Gabe | Inmate correspondence

Dear Human Kindness Foundation,

I have been in and out of prison for 30 years. I’m currently on my 6th term of incarceration with eight years in. I was raised in a good Christian family, but I strayed away and never came back to it. When I caught this case in 2009, I was shot and left to die. I cried out to God while in the hospital, and he answered. He gave me back mobility because doctors said I would never walk again. Ever since then, I’ve dedicated my life to Christ.

I really appreciate your newsletter and have read all of your books. The only thing I didn’t get back is my family. They have completely turned their back on me, and this is eating me up inside and has me feeling hopeless. If you have any advice for me on this, I’d love to hear from you.

God bless you,

R.

Dear R.,

Glad you wrote us and glad to hear about the path you are on. I’ve been out over six years, but I did 19 years in prison myself and have a lot of experience on dealing with family that have been hurt by my actions. I just wanted to write and share my thoughts and hope it helps in some way. I don’t know your whole story or your situation; I don’t want to and I don’t need to.

I have some family I haven’t spoken with in over 25 years because of the pain I caused. I realized long ago that there was no making up to them for the wrong I did. I had crossed a line that there was no second chance at. And just because I had turned my life around and will never be the person I was before doesn’t change the things I did. I hurt people and in some ways there is nothing I can do about that. It tears me up inside and makes my stomach sick, but that is something you have to deal with. I still deal with it and live my life now doing something about the things I can change.

Maybe the people you hurt need more time or maybe they may never want to talk to you; either way that’s not up to you. I’m sure you want to cause them as little pain as you can, so it might be best to give them the time and space they need. You got to remember, they’ve heard all our lies and promises before, and just because this time really is different for us, it’s not to them. The best thing is to show them and prove it, instead of trying to tell them, and that takes time… maybe years. You do that by how you live your life from here.

In your letter you said your family abandoned you. To me that says you need to take a better look at your part in all this. Until you really and truly take full responsibility for your actions you can’t began to heal. Only then do you realize it’s your fault and that you can do something about it.

I encourage you to remember that feeling of laying in that hospital bed with doctors telling you that you wouldn’t walk again and begging God for one more chance… you got it!!!! If you really have faith in God you will trust that you will get just what you need for this journey—not what you want.

Look back through Bo’s books and read them like he’s talking to you. If you haven’t read them, I encourage you to. They really are the reason I am who I am today. I always found help when I needed it and it seems every time I read one of the responses to a letter he wrote I found something I had missed before.

I know this can be hard and feels like it’s not worth it at times, but it is. I swear it is and hope you get to see that for yourself.

Many blessings, friend.

Gabe

Photo credit: Ayo Ogunseinde for Unsplash.com

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