew, and never knew until I hired him…something was wrong with that. As it turned out, she never did “retire”, and what eventually happened was she allowed that guy to do the sports…without me.

So I was left in the cold, after putting blood, sweat and tears into a Christian radio station…so much for some of these so called Christians.

Fast forward to yesterday. I had been listening to the station the previous few days, and I had not heard her on the air. Yesterday I called to ask the person that was currently on the air where she was, and found out….

She died last month.

I might say this was a shock to me, but I knew her health wasn’t that good anyway. I knew her health was failing, in fact when I was helping the station get back on its feet, one of the things I did was actually cover a couple of shifts for her while she was in the hospital. Because of her illness, she had to lose a couple of toes, it was originally thought she would have to lose part of her foot, but at the time, it was just a few toes.

From what I was told yesterday, she had to lose a leg, but with her age, and other ailments, she just wasn’t strong enough to maintain health after such an operation.

My heart went out at that second, and even though we parted under less than respectable means, she was still a nice person. I think she was too kind, which made it a weakness to her. I spent many days trying to tell her to cut down on some of the on air operations so she could take it easy, but because the jerk who was the other co-manager barely did his share, she did FAR more than she should have. I don’t think I’d be overstating that this lady quite literally worked herself to death. The stress she was taking on while running that station was very heavy, I saw that on a daily basis when I was there.

I did everything I could to try to help save that station when I was there, I didn’t ask for money, I just wanted to help. And maybe all that was great when the service was admirable from a guy who just had a “good heart”.

But for some reason, that changed when the found out about my past…all of a sudden, all the good things I did for that station were blown away with just the idea that I am an ex felon.

Its been a couple of years since I had been back to that station, and I will be honest, I was in contempt of that station for what it did. I did nothing wrong, I went the extra mile, I stretched out my neck for those people, all in “the Lord’s name”. The only benefit I could get at that time was the satisfaction that I was helping people that needed it. Folks, there were MANY days during the summer I would walk there, sweating from the summer heat, just to see how that elderly lady was doing. There were days she was not feeling well at all, and just having company was like a joy to her. I often joked with her, kept her positive and did what I could to help. I didn’t hold back any kindness with this lady, because it was apparent she needed it…

And don’t lose me folks, I am NOT planting a halo around my head. But what I am saying is sometimes when people need help, the ONLY person to help them just might be you. I just felt that this was the right thing to do, whether I got paid or not. There were some times she asked for my help, and offered to pay me for my troubles. But I have never, EVER asked her to come out of her pocket to pay me for helping her. I think she paid me a few times because she felt kinda bad that I was doing all this for nothing. When she was in the hospital, she did pay me for I think 2 days, maybe 3, of working in her place.

But when we parted, I felt betrayed. What was my sin, my fault that was so great that a so called Christian radio station would turn its back on the person that helped them get back on their feet? And further, why would they put more value in a man that they had never seen before, who never helped them before, in place for me, who had known them for over a year? All the good things I did for that station were burned to the ground likely because of my past…only because I am an ex felon.

How can you be damned by Christians?

So there was bitterness in me, because as God as my witness, I did everything I could for those people, but in the end, it didn’t matter. I thought if you do good things, the Lord was gonna bless you? Yet here, I lost my job as executive producer and potential income, and all the work I did for that station will likely be swept under the cover, as the station will rationalize that they could have done it without me.

I was so disappointed in this, and from that time to now, I had not gone to the station, nor called them. But when I called yesterday and found out the bad news, I was again kinda disappointed…why didn’t somebody tell me she was dead?

Regardless of how we parted ways, we are still taking about a LIFE! Anybody that knew my involvement with the station knew that me and that elderly lady got along very well…up until the parting. But I might have thought that while she was on her last days, somebody might have at least called me and said that she was dying. Maybe I was presuming too much, but in any case, if I had not called yesterday, I would still believe she was alive today.

So today I fell kinda indifferent about this…sad because she passed, but the blow isn’t so hard because I knew her health was failing…it really was a matter of time. But what gets me upset is that she worked far too hard for minimum wage, no holidays, no weekends off, no health benefits or ANYTHING…just minimum wage salary from a so called Christian owner who is very wealthy. I would be very upset to hear how this station honored her at her funeral…if they did anything at all.

I’m gonna tell you something private, something I did while I was helping her at that station. At the time I was helping this station, I mentioned to you that she had to go to the hospital. She had asked the other manager (since they were both co-managers of the station) if he could fill in for her…he refused by making up some stupid excuses. Its not like he had another job, because he didn’t. Anyway, that was when she asked me if I could fill in. She offered to pay me I think $10 or $15 for each day. I accepted, willing to take anything she offered.

(Warning: don’t get that twisted to think I was trying to get money out of her, I already told you the situations with this)

When she told me of the operation, I was worried for her. The initial prognosis was that they would likely have to amputate part of her foot, and to be honest I was worried. So I did what I thought I could do…

I prayed for her.

No, really, I PRAYED FOR HER! Not the silly idea of “thinking about her”, that is worthless. I got on my knees at night in my bedroom and prayed for the woman. I prayed that maybe she would have a more favorable outcome than losing part of her foot.

Now, I am not the #1 prayer warrior in the world, not even close, but I had to believe that if I took that request to God, then maybe God could do something about it. The week she went to that hospital, I tried my best to stay in faith, not knowing how things would go. Late that week I went to the hospital with my professor to visit her, and found that instead of losing part of her foot, she only lose a couple of toes.

Now, that sounds like a loss, but it actually was LESS than originally expected. So it is quite possible I got an answer to my prayer…but here comes two important questions:

1. If God answered your prayer, why did she lose any parts of her body at all?

2. Why did she still die later on?

I think the answer to these still revolves around faith, and the application. And as I kinda talk through this, I want you to consider the situations you are in with prison issues and see where this might help you. I say often, I don’t claim to know it all, and I think anybody that says that they can answer all your prison questions is a liar, but what I can do is talk from the heart in hopes to help you find some direction.

I think answered prayer is based on how much faith you have in God. Some think that answered prayer is an automatic “on” or “off”, but I wonder how much of that is valid. I mean, if this was true, then anyone praying for a job would always get a CEO for some Fortune 500 company, right? I mean, even if the sky is the limit, our faith often determines how high we go.

And that is because the level of our faith is different from one person to another. We ALL have faith, some greater than others, so the level of answered prayer can be different from one to another. This might be why the prayer of agreement is so important, because you want to hook up your faith to someone with greater faith. That added faith might be exactly what you need to get your miracle.

What are you believing for? Your faith determines the degree of this. One perfect example is me when I was in jail. I was looking at a LOT of time, but I prayed for a better solution. I had faith that God could do ANYTHING, even deliver me. But there were times I wondered if He was calling me to do something I never thought about…I mean, the fact that I am here blogging about prison and faith could not have been possible unless I FIRST went to prison.

So my faith was that could God do the impossible, but did it mean God could deliver me from prison, or make my time minimal so I could endure it, get back out to society and write about it? This can get very complicated, and worth about 50 pages of soulsearching, maybe I will do that another time.

Yet the amount of time I DID get had to have been based on my faith. If I had no faith at all, I might well still be in prison…or just dead. But there is no doubt that the faith, however little it was, played a major role in my situation.

The same for that elderly lady. I know I prayed for that lady…but did anybody else? This is a question only God can answer. There are churches full of people that still don’t know how to pray for answers or solutions. People act like if a person is sick, that is just the way it is…but they will sit in the front of the pews saying “Thank you Lord”. If a person is SICK…YOU HELP THEM! How? You pray for them, you pray that God will help them…after all, God can do anything, right?

My prayer was for a better outcome, preferably that she have no surgery at all. But she did lose a few toes, although she seemed to be in good spirits about the result when I visited her. Still, she had to have the surgery. Why didn’t I get the “home run”? Maybe the prayer I gave wasn’t enough…maybe SHE didn’t have enough faith to believe, maybe there wasn’t enough people praying for her, maybe there was more fear than faith involved…a lot of things.

Lots of folks with prison issues are in the same boat. People want others to pray for them, but often times they are in such panic that they can actually be blocking the very prayers God is trying to get to them. The answers can be right in front of their face, as automatic as time itself, but when we panic, fret, and stress about the situation, we can spiritually block the answers from getting to us. If not block completely, then likely minimize the answered prayer from a great victory to a much smaller one.

If for example 10 people that really cared for that woman sat down and prayed with their hearts for God to help, I have no doubt, she would have been blessed. Heck, maybe not even 10 people. But if on the other hand, there are 100 people in great fear of what might happen to her, then you almost counter the faith that is trying to help her. I am no saint but I have seen miracles before I went to prison, while I was in prison, and after I got out… I know they exist. And technically, I got my prayed answered for her, it was, after all, a more favorable outcome.

But if so, why then did she still die?

I am not so naïve to think that she was going to live forever, but the idea was to try to get her to live a more healthy and comfortable life. But the same illness that gave her problems (diabetes) was the same that eventually claimed her life. If prayer is (or was) so great, why then did it eventually fail her?

I think faith is not a one time thing, which many people fail to understand, it has to be a constant. When you apply faith to your problem, you have to be aware that just because things go well initially does not mean it is “smooth sailing”. You have to be constant in believing for a better and continual outcome.

If you want to lose 20 pounds, you don’t get all charged up with exercise, a diet plan and supplements for the first 2 days, then after that pig out on McDonalds, Dominoes Pizza and Dunkin Donuts the week or two after that, do ya? Once you make the commitment for the change, you have to stay vigilant. Does that mean you NEVER go to those places…of course not. Hey, I love fast food, but I don’t eat it every day…heck, not every week (although I sometimes wish I could). But the idea of losing weight means being constant on that change of pace that you are making.

How can it be any different with faith? Many people can, and do, receive miracles in a thing, but months later slip back into the problem because they no longer walked in faith, rather by sight.

When that elderly lady got out of that hospital, I was very happy for her, and inside of me, I was thankful that God had given her a more favorable outcome than initially expected. But because the illness was not gone, there was still a need to have faith that she would be well. We all know how terrible a disease diabetes is, and we know how it can get progressively worse with time.

I often made many prayers for that lady, sometimes I would call a ministry to pray for her…all this sounds all saintly, but folks, we ALL should be doing this. I would truly like to think that somebody reading my posts has privately prayed to God for me as well, we should all be able to do that for one another, whether ex felon, inmate, or free person.

So she was indeed in my prayers…while I was with them. When we parted ways, I was very disappointed in how she and the station treated me. Angry…yeah a little, but not in a rage. But to be sure, I stopped praying for the woman. In my mind, she betrayed me of my help, faith and trust. There was not one person that worked at that station that could even imply that I took anything from that station, nor did it any harm. Yet my sin to these “Christians” was my past.

So I could no longer pray for that woman, even though my heart said that she was not totally at fault for the situation, she still acted on poor judgment. She KNEW me better than that, she saw my acts, she saw my kindness, she saw my help. No one saw more of what I contributed to that station than her. Yet in the twinkling of an eye, she gave place to someone who may well have pointed out my past, and to her, I was judged again, and condemned.

Folks, you don’t know what its like to be rejected by so called “Christians”, and yet, this was the SECOND time this has happened to me!

So there were times of bitterness I had for that station, and her, and in fact there was a time I sought to sue the station for breach of contract. We had actually signed a contract where I would be the executive producer of sports, and act independently for the station. By them twisting the contract and giving my position to the guy I hired, I felt there should be a lawsuit. I even had a friend look at it, and was seriously thinking of suing the holy pants off of them.

But I was listening to some faith Cds one night, and one of the things it mentioned that has a major factor in answered prayer is forgiveness. The Bible makes a few examples of how important it is for us as people to forgive before we get answered prayer. The pastor on that CD talked about how you cannot hold a grudge against anyone, even if you are innocent of the situation. God answers prayer from people who forgive, because nobody here is perfect anyway. So I listened to the CD and the pastor was saying that we should forgive anyone, and everyone, and hold nothing against them.

Folks…that is HARD TO DO!

But it seemed necessary. I was sitting on a possible lawsuit on this crappy station, and figured I could hit them hard for breach of contract… maybe I could end up owning the station (although too ambitious). Yet the pastor said we were to hold nothing against anyone. Because if we held anything against anyone, then God would hold something against us. One scripture says, “whatsoever you loose on earth is loosed in Heaven, and whatsoever you bind on earth, is bound in Heaven”.

And the funny thing was, one of the things he mentioned on that CD included lawsuits. He said if you want to forgive, you have to let it go.

Let it go??? But I have a case here! These people swindled me out of a job, I really, really needed a job! I gave almost a year of free service to this station to prove my sincerity, and now that I finally got myself in a position to get a job, I lose it because of some jerk who stabbed me in the back, and the lady I sat and helped all this time, my last line of defense, turns her back on me too! I was cheated a good job!

And worse, for it to work, I had to forgo any pay the first year just so we could have enough money to pay everybody else. I DIDN’T EVEN GET PAID FOR MY JOB!

How in the name of God was I suppose to just drop all that?

I mean, my books weren’t selling on my prison blogs, nor my cards or certificates. I was banned from several prison sites and even though I had a few people supporting my blogs, it wasn’t enough to make a living out of. I really, really needed that job. I did everything right, I did what society wanted, I contributed, I was a positive and constructive individual. I didn’t get in any trouble, I did my time, I paid my debt to society and covered all the bases And if I did everything like I was supposed to, there should have been something good at the end of this rainbow.

Folks…I really needed that job.

And yet, because of my past…I was rejected.

Yet, I am supposed to forgive? With a potential lawsuit in my hand, I am supposed to forgive, and drop the suit? Carnally speaking, most people would say that it is ok to forgive, but legally I might have had an issue and had a right to pursue it.

But spiritually that is not true. True forgiveness means dropping ANY resent for a person, and no longer holding them responsible for what they did to you…that would include a lawsuit too. I twisted and turned in bed, wondering if this was the right thing to do. Folks…I needed to make an income…it really sucks being broke and out of work, even though I have a college degree. I was banking on that job to stimulate my income, while also writing blogs and getting support. Neither was working, and it was depressing.

But IF I was going to honor the word, it meant I had to drop the suit. I didn’t want to, but my heart told me that if you truly, TRULY want to forgive, it was something I had to do.

So I did.

Lots of you need to think about that too, with a loved one in prison, you may have some prayers you need answered, but if you do, make a check of you heart. If you hold anyone in contempt, perhaps you need to back off and make peace with God about it. I mean, does God answer prayers from an angry heart? No.

There was one scripture that says that if you have a problem with anyone, go fix it and settle it before you offer your alms to God, because God won’t accept it until you do. I have to imagine that this extends to prayer too. If you have a son in prison, and have been asking everybody on the site to pray, pray, pray, you might want to take a moment and look at yourself. Is there somebody you have a problem with? Or, with some of you, you might be disappointed in your loved one in prison…are you so disappointed that you can’t forgive him or her?

Even if you are looking at time yourself, consider the same thing. Now granted folks what I speak of is a very noble thing…something common man would not do, but ironically it is what God would want us to do…forgive.

There is just something about forgiveness that goes with faith to make answered prayer work…that and some patience. I have benefited from it a few times, and I suppose I lost a few prayers because of the lack of it. Lost prayers however, don’t mean I can never get them back…there are still prayers I can still pick up. After all, I did pray for prosperity, so that is still quite possible…especially with support from my readers and my books.

So yesterday was full of things for me, and yet even after 9 pages of writing today, there was still more I could have said. But I’ll stop here for now, maybe I will blog more later, I am currently over 150 blogs, so I am on a steady pace. Anyway, I want you to keep the idea of faith in mind when you think of your loved one in prison. I shared all these things to help you understand that even though as an ex felon I go through lots of hell (figuratively), I still believe in answered prayer, and in believing that, I try my best to blog in a positive and constructive manner. May you do the same. 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.

#150 Wisdom of Kindness (new) #152 Mental Aspects of Prison Support

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