You just don’t appreciate your blessing until it is taken away

faith, hope, injustice, musings

“And you, fathers, do not provoke your children to wrath,
but bring them up in the training and admonition of the Lord”
Ephesians 6:4 (NKJV)

Another day, and it just keeps running through my mind how excited you were  for our older son as he improved so much with football this season.   I hope things are  starting to improve at home. Does he still draw? I hope he will send me some more pics.

Wrestling would be great for him, especially if one of the coaches or some of the same boys were on that team, as well. Consistency seems to help him so much. I cried when I read what you had to say about N. I knew what was in the letter even before reading it about him. I miss them both so much, and I know that’s why they don’t write; it’s too hard to express how much they need me at home.

I’ve never said what the other inmates refer to as “being back in the world”. I always say, “going home.” Your visits help me to hold on to the idea of “home”, and being there again. You ask me to write, but it’s so hard to put into words how I feel when I see you through the glass. My arms yearn to hold you again, to run my fingers through your hair. This is how a man should yearn for his woman. It takes time to develop the type of love we have, but it is worth it in the end.

I remember coming home so many times to you waiting, and wanting me with your eyes. They are so seductive and open me up to your soul. I could always see your truth flowing from within. If the children were up, they would come running, screaming, “Daddy”, with such excitement, and the chicken whisperer would come up and put his head on my belly. But you would always allow them to come to me first, most of the time. I hope other men got this same type of treatment, because it is so good to be appreciated by your family when you come home from a long day at work, and most of my days were very long, 14 +hours a day.

You just don’t appreciate your blessing until it is taken away. Even when you bring the boys to a visit, the youngest comes running to me, as you never stop being daddy, even when they take you away. You still hold that same excitement, but I know you have to hold back, but then I can feel it when you press me so close. I long for your embrace, even when you use to squeeze my ribs out of place; which you did that one time…and you never let me live it down.  I worked like that for three or four days before the chiropractor found it and popped it back in place…

I am haunted though, by not being there enough. I should have been there to help you with all of those kids more. I should have listened to you, and been kinder. I was such a bully, and tormented them the way I had been as a child. I didn’t understand myself enough to be more considerate to them. I had so much healing to do. I am ashamed at myself for my lack of tolerance to all of their special needs. This hurts me deep down in my soul.  I allowed my inner child to dictate in those moments. I have asked forgiveness from God, but I keep picking that burden up. Reading the tibetan book helps me to see how close and precious family should be.

Family should be shown love above everything else in life, nurturing each part. God has shown me how a father should be to his children and wife. You were always so patient with me. I only saw that I needed to support the family with money, and now I see that God is first, then family, then self. So many men need to understand this, as our children pay for our mistakes, and then pass it on to the next generation. Tell the men to remember to support the needs of the children, not to exasperate them…

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I don’t know how long I’ll be away…

10/8/13

Dear Shel,

I haven’t been writing much as I’m working to clear my mind from

spirituality, faith, God, hope, solitary

Palden Gyatso was born in a Tibetan village in 1933 and became an ordained Buddhist monk at 18…and spent the next 25 years of his life enduring interrogation and torture simply for the strength of his beliefs.

all of the worry surounding my impending ICON, which is worse than the segregationwhere I am currently. I’ve never had a write up before, so now they want to observe mefor 90 days.There have been many put here lately, given ‘A’ charges, and they don’t even know why they received it. The CO came to tell me that they’ve decided to let Raleigh decide about my ICON time at some point next week. They did this so they would’nt be responsible, and can also add on additional time to my punishment. So, I will go before the Directors’ Board and possibly get a harsher punishment. God is in control, so I do my best not to worry.

I have A’s pictures that he used to draw. I have also held onto the the three letters N wrote while he was in the behavorial ‘prison’. I keep them in my bible now that they are almost falling apart.

I got your book today. I’ve already read two chapters, and have cried three times, and he hasn’t even talked about being in prison yet. His family was so loving and supportive. I find it very interesting.

10-9-13

Your visit was wonderful. You need not to worry so much about me. God is with me. Even though the cuffs hurt, it was worth it to see your pretty face. Your standing up for me helps so much, also. I hope things we were able to talk about will help you through out the next week. Just as yours help me.

Getting the local newspaper has helped so much. I get them around 2 pm, so I read

for a little while, then I exercise. I can’t thank you enough.

10/12/13

This is such a great book. I thank God for the blessings I had ignored, thinking we had just a common, boring life. I live as  a king compared to how these people in Tibet were persecuted. It is sad to read how people were tortured and destroyed, when life is so invaluable. I have been complaining about such petty things. The book has also opened my eyes to what is happening in this prison; that, even though it is a miserable and sad fate, it is nothing compared to what is happening in other countries. I do see, however, that our country is heading down the same path. The American way of life is corroding right in front of our eyes. I stayed up until 11:30 the other night, standing in my doorway to catch some of the main room’s light, just so I could keep reading into Chapter 7. Our lights get cut out at 10, but I didn’t want to stop. I am now on Chapter 10, and it flows so well that it is hard to put down.

I’ve never read a book this easily before. I usually bet bored and start nodding off, but not with this book.

It’s funny, because it cost you more to send the book than it did to buy the book, itself.

10-13-13

I finished the book this morning. thanks for such a great book. It was something that I needed so I could understand my suffering better, and to see that it could be worse. If the monks and other innocent people can endure all of that horrible stuff, then my time should be a stroll in the park. I do see how our treatment here involves some of the same tactics, but not quite as extreme.

I signed the form to go to surgery yesterday, so I should go by Wed or before. I don’t know how long I’ll be away, but it shouldn’t be long. I was 28 when I had the first hernia surgery. Damn, that seems so long ago, now doesn’t it? To be honest, I don’t feel that old. Having lost so much fat now, I feel much better than in years past. I actually feel younger than 28 now.

It’s 3 pm now, and they told me not to eat or drink anything after 12 am because of a procedure. So, I’ll get this out today so you will know. Don’t worry, I’ll be just fine. Know that I love you very much. Not sure if they are going to keep me long, maybe a few days? I won’t be able to get up or get my food the first few days. I remember how hard it was before to move and get up. Jesus is by my side now, and I feel protected, and I feel you near me, too!

I love you and the boys very much…

150,000. Children.

It’s good that you cry for us, Margaret. I had to stop crying when I was eight. I’ve forgotten how…Len in Oranges and Sunshine, 2010

10-14/13 11 p.m.                childalone

Dear Chicano,

I need to hear your voice.

Who am I kidding…I need you here, with me, catching tears as  I cry.

Once started, I can’t stop.

I’ve held it in so long, lest I end up deflated, an empty balloon discarded.

I couldn’t write today, or work. There is such a heavy sadness,

I lie in bed and flipped the channels tonight, very rare for me; found a movie that had just started, and couldn’t believe

what unfolded.

A social worker from England, Margaret Humpreys, becomes involved, by chance, with a grown victim from a mind blowing atrocity that was hidden from the world for decades. Almost single-handedly, she begins a quest to help children deported from shelters in England to the horrors of primitive, unbearable cruelty in the wilds of Australia, and other far reaches of the world. Margaret was so touched by the first woman’s story that she flew to Australia with her own money, to begin research that would span over twenty three years, amidst death threats, being separated by her own children researching in Australia, and becoming emotionally weakened by the experiences of the children she researched.

No one was talking about it; the deportation of shelter children away from family, country because it was cheaper to send them away than to give them proper care. The mothers were told that the children had been adopted by loving families;the children were told  their parents were dead, and that they were going to a special place where they would” pick oranges off of the trees for breakfast, ride horses to school, and the sun would shine every day”. Instead, all of their belongings were taken away, and they were forced into slave labor, torture, abuse, and then forced to “pay back” their “debt” for being “taken care of” by Roman Catholic brothers.

Chicano, some of these children were 4 years old!

The unfolding of the stories of these men who were the main focus, some fifty years old at that point, were so touching, and the relationship of friendship and trust that developed between Margaret and the men, as well as the families when reunited, was heart wrenching.

I just cried off and on during different parts; it was like a part of me rent open, a dam sealed off too long. One man made it clear that he had paid back the ‘home’ for his tools, food and such, he “didn’t owe a thing to anyone”, as the money he earned through slave labor paid  for a swimming pool to be put behind the facility they had been forced to build.  Every one of them put into servitude until their ‘debt’ was paid back to these charities.

It seems to me that it created a large overflow of revenue for the government, as well as the many charities that were involved, CHARITIES, because there was no real care involved, even the children cooked for the other children (maybe worse than prison food, in that case); how they built a gorgeous facility hand by hand, with little food or water; beat with large clubs or tractor belts, chased down on horseback if they tried to escape. And then, the sexual trauma…

150,000. Children. Children, from 1947 to the 70’s, our time, endured these horrors. How did it go on for so long? If it hadn’t been for Margaret’s love and open heart, this probably never would have surfaced.

I think God led me to this place tonight, because I have been praying for relief, asking about purpose; how I, one person, can make a difference in the unjust atrocity that has become our life, the secret life of so many people here in America, and all over the world, this sin of silence.

When we sit close-mouthed in the midst of injustice, we, by default, condone.

Pray that I will find my voice.

I love you…

There’s one Rose left…

There's one Rose left...

…from all the flowers you ever planted in the ground.
This one refuses to die, clinging to particles of dirt
from all the places we travelled together; North Carolina, Pennsylvania,
Maryland, back to the mountains of North Carolina, and now, she sits,
tenacious and gnarled, upright in a little pot mingled with dirt from Virginia.

When you return, I expect you plant, one more time, one rose, in a place we call home.