12-07 LETTER TO JACK

Thursday 12/27/07

Hi Jack:
First I want to again thank you and your whole family for a great visit last Saturday. I was such an unexpected pleasure to see the whole family when I stepped into the visiting room! They too obviously sacrificed a lot on the Saturday before Christmas having just arrived from points all over. Many thanks.
Also, I should have gotten this out way before now, but I was really feeling down after your visit. I was so hoping my family would come up, but they were unable to make it, so I will not see Ben till who knows when. I may be able to see Cat on New Year’s Day – I hope. I have to realize it is so difficult for them for many reasons, more than the normal person. They hate to see their dad locked up. They also are still working through everything, especially in Ben’s case. They have to drum up the energy to come to a place like this, which, during the holiday, proved too difficult. Here they were home from their other worlds, trying to come back “home”, but that has surely changed and lacks a great deal, turning it into a bittersweet event. At least they are talking to me – I ran up the phone bill in the last couple of days – so I know what they are thinking. When I didn’t see them, and of course I couldn’t hear from them unless I called, I was really down. If I lose their affection and caring, I most definitely would be lost. Time, Ben reminded me, is about the only thing that will help, time to work through the pain, etc. and for me to build back the relationships, though they may be different. All three of them agreed, and when I talked to them last night, it finally put my mind at ease. I feel a whole lot better today and am be able to write this to you. The hurt is still there knowing I have hurt them so deeply and irreversibly. All I can do now is try and take care of myself so they will have a healthy father whenever I do get out.
Sorry to unload on you, especially when you are probably still riding the holiday high of having your family together again. But I was in no way able to do much from Sunday till today, and my sleep suffered as did my work. I was snapping at people, kept to myself and just wasn’t good company at all. I now am typing this at work in the afternoon mod as all the preparation for tomorrow is done and I am waiting for the dot matrix printer to finish it’s job. By the way, there is no right margin or correction tape in this typewriter, so no grading for errors!!
I am not sure when you will receive this with all your planned travel. I do hope you find your brother doing better and his family coping as best they can. From my vantage point the travel weather looks to be OK, I know my nephews from Virginia wanted to come up to snow this holiday, but my brother, who you met after the visit, said that Sherburne lost all of it’s snow with the previous rains. We did get 1-2” today, but now it is raining again.

Interestingly enough, when I was really down yesterday, it was sunny so I decided to go to the outside yard in the afternoon since I was off work. After walking around the track ( ½ mile or so) a few times, I sat on the bleachers and cried my head off. Later, another inmate walked by and commented on the weather or something, then later sat not too far away and started talking. At that point I was or had been telling myself to give it all up to God and watch for what comes. Then here comes this guy talking about his parole, his family when he got out last time, and the death of his mother and father close together, kind of a love ‘em when you can type of thing. I knew there was a reason he walked by and we were talking, and I knew I had to call my wife and the kids that night where previously I didn’t want to do it. Who wants to call and find out no one wants to come visit them! I enjoyed the day so much more after that, and walked around the track more before heading back. The call, as I said, was so worth it, and I know I probably wouldn’t have done it if I hadn’t talked to that guy in the yard. Truthfully, I could fall over him and I wouldn’t know him – one of the many angels God sends, I think, if we are open to them. Believe me, I was sitting out of the way, overlooking a snow covered soccer field, and here he came. I guess I am telling you this because you also have helped me think through a lot of things when you write and I may not have told you how they helped me get through things at the time. I guess I am a little slow sometimes when it comes to critical thinking, especially when I am involved!! Reflection is good too, and the good weather helped clear my mind a bit yesterday too.

Well, back to pen in my room. I felt good in our playoff game tonight, scoring well, rebounding real well, but my pride was in my numerous steals. No one figured OT was the factor till the end, but now they labeled me the “best cracker (white) big man in the jail!” Well, the semi-finals will tell as we play a much younger team all around rather than just 2 or 3 young ones. I had to play the whole 40 minutes as we only had 6 guys, so I guess I am in shape. I want better, but then that is the way with everything – better food, shorter sentence….
Let’s hope ’08 brings peace and joy throughout the land and relief in those may parts of the world with civil unrest. Pakistan sure is a mess now with the assassination. Unfortunately not too many intellectuals to talk politics in here, but NPR is great to tune in at various times when I could.
Thank your whole family (and you) again Jack for your continual support and “walking the talk” of spreading the ministry outside the church walls.
Peace,
Van

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