Updated: Jan 19, 2022
''People are often unreasonable and self-centered..
Forgive them anyway.
If you are kind, people may accuse you of ulterior motives.
Be kind anyway.
If you are honest, people may cheat you.
Be honest anyway.
If you find happiness, people may be jealous.
Be happy anyway.
The good you do today may be forgotten tomorrow.
Do good anyway.
Give the world the best you have and it may never be enough,
Give your best anyway.
For you see, in the end, it is between you and God!
It was never between you and them anyway.''
~Mother Teresa ~
Today, I can proudly say with honor, that I am a full fledged G.D.! No, not that of a Gangster Disciple, but God's Disciple! More specifically, the Lord's Disciple!
How foolish was I to wander in a world not knowing who I was. Not realizing my true worth, or my value?
During the process of writing this book so many things have transpired in my life that has made me a better man, and follower of my Lord, and Savior Jesus. Our individual lives consist of a plethora of single moments. And as much as any one of us may want to, none of us has the capability to undo one single thing in our past whether good, or bad.
Through the pages of this book I have attempted to share my life with you. I clearly understand that for the majority of you, that this was not your life. I realize that some of the things you have read were very unsettling, and disturbing. It was so very painful to revisit the vast of these memories. Most which have laid dormant in the recesses of my mind. Please try to understand that in order for me to fill these pages, I literally had to relive moments that made me feel less than human. Be it, that it may, writing this book was not just therapeutic, but more times than not, cathartic. Through these pages I attempted to purge my soul.
It was never my intention to glorify any of the wicked, or disgusting deeds that I committed. I will not try to minimize my behavior, or attempt to make any excuses by saying I was a product of my environment, or some other catch phrase that may be popular nowadays as a cop out. I take full accountability, and responsibility for every single one of my actions. However, there are a plethora of mitigating factors that contributed to most of my poor decisions, and choices.
My life was in desperate need of a Physician. The Master healer Himself, that was capable of giving me a new heart, and a new life by His death, and resurrection. I clearly understand that just because He has forgiven me of my sins doesn't mean that I am exempt from the consequences, or repercussions of my poor choices.
The most painful, is the reality that I struggle with on a daily basis, which consist of the absence from the lives of my five beautiful children! Throughout these many years I have become a stranger to each one of them, including my four grandchildren. They may never know, but every morning I get on my knees in prayer, asking God to cover them from all hurt, harm, and danger that undeniably exists in this world.
While completing this book in 2019, one of my daughters lost the father of her adolescent son, to gang violence on the Eastside of Tacoma, Washington. In the exact same neighborhood were I grew up at. Then just a few months later my daughter who resides in Dallas, Texas, lost the father of her adolescent son to gang violence as well.
How pathetic is it that the two of them don't even know one another? But what's more pathetic is the same very streets that took their father away from them has ironically taken the father of their sons! I can only begin to scratch the surface of how they feel. The very same pain, and loneliness, that they experience is no doubt equivalent, if not greater than the exact same anguish I suffered when my mother abandoned me! Only months ago did I fully come to grips that I may never receive the love from my mother that a child so desperately yearns from their parent(s) in this lifetime.
Sadly enough, I feel responsible for the majority of their agony, and suffering. I unequivocally admit that I failed to be the man that they needed most in their lives. But God knows how I pray for a chance to redeem myself in the lives of each one of them. Now that I know what REAL LOVE is, the only thing I desire is to shower them with it. Until I accepted Christ, I never knew that REAL LOVE ever existed!
Just as Jesus cannot force Himself in my life, or anyone else's, neither can I force myself in theirs. Nothing good comes by force. But when the day comes that they invite me in their lives I will be ready to love them in the capacity that I've yearned for my entire life. I may sound a little selfish when I say this, but I need them. As badly as I need my next breath!
Some may believe that its virtually impossible for me make amends for the countless lives that I have destroyed by proxy of my life in the streets. However, My God says different. God has shown me Grace, and in return I bestow that same Grace amongst those who I am now presently amongst.
My past life I took pleasure in selling dope, now I take pride in giving hope. And its not my hope, but the same hope of reconciliation, restoration, and redemption that comes by way of my Faith in Jesus, which is the Gift of God. But a Gift, can only be considered a Gift, if one accepts it.
For so long I was held captive by my sins. The adversary attempted to hold my soul hostage, and would have me believe that due to my past I was not worthy of the free Gift of Salvation. But the devil is a lie.
It has been said that, ''We are all prisoner's, in one form or another, its just that some of us happen to be behind bars!" But I attest that although I'm behind bars I am FREE. And It is He who lives within me that makes me free!
One of the laws of Physics is that anything in motion causes friction. Similar, one of the laws in the Spiritual realm is that any motion of progress in the pursuit of Godliness will produce friction as it confronts the carnality of human nature. In a few months I will be 47 years old. As of today, I have spent over 24 years of my life incarcerated.
Although I have a substantial amount of mental scars from witnessing some of the most horrific acts that man is capable of, it is only by the Grace of God that my Manhood is still fully intact. There are certain morals, and principles, that I will never compromise under any circumstance regardless of how long I must reside in the pit of this devil's den!
Although I am surrounded by what society deems the: 'Undesirables', I know in my heart that God has desired each and every single one of these men to be conformed into the image of His Son. Will that transformation ever take place? That is ultimately between them and our Creator!
As difficult as it is, I try my best not to judge anyone for any of
their crime(s), nor their sins. Versus seeing the worst that they have been, or are capable of, I try to search for the hidden gem that each man possesses more so, that Light that is still flickering inside most them that although struggles to stay burning, and lit, nevertheless, it refuses to be extinguished!
Why, you may ask?
Because EVERY LIFE MATTERS!!!
I believe wholeheartedly when God says in Jeremiah 29:11-14,
''For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the
Lord, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a
future and a hope. Then you will call upon Me and go
pray to Me, and I will listen to you. And you will seek Me,
when you search for Me with all your heart. I will be found by you,
says the Lord,''
I personally believe He meant that for every single one of us on the face of this earth! Are my thoughts ill-logical (illogical)? No! My logic is no longer sick!
I realize I do not possess the ability to repay God for His favor that He has given me. Or for His forgiveness, His Mercy, His Love. But what I can do is give Him everything that is left of me, and my life until my last breath!
Yes, without a doubt I want to go home. But just as Joseph was sold into slavery, and later went to prison for 17 years for a crime he didn't commit scripture says that the Lord was with him. Indeed there are many dark clouds that hover over all prisons alike. But God's Spirit is there just the same.
I have witnessed that same Spirit in many of the people that are employed here at the 'Bay'. From Superintendent, Jeri Boe, to many who are on her staff, that of Upper Management, to Sergeants such as Mr. Maines, certain CO's such as Mr. Ross, Mr. Starks, Mr. Ritter, Mr. Barry, who have been here 20, 25, 30 years, whose aim is to make positive change, but due the opposition, and from the forces that be, they can only do so much.
In spite of what society may believe, there are many men of Faith here. Yes, of different religions. And the common thread that we share, and unites us is how we all believe that our Faith has called us to open the eyes of the blind so that they may see. That the prison(s) they might possibly be being held captive, or trapped in bondage in, is the prison(s) of their own bodies, minds, and souls!
On November 29th, one day after Thanksgiving, an old convict whose name was, Old Man Bill, was found laying dead in the middle of his cell, on the bare concrete floor from a heart attack. One of he CO's said that it appeared he was reaching out with one fatal attempt to push the button to exit his door. Less than a month later, a few days after Christmas, another elder died, named Mr. King!
I thought of Bill, and how he was reaching out with an outstretched arm. When a child is born, their hands are clinching. As if they're grasping at air, or attempting to hold on to something invisible. But when one dies, we usually die with our hands completely open. Palms exposed, as if were finally letting go of everything we tried to hold onto during the course of our lives.
The valid, and vivid point I'm attempting to make is that each one of us has the opportunity to finally let go of anything that might be hindering our lives. Whether it be a bad relationship, a job, or lifestyle. That may consist of anything that is, or may be seperating us from the love of God. And until we surrender, and let go of all these distractions, it is highly possible that we may never enter into the season to receive, and retrieve the many Blessings that He wants to exceedingly and abundantly shower our lives with.
But once we release everything that is not of Him, from the grips of our hands, and reach out to Him, I assure you that He will reach back. He shall fill our lives with Hope, and a Purpose. Just hold on! Because that Cross He will place in our hands will need to be held by both of them.
In short, death in a barren place such as this brings into perspective the reality that tomorrow is not promised to any of us. Regardless of how tough some of these men parade around, I know for a fact that not one of them wishes to die alone. And I know beyond a shadow of a doubt in my mind, that not one of them can afford to die, without, 'God's Grace!'