Hard topic, soft heart
Having A Soft Heart In A Cruel World Is Courage, Not Weakness
I swear it’s true: Working with prisoners softens hearts!
I first noticed this more than 20 years ago when I founded this organization. At that time, our name was INNOCENT and we worked primarily with the wrongly convicted. Keep in mind that, in a prior life, I had been a broadcast journalist. As a local news reporter, I witnessed opposing lawyers in the courtroom almost draw blood!
In the early days of INNOCENT we took membership in the national Innocence Network, made up of Innocence Projects all around the country. I was blown away by the camaraderie of these lawyers. In seminars, as well as in private lunches, these attorneys would hear the plight of others trying to help a prisoner and would share experiences. There was a constant spirit of kindness and helpfulness that I had never seen in the legal community.
In my role as the founder of HUMANITY FOR PRISONERS, one of my least favorite assignments is to help raise money for our important work. I know how the constant barrage of agencies seeking donations---by telephone, by letter, by email---affects me. And I actually dread going to people for financial support. And yet, in over two decades, I never once have had a rude or unkind response. Often, the exact opposite is true. Some have even expressed appreciation for being asked!
When I make visits in our state prisons, people ask me if I’m afraid. Let me explain something. These men and women know and respect the agency that I represent. If any unhappy person behind bars ever tried to do something to me, there would be a couple hundred prisoners who would have my back! Right now!
The soft hearts are even on display in our office. It’s a dog-eat-dog situation in many offices, where employees are looking out for themselves and doing their best to clamber to the top, regardless of what it takes. Not here. Not among our team. These men and women love each other, help each other and support each other as, together, they do their best to assure prisoners that they matter.
It's heart-warming, this soft-hearted business!
As in water face reflects face, so the heart of man reflects the man.