A moment ago while reading, I had a view of what it would be like when I left here, some another 18 months from now. It would be a return to the same town, to the same people and friends, probably even to the same room I never had the chance to return 18 months before. What would be the difference? Me. I should be the difference between then and now. The same should be for you.
It does not matter whether next week, next month, or next year. It should not matter even if it should not be for many years from now, but there will come a time when your name, or number, will be called and you’re told to, “Pack it up”, and when the final gate is behind you and you no longer belong inside, you should have thought about the question with a definite answer of, “Where are you going?”
I can quickly state, had you spent whatever time in lockup and never had a determined plan in mind, sadly to say, but you will be back! It has been my goal for this book to help you to adjust to prison life, to make you a better person for it, this one-of-a-kind experience, but that it would in fact be a “one”-of-a-kind experience. Do you really need another stay behind these walls? What did you miss you could have gotten the first time, or this time, not necessitating a return trip? Some have said the doors are rotating, but what’s the truth behind the statement? What did you not get?
I’ve taken the liberty to share bits and pieces of my life, my hope and dreams, and I’ll share one more I have developed to give you insight of what you could possible do.
When I was arrested January 29, 2010, I was 53, trying hard to develop a life of speaking engagements, book selling and getting through the daily drudgery of life. The economic climate was not good, it was a cold winter and opportunities were lacking. When God asked me if I would make this journey I had no idea what would happen while doing it, and certainly no plan in place for when it would be completed. This would come in bits and pieces to now half-way through this bid I do have a plan in place.
In less than four months, I will turn 55 and able to receive my pension from my former employer, IBM. I worked for many years but dismissed due to drug addiction, now 21 years ago. I will consider taking my pension, marry my beautiful friend, now my fiancée since last year in March. I’d known her since 2007 but never seriously considered her more than a friend, and upon leaving here, will leave the U.S. and move to her country, the Philippines, where economically I will be able to live comfortably for the remainder of my life. I also plan to build a nice comfortable home and spend my remaining years being a husband, preacher, writer and perhaps businessman, but I want my last years to be about people, which is why I spent the last one-half year writing to you in this book.
You and I are, “God’s Gems”. We are the most important jewels He has and He has shown to us our value time and time again, but we’ve been so determined to prove Him wrong. God can never be wrong! We are precious in His sight and He wishes to hold us in His hand, but we have to come to the point of acknowledging our value and see ourselves as worthy of another chance to be with Him, to let Him do for us what we are unable to do for ourselves. No jewel has ever shined of itself. It takes someone with the knowledge of precious metals and stones to know how to bring the ultimate lustre we are capable of producing.
Sadly, many of you will not hear this valued message and will leave here determined to return being that, “diamond in the rough”. There are others of you who will go out and sparkle for a bit until you’ve been dropped in the mud and can no longer shine. But, there will be those others who will consistently rise above the muck of daily life and refuse to dampen your glow because you’ve had enough and will continue to shine, drawing others to a better way, and it all began the day when they brought us to God’s Jewelry Boxes called jail and prison, where He took charge of our lives to bring about a wondrous change, the “who” we are today.
So, where are you going? Perhaps returning is not for you. Why don’t you begin, today, to ask the Master Jeweler, where does He plan to set you in the crown of His glory. He does have a place for you and you will be locked into His wondrous Kingdom, which first began by being locked up here!
I’ll see your sparkle soon.