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All writing is a form of prayer - John Keats

Thursday, August 8, 2019

Making a difference, even behind bars!


I love good quotes. I have such deep respect for those speakers and writers who can create profound statements on a given topic…statements that prompt genuine self-examination and honest discussion.

Today, as I’m thinking about two prisoners whose actions touched me, I’m paging here and there, hoping to spot just the right quote. It’s finally dawning on me. This time the statements just may have to come from me. These prisoners made an impact on my thinking, and hopefully my life. It’s time for my words.

You already know about my friend Sharee, the topic of our blog of August 1. If you haven’t read it yet, please take a moment to do so. The important thing to note is that Sharee was not only intent on getting her job back. Sharee knew that her legal action against the Michigan Department of Corrections would ultimately result in better care of mentally ill inmates. Recently her four-year battle came to an end, and change will come.

Then I learned about a ballsy jailhouse lawyer. Mr. D is confined to a wheelchair. But, that didn’t keep him from the law library, and didn’t prevent him from taking legal action against the MDOC. Each time the antiquated prison elevator broke down (which happened frequently), he and others in wheelchairs were stuck in their basement cells. They couldn’t make their medical appointments, couldn’t go outside for fresh air, couldn’t see visitors, couldn’t go watch TV or even get to a church service.  It’s not official yet, but we’ve learned that because of Mr. D’s persistence and expertise, we’ll soon see the installation of new wheelchair ramps, replacement of decrepit elevators, as well as new and improved wheelchairs for the disabled in Michigan prisons!

Granted, Sharee and Mr. D took action to improve their personal situations. But, they also knew that favorable decisions would make a huge impact on the care and treatment of mentally and physically challenged prisoners for years to come.

They’re heroes, in my book!

And now I will still conclude with three quotes.

From Thomas Foxwell Buxton: “With ordinary talent and extraordinary perseverance, all things are attainable.” 

The first verse of an old, gospel song Marcia used to sing:

Lord, help me live from day to day
In such a self-forgetful way
That even when I kneel to pray
My prayer shall be for others.
Others, by Charles D. Meigs

And, from the Bible I love: As each has received a gift, use it to serve one another, as good stewards of God's varied grace. I Peter 4:10


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