A true testimony on 'Hope Within' from a prisoner.
It took 50 years, I knew it was there and at last I found out what that something was.
I was getting further and further into drugs and alcohol use. It develops from weekends to a few days a week to every day. From dipping my feet in the water to doing the front-crawl.
I always had a desire to travel and so when I was younger I did that, working on cruise ships and seeing the world, but all the time hoping to find that something, from going to the pyramids in Egypt to looking at Buddhism and then experiencing an unbelievable feeling when I stepped off the bus in Jerusalem. There was a something there but I didn’t know what.
When I was 16yrs of age I had that same experience as I climbed up a mountain in Aviemore by myself. I knew something was there, but what, what was connecting me to nature to the other?
The man Jesus had frightened me, because as a child going to the wee gospel hall I was told of a God who you had to fear, you had to repent to, that he was a jealous God, all my teaching gave me a negativity to him, instead of what I know now a loving, compassionate God who has given me the desire to help others.
Silence is where God is in prison for me. I wake up early each morning and I thank God for everything, for another day, for fresh air as I open my cell window, for the wee robin that is always there, the seagulls. I thank him for my bed, my bed covers, my kettle, the electricity I have to boil my kettle, my toothbrush and toothpaste, I thank him for everything and then I look at my photographs and thank God firstly for me, for who I now am and then for my partner and my children. I send them peace, love and joy.
It’s important to be thankful for who I am now, it’s not about what I look like anymore, it’s not about the ego and I don’t need to have the biggest muscles or take steroids to look good, it’s about the feeling of love, of being. And when I take time in silence I know that the Holy Spirit is there. And each day I am getting to know Jesus more, wow was he a busy man, never a dull moment, I love learning more about him about how popular and how unpopular he was. He tells us to seek and find and the answers to our solutions are there, in my spiritual journey now I know there is no hide and seek, he is there but in the past I was looking for him in all the wrong places.
The ego before was a big thing in my life, but I have at last put it to bed. I have learnt that it is ok to feel emotions, pain, happiness, sadness. It’s ok to feel good inside because it’s only then that we can be there for others, if we are good ourselves.
I have been reborn, being baptised was part of my journey. I am looking forward to getting involved in church life and I want to make it attractive to my family but I will let them make their own decision. But I need to be right with God because I can’t give what I don’t have myself.
Although I am in prison I am free. I can feel instead of taking drugs and drink. I am in the present, ‘yesterday is history, tomorrow’s a mystery’ as they say. When I was at my lowest I said to God I know you are there, give me a hand, I’m sick of being sick and two days later I got a 4 year prison sentence. I need this time to learn, to experience it and then I will be able to pass it on. Like brick laying I didn’t learn by getting told about it someone had to show me and now I can build my own house.
I have a yearning to share the lessons I have experienced in my life, my trade as a brick layer, my spiritual life and where the drugs and alcohol misuse took me. I have learnt to love those bad experiences because I can use them, share with others to help them. Drugs killed my brother, alcohol my father, my mother suffered too. I want to put those things right. Even my relationships now are so much better. I was brought up that men had to be men and women, women, we were different, but I’ve realised now we are not, we are all equal.
Even what I watch and listen to in the media has changed, I don’t watch any fighting, I don’t listen to the news, nor watch anything to do with war, even if it was in the past. These things just bring fear into our lives and it is far better if we got to know the good things that are happening, because there are good things happening in the world. Even songs can be so self-centred on the radio.
I have my taste back, I can smell more clearly, I can hear and see things so much better. I love to take time to contemplate, for it’s there I connect with God, in the silence and in meditation. I believe we are all connected to nature and it’s in those quiet times, especially first thing in the morning when there are no sounds except nature that my ideas come, that’s when I do look forward to the future with my family and to help others, although many bridges will need to be built and finally if I got the opportunity I would love to apologise for my crime to my victim.
That’s where I’m at I’ve been reborn, a new dawn, a new day.
[This story has been anonymised, and some details removed/changed without changing the essential essence.]