9-1-07 LETTER TO JACK

Hi Jack,
Got your letter tonight (along with 4 others, feast or famine) I thought I’d start tonight and finish tomorrow.

I am not so sure writing parole letters is as big as you say. The blind leading the blind. Six months ago I did not know anything about them – or the process for that matter. Now it’s an everyday thing, and something that is constantly on my mind for me as well. But thanks for the many compliments in your letter. I thought about it & writing is a gift I should share, you are right. Heck, half the CO’s, even half the Sgt.’s could use a grammar & writing course. I told my wife I was amazed how poorly they are educated it seems. Not that it’s not a job you grow up wanting to become-“ oh yes, more, please I want to be a prison guard when I grow up!” Sorry, my sarcasm is showing & I digress. I guess it’s because of the several grievances I’ve read or been involved with lately (or still) having to do with guards messing – physically or emotionally – with inmates, then lying to cover with others lying & swearing to it. ALL inmates can’t be lying or fabricating these things. The guards may not speak or write well, but they sure know how to play the game and get away with things. Fortunately I am not in the areas (the box or other such areas) where most of that takes place. I also am (pardon the pun) on my guard around them. Ha ha.

I will confess my wife and son’s visit lifted me a lot the weekend of the festival. Though fading some, their faces and expressions & hugs are still vivid in my mind. The second day with my wife felt so “normal” – just like getting together with her somewhere. Then my son joined us, as she had not seen him since his last visit here either. Boy, lots of hugs & tears all around. He had a good time in Thailand, not the great one he had hoped, but still wants to live over in Asia somewhere…

I can identify with those five words too Jack – Go, Sell, Give, Come, Follow. As the district pastor, Reverend Lewis, told us at that festival and has been telling us, if we put God first, all else will follow. Sometimes I am not really sure I do that – surely I didn’t for a while during my dark stage which brought me here. But now I am more conscious of being “Christ-like” , giving thanks in my prayers all day long for my little blessings & joys. It is such a juxtaposition to smile & be happy in prison. He also (Rev) preached about the 10 lepers healed by Jesus, and only the 1 Samaritan returned to thank him. He left us with “Am I like the 9 or the 1?” So that has been on my mind a lot too – being the 1. That sounded funny, but you know what I mean.

Now as you say we have to work on people! Crisis management – man, I am learning THAT on the fly. But you are so right – oh I can see the start of the healing for me. Or maybe I am just coming to grips better with all that is happening – still an adjustment. I am also starting to see some thawing in my wife & that relationship. She has been so supportive – and full of grace that is like no other. Experiencing it is hard to describe, but we do enjoy each others company and will remain committed in some shape or form – even if I AM committed here – ha ha.

Speaking of action, I am sending her a pamphlet with a brief outline and info on the Career Preparation & Mentor Program my buddy and I are trying to get off the ground here. We’ve submitted all the info & paperwork, we are just waiting, hopefully to get an audience with the right people to push it through. Just the action of working with Prince (my partner) on it has been therapeutic for us at least. He also wants to work on a counseling type men’s group for guys who need a place to talk freely – regular counselors write things down or “rat them out” so guys do not always feel safe. The mental health people just want to put you on meds (drugs make the world go round) He just got hit with 2 more years when he went to the board, so he wanted to talk and found it difficult. We have some, but I only see him at work. It’s not like we can get together at other times, so we are working on that too.

Oh, don’t know if I told you both but it looks like I will be transferred to Mid-state C.F. in Marcy, NY. I am sure you can find more info on line. My counselor & I had a quarterly review & she told me. It is the when no one knows – when they have an open bed. That sounds kinda like bunk to me – there are about 1500 or 1600 spaces, you can’t find a room at the inn in that place for 1 more guy? Hey, I WOULD take the stable! It probably will be early to mid October. but could be tomorrow. I’m hoping my wife will call Albany which may help, though my counselor says not. I do know the squeaky wheels gets the grease in this big facility. After all, it is State run – like one big committee. You know what committees do? They tried to make a horse but ended up with a camel – and it was 12 months late! Well, I am up later than I thought. I need my rest as I am fighting a cold so many other dudes have, ya heard? Ha ha. More later (or in a second as they say)

Wed. PM Hi again. Was supposed to go help with a parenting class but it was postponed till next week. I am loving this fresh fruit my wife brought – yum! Such a simple pleasure. My hospice work at Pines of Peace work may pay off here believe it or not. They are taking applicants for hospice work in here! I hope in a way I at least get interviewed, but then I hope to move too. I know “whatever will be, will be” .Thy will be done.

I feel numb in many ways now as I plod though the days. Monday actually seemed like it would never end – I was in each moment, it was just long. Now here it is Wed. PM already. A friend from church wrote a great letter that had me in tears. She has been a good support also and a true friend of our family. My daughter really enjoyed her time with them and vice-versa.
God works in mysterious ways, and I hope I am prepared for His next one – I am much more aware and recognize the feeling as having had it before. Now I am examining the changes that led me from this comfort zone. It is work, let me tell you. Thankfully I am getting some help through my dream work, Rev. Lewis and the support of my family & you all and others. Thanks!

Hope to write you again soon. Keep up the running. By the time you receive this you’ll be well into your vacation. Enjoy!

God Bless,
Van

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *