Gregory Winfrey reminds me of a Bible story.
During his 30-year stint behind bars, he and I became friends. Like many, upon his release, he said, “I’ll never forget you.” And he never has!
His gratitude for another chance at life comes shining through messages he posts on Facebook on a regular basis. He’s not only loving life to the fullest, he’s thanking all who traveled this journey with him.
His plight reminds me of this Biblical account.
In his gospel, Dr. Luke tells about the time Jesus ran across ten lepers, all begging to be healed. Never one to turn down making someone whole again, the Lord did exactly what was asked of him. The grateful men were able to return to society.
A short time later, one of them came running back to the Master, throwing himself at Jesus’ feet, thanking him and praising God.
Then Jesus asked, “Were not all ten cleansed? Where are the other nine?”
In the past two decades, I’ve made the acquaintance of thousands of prisoners, and many became very good friends. Invariably, when these men and women get the opportunity to start life anew, they promise that they’ll never forget us. For a handful, that is the case, but for the most part, we seldom hear from these people again. It’s understandable, and it’s OK.
Please be assured that I’m not complaining, or whining. I’ve held the hands of some of these people trying to start life over again. I know the incredible challenges, the overwhelming emotions. In many cases, the last thing they want to think about is any part of their former life behind bars.
But that hasn’t been the case with Gregory Winfrey. He’s not only loving life…he’s loving those who paved the way for this new opportunity. In just the last day or two, he’s posted photo after photo of individuals, couples, and even families who made a difference in his life.
So today, in kindness and in love, after posting my photo, I return the favor and pay tribute to the perfect example of one formerly incarcerated, gratefully getting a fresh, new start.
May God richly bless you and yours, Gregory Winfrey!
You da man!