Thursday, August 16, 2012

Joy: it can't be stolen

Our daughter Sue tells of a delightful African American co-worker whose spirits never seem to dip. One day Sue had to ask her, "Tell me, how is it that you're always so happy, so positive, so upbeat?"

She looked at Sue, and said with conviction: "Ain't nobody gonna steal my joy."

Isn't that wonderful?

I thought of that yesterday when I opened a two-page letter from a dear friend in the Women's Correctional Facility at Ypsilanti. These women are not treated nicely. Granted, they are prisoners, but the incarceration is their punishment. They don't need or deserve such rude treatment.

HFP has been working with this prisoner in recent years to develop a wonderful knitting program for prisoners. These women knit items for shelters, hospitals, churches...they're doing good stuff for others.

We have coordinated efforts to get yarn to these knitters, sometimes as many as 100 women.

Our friend reported that the staff members do their best to disrupt this process even, although I'm not sure why. They hold up the yarn shipments, claiming the material must be closely inspected to avoid smuggling in contraband. Right!

Anyway, they stooped to a new low last week. The woman in charge of inspection not only delayed a delivery of yarn to the prisoners. Claiming that she suspected a contraband shipment, she unraveled every skein of yarn! She didn't roll it up nicely in a ball. Nope. She let it all unravel and get tangled. A massive job now for the knitters before they even get started knitting.

A complaint to the guard's superior officer fell on deaf ears.

And that's when Dianna's words came to mind.

Sorry, ornery lady on the prison staff, your actions and your attitudes ain't gonna ruin our program.

And more than that, ain't nobody gonna steal our joy.

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