All writing is a form of prayer - John Keats

Tuesday, January 7, 2020

Yep, we DO rejoice!

Don’t get me wrong. We don’t break open the champagne. We don’t wear party hats and pop corks. But, even in this little office where we struggle daily with heartbreak, anger and disgust, little steps forward bring more than satisfaction. We see reason to rejoice!

-Jimmy called me. We helped get his sentence commuted, and he was released last year after serving 30 years. He called to say he has his own phone, his own car, and now has a real job. “I wouldn’t be here without you,” he said! My heart rejoiced.

-In opening our first 2020 mail, Matt found a check from the Prisoner Benefit Fund of Chippewa Correctional Facility in the Upper Peninsula. Some staff members there don’t much care for HFP. But, obviously, the prisoners think so highly of us that they voted to contribute from their shop and vending machine money. That $500 donation speaks volumes! Our hearts rejoiced.

-Our Vice President, Holly, while preparing a commutation application for Joe some years ago, discovered a serious injustice and couldn’t let it go. It’s been a long struggle: getting the attention of the Parole Board, and getting a Public Hearing. But now she’s received word. After serving nearly 40 years, he has a release date. Our hearts rejoice.

-Matt was in a prison today when he spotted one of our long-time clients stepping into freedom after 25 years of incarceration. He caught him for a bear hug. We were at his side for a Public Hearing last year, and advocated for Silas’ release. We’re rejoicing with him.

-Long-time client and friend Mark reports that he’ll be graduating from the Calvin Prison Initiative program in May with a Bachelor’s Degree. AND, he hopes to be paroled in October of this year, after serving 10 years. We’re all rejoicing.

To be clear, we don’t boast about or tout results, much to the dismay of grant writers. Many so-called “successes” to the HFP team are so subtle they would hardly be noticed: a hug from a grateful parent, a thank-you note from a grateful spouse, a home-made card from a grateful prisoner who felt blessed just because someone cared.

We’re in Father Greg Boyle’s camp when it comes to success:

“Jesus was always too busy being faithful to worry about success. I'm not opposed to success; I just think we should accept it only if it is a by-product of our fidelity. If our primary concern is results, we will choose to work only with those who give us good ones.”


Bob Bulten said...

Oh so true, Doug. Thanks, again.

Ladyhawk said...

Oh Yay! for the successes! Bless you for focusing on the positive rather than letting the negative bury you in discouragement (it would be so easy to do). As a prison wife who frequently takes blows from the system and struggles to old her head up, just knowing you are fighting alongside, a friend in the dark, gives me strength to keep going. I am grateful!

Tah said...

Very happy read! Loved it!