Apr 12, 2009 – Easter Sunday

Sunday, April 12, 2009 – Easter Sunday

“Mom and Dad”‘s church has a special Easter service today, as I’m sure most churches do. I wrote a letter to their pastor about 2 months before I was released disclosing my crime to him and asking his permission to attend services there. There was more to the letter, but for time and space I’ll spare you the details. The pastor to “Mom and Dad” that he didn’t have a problem with my going there as long as I attended with them and I was always with them while I was there. Which is perfect for me. There’s a level of safety in being close to your loved ones when you’re going out into public. I was insecure already before I offended, hence all my carousing to gain acceptance. But now it’s intensified by the fact that at any moment someone who would hate me if they knew my crime would figure it out and go off on me. I’m too nervous to offend again. Prison sucks and I don’t want to go back. Nor do I want to entertain any ideas that may lead to my going back there again. I so much prefer going to church with my “family”, eating at restaurants, driving my car, talking on my phone, playing my guitar.

After church, the “family” went back to the house and had Easter dinner. It was so wonderful. I am so thankful for everything I have and the loved ones who care about me. As a Christian, I am grateful that we can celebrate the resurrection of Jesus. I’m grateful to be out of prison and celebrating these things with loved ones.

“Mom and Dad” are leaving tonight for San Diego for the wedding. “Brother” leaves on Thursday. I probably won’t see him before he leaves. I’m going to be without my “family” for about 10 days. After this week of being with them so much, it’s going to be like withdrawals without them this coming week. But it will be good too. I’ll have a chance to get settled in where I’m living and get the all important rut established in my day to day life.

I drove back to my apartment and met my roommate and other men in the complex for church service tonight. We meet in a church about 20 miles away. It’s an adult-only service on Sunday nights. This is because the church is the sponsor of the apartments I live in. The church also sponsors other houses around the state for releasing offenders. Not just sex offenders. Part of what the church does is provide not only housing, but betterment programs that are required if you are going to live in their houses. You have to sign up for one year. I’m lucky to be here and I’m excited to dive in head first and do all I can to better myself and maybe even figure out what calling is on my life. How can I serve? Surely even a man like me can do something positive for the community. As one Christian song says: “Greater things have yet to come, Greater things are still to be done in this city”. The man who leads the worship service for this congregation is thinking about leaving. He’s looking to me to take over. This is exactly what I am called to do. The only question was in what and where. So, it looks like I’m going to be phasing myself into the worship leader role.

This church is awesome. The people have been broken at one point in their life and have been forgiven much. There’s a level of sincerity that “Mom and Dad”‘s church doesn’t have. Prison changes people. Sometimes for bad. You learn things that you shouldn’t learn. Some people discard that information, but some add it to their arsenal of law-breaking habitual behaviors. And then there are those who change for the better…which is what I think the Department of Corrections intends to happen. Although they don’t do much to encourage it, sometimes it happens in spite of them. Those people who have changed for the better have something that no one else has – the realization of what it’s like to lose it all. And it’s that realization that gives these people the edge to be better men and women. Now the only thing standing in their way is a public who has no idea what it’s like to lose it all.

One week out. I’ve made it this far…

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