Friday, March 1, 2013

Maurice still touches lives

It has been a somber week.

Exactly a week ago, Marcia and I watched a staged reading of the powerful play written by our friends Alicia Payne and Don Molnar: JUSTICE FOR MAURICE HENRY CARTER.

Maurice died in 2004, just three months after his release from prison. Since that time, I have buried many of his memories. Last weekend, watching two performances, those memories came rushing back. I've been mulling them over in my mind all week.

Perhaps the first question that might be asked is: So what's the big deal about the Tjapkes/Carter story? They set out to clear his name, and that never happened!

So here Maurice and Doug finally partner up after Maurice has been in prison for 20 years, determined to prove his innocence to the courts and to the world. Well, over the next 9 years, we proved it to the world, and we found the real criminal in the case, but the courts wouldn't listen. Instead, Maurice got sick...deathly ill, received a compassionate release from prison, and died.

It's very fair to say, in hindsight, that the story isn't of Maurice and Doug. The story is how God used the life of this beautiful, gentle, black man from Gary, Indiana, to touch others.

And touch others he did. Others in prison, others who were Innocence Project university students hoping to assist in his wrongful conviction, others in the legal profession, others who read of his injustice and joined the fight, others in churches who regularly prayed for him, others among my family and friends, others who read the book SWEET FREEDOM, others who have now seen the play, and yes, others who actually participated in these productions.

Only God knows how many lives he has touched.

Somehow, I think it's only the beginning.

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