A very nice woman sent me a sad letter from her prison cell recently. She's feeling alone, can see no light at the end of the tunnel, wonders whether she'll ever get out, sees no positive action, and finds that she no longer believes or trusts people. There's not much chance that she would ever be considered for release for medical reasons because, as she put it, she's healthy.
Not having been incarcerated, I absolutely cannot identify with her feelings of despair.
But here's what I had to offer, after reading her letter:
Even though it was a letter of justified complaints, I felt compelled to respond to the shortest sentence of your letter: I'm healthy. As you may recall, an attack by a staph infection in the spring of 2010 prevented me from making that statement for the rest of that year. I'm not one to focus on my ailments and infirmities. I'm feeling amazingly good again, but I'll never fully recover...not after losing my ability to swallow, losing 65 pounds, nearly losing my life several times, and getting my nourishment from a feeding tube for 6 months. But I must tell you that after sitting here day after day thinking I've never been so sick, thinking that I've never experienced such severe pain, and wondering if my mind would ever be clear again, I will NEVER take good health for granted. It's a gift, I love it, and it's up to me to make the very best of it. And so must you. Many individuals and groups in your facility are doing good things for others, and that's really what we gotta do. You are such a wonderful person, just offering your friendship and kindness to another person is huge.
Keep prisoners like Ms. D in your prayers.