God don't make no junk. ~ Various fabulous people

Imagine being in a prison cell for 30 years. You are released at 45 to a world you last saw at 15. You don't know how to use a cell phone; when you went to prison those big old brick phones were only just arriving on the scene. You don't know how to take a bus. Where do you buy a ticket? How much is a ticket? How do you know what stop to get off at? You walk into the MVD and stare in astonishment at what looks like chaos to you. All these people! What do you do? What if you don't have a pen? How will they call your name? What if you don't remember your social security number? Your address? How much do you weigh? Do you want to be an organ donor? What does that mean?

I met a man last week that is living this. He made some big mistakes early in his life but he also made some good choices while he was in prison and he is ready to re-enter society. He is ready to do things right. He is HUNGRY to live the life you and I take for granted. He wants a job. He wants to find a spiritual partner to live this life with. He'd like a family. He'd like to go to school. He can't do any of this because he entered prison under an alias. While in prison he changed his name. However, he changed it FROM his alias (which was NOT his name) to his new name. He is now trying to clean up this very messy paper trail so that he can get an Arizona State ID and begin living his newfound, much anticipated life.

Yesterday he found out he cannot get a name change court hearing until October. We sat and talked about his frustration. Eventually, after allowing him to feel the frustration and anxiety I said, "Did you ever feel this way in prison?" He replied, "Of course." I inquired, "Isn't it so much better to have this feeling on the outside?" He sat a little straighter and smiled a little smile, "You know... I wake up in the early morning and the first thing I see is my ceiling fan and I feel the nice cool breeze it blows on my face. The second thing I notice is the blessed silence. I lie there and I thank God. Tracy, I won't give up and I won't let the negative creep into my life. The only way is forward."

I think he'll make it. Arizona gave this man a second chance. God gave this man a second chance. As Carl Bard said Though no one can go back and make a brand new start, anyone can start from now and make a brand new ending. Thanks for helping us help him change his ending.

Be kind! God bless!

Tracy L Geivett, Assistant Chaplain