It’s been over 17 years since I walked out of the Wall’s Unit in Huntsville, Texas. But there were things that I saw and heard in there that have yet to leave the front of my mind, and maybe never will.
I still struggle at times if I can’t see everyone in the room or if people walk up behind me. Not all the time like it was when I was first released but still from time to time just the same. I feel God is working on that part as I am getting better.
I struggle at times when I feel like someone is being disrespectful or aggressive towards me or someone I care about. I struggle because while on the “inside” that could not be tolerated. I am learning to lean on God and just pray silently, allowing Him to take control of me and the situation.
There are sounds that, no matter what makes them, bring back the sensation of being back on the inside. Silverware, for example, can give the sound of the cell key’s being knocked around trying to find the right one. Some automatic door locks can, at times sound like the cell door being unlocked to roll open.
Sometimes when I look up at the sky, it’s almost if I’m sitting in the yard again just trying to mentally escape for a moment. The stars do the same because Christina would always look at the little dipper and so would I, if I was able to get red at night. It was our connection you could say. Looking through a chain link fence, if the sounds are right it sometimes brings me back to being on the yard watching the “free world” go by.
I say this because if you haven’t been incarcerated for any lengthy time you couldn’t know this. I say this because it is the reality for me and just about anyone who has been in prison. I say this to help you more understand what I see, hear and think about at times. What we see, hear and think about.
I learned early how to channel all of this into angry emotion and violence.
It was the only way I could really deal with it because there wasn’t anyone who could relate. I learned to numb it all with alcohol and sometimes drugs. As time went on the dependencies only grew and nothing went away. They would be there when I sobered up so the next drink was just a refreshing numbness.
October will mark 4 years of our walk with Jesus. 4 years of Christina and I pursuing Him 110% and allowing Him to change us. To change the way we see things. For me He is changing the way these memories affect me AND my reaction to them. As I said they haven’t gone away and probably never will but how I handle and react to them has.
We are so quick to judge people when they’ve been released from prison. We almost watch them like a hawk waiting for the inevitable mistake. Then we pounce, like a pack of dogs on a three legged cat, we pounce. We say things like “you haven’t changed a bit” or “you’re just as worthless as before you went to prison”. These types of reactions don’t help; they only make the situation worse. As tough as the person wants to appear, they are fragile and need support, guidance and forgiveness.
We wonder why the number of people who return to prison is so high but do nothing to try and fix it. We expect them to be normal people immediately upon their release and abandon them when we see that they’re not.
We need to come along side them and help them. We need to show them that there is a better way. It is a responsibility that isn’t easy. It’s not easy because it requires a lot of attention. For them to be idle is a dangerous place.
If you need help “starting over” and/or finding Christ in your life, we are here to help. Message us through the blog or on Facebook.
In Christ alone