Thursday, February 02, 2012
Surprises still happen . .
. . . even with a course that I haven't enjoyed one bit!
I didn't think that there was any redeeming feature of this course for me. We're just over half-way through now, and I can't think of any time during it, that I could truthfully say I was enjoying the learning experience but, for once, something positive has come out of it :)
As part of the course, we had to deal with a chapter that was all about the creativity used by prisoners, in their effort to communicate with other inmates. Part of this, dwelt on the prisoners who are on death row, and how their only real outlet for creativity was in either the artwork they created, or through letter writing through a pen-pal system created just for those on death row. This was started by a group of people who call themselves Lifeline and via co-ordinators who set each pen-pal coupling up.
The whole idea of writing to someone on death row intrigued me a little as, through my various disabilities, I have become almost as incarcerated as they are. True, I don't have the death sentence hanging over me that they do and, obviously, I didn't do anything to warrant my being in this position in the first place but, because I have always loved letter writing, I decided to sign up for it.
Much to my surprise, I am enjoying the process of getting to know a complete stranger, through the medium of writing, and the first letter I have received from my new pen-pal was so filled with a sense of humanity and humour, that even my hubby has become involved in our writing partnership.
I think what saddened me the most, with what I have learned so far, is the fact that there are around 200 inmates of death row waiting desperately for someone to reach out to them, and become a much-needed pen-pal. For many of the inmates, a letter is the only contact they have with the outside world, especially if family relations have broken down, and it has got to the point where the co-ordinators are having to ask those who are long-term pen-pals, if they could take on another pen-pal, as so many inmates are desperate for that human contact.
I hope, and I pray, that there are people out there who can look beyond what the inmates have done in the past, and have the ability to help build up a relationship based on the written word, so that these men and women, who are all living with a death sentence, can find some peace, and even joy, in their lives.
As I told my new pen-pal, whatever he has done in the past is between him and God. I figure that, if Jesus could forgive the murderer crucified beside him, then surely we, imperfect as we are, can find it in our hearts to go beyond what was done, to find the humanity that lives inside us all.