Monday, February 18, 2008

yet another white letter

In a follow-up to his last letter and reference to his frankenpants, Bran sent another letter describing the further adventures of clothing repair along with other interesting situations spawned by living behind bars:

Speaking of shoes, I endeavored a repair job on my old ones today. They have an ever-growing hole in the toe whose sole purpose is to seek out puddles and have me step in them. I melted a plastic spoon I had and simply filled it in. Now I have an accessory to fit my Frankenpants. Haven't tested them outside yet, too much ice and snow. I'll have to wait for a much warmer and wetter day.

And this on inmate recipes:

Well, I'd better go for now. It's nearing lock-up and I have to be ready for Sean. He's doing the cooking tonight, russlin' up a chi-chi for some of us. What's a "chi-chi" you ask? It's a prison commissary casserole made from ramen soups, summer sausage, nacho chips, cheese curls, pickles, etc. Just picture making dinner with only processed packaged stuff you find on the shelves at 711. Doesn't taste too bad, but it's poison for sure.

And finally, the famous Captain Kirk (aka William Shatner) imitation:

Captain's ....Log: 1019 hrs.

I ...seemed to have...locked myself quarters. No...possible way of....escape.

......Captain's Log.....time....unsure....I' toupee and....nobody likes me.

Ah, I miss the dear fellow. He could crack up a cement post.

Saturday, February 16, 2008

from the heart

I had sort of hilarious thing happen this week, due to Valentine's Day. I know I'm never without the need to express gratitude and deal with resentment in my personality. Well, two dear male friends were "nice" enough-innocently, of course-to e-mail me about their latest dating endeavors. Both are newly back on the scene after serious interruptions from life, and I am glad for them. It is a mark of getting on with it and back into living after some very painful issues stopped all of that. Well, the first just met a beautiful lady and sent roses after only a few dates. The other asked me to read his dating service ad, which facetiously (or not-knowing the man, either is possible!) mentioned breakfast in Paris.

I pride myself on being the woman anyone, male or female, can come to and exult, dump, rage and cheer without it even putting a ripple in my sails. But I felt a stab. Right in the ego. My immediate thought was, "Where's my Paris and my roses???" A glimmer of the green-eyed monster. Why do the people who don't really involve themselves in the lives of others get all the goodies, the ones who could take it or leave it, strangers for pete's sake?? Oh, I was cut straight through...and is that what my friends meant to do to me? It reminded me of several jokes and some great stories. But there I sat at the computer, an inanimate object, seething with resentment.

What did I do? I managed a witty and wise comeback for each, ever the sage, unmoved by the crass inner workings of the heart. Ha! But God knows me better, and I whined to Him. Why, oh, why, is it my job to endure two hour phone calls, panicky letters, I need this, I need that...and not be recompensed? Always a bridesmaid, never a bride in a way. A quiet whisper came back to me in the form of a reply to a resentful young man in scripture who was furious that his wayward younger brother came home to the open arms of his father-"Child, everything I have is yours." Why can't I remember that? The next day, my prison partner sent me a beautiful e-card, a reminder of what is truly mine. Why do I need the lights of Paris, when I have the light of Heaven? Why do I need a dozen roses, when the Rose of Sharon never fails to perfume my life?

The words of another song came back to me this morning, which I've quoted before, from English songwriter Matt Redman-"I will offer up my life, in spirit and truth, pouring out the oil of love as my worship to You, in surrender I must give my every part, Lord receive the sacrifice of a broken heart..." I laughed at myself, and thanked, and shared this with my ladies in group last night, one of whom was thanking God that she was two months out of the hell of addiction. Perspective is always the necessary ingredient for gratitude to happen, and I want it to, from the heart.

Sunday, February 10, 2008

white letter day for me

I don't get many letters addressed directly to me from my son, but one came just recently. I was thinking as I read it, it seems like the clouds are parting in his life and his mental condition just gets better and better. It amazes me how that can happen in a prison, but it is for him. I read in my devotions this morning about "living in the light", and I heard that from a recovering alcoholic on Friday night, how before he found sobriety and faith he existed as though in a cave with curtains drawn, and now the curtains are open. We need to live in the light, open to each other and to God.
Here's quotes from the letter:

The weekend was pretty lazy...I kept myself busy with sewing and Sudoku. My "new" laundry bag gets fresh tears in it every wash (the washing machines in the prison are as big as a living room practically because they take in laundry as a means of earning money-mom), so I have to stay on top of it or I'll lose clothes. They have a bag repair, but those guys always bugger the job and I have to fix it. Figure I should just do it myself to begin with. I sort of find it funny having to stitch up holes in a mesh bag. If I were one of the repair guys, I'd just send it back saying "It's supposed to have holes, that's how the clothes get clean...idiot!"

My lounging pants came next. I somehow managed to lounge a giant hole straight through the knee. An unfortunate side of relaxation...TO THE EXTREME!!! It took forever, it was messy, and with my superior needleworkmanship (there's a gem for ya) it looked only slightly less garish than a Tim Burtonian leather body suit held together with white twine. I call them..."FRANKENPANTS"...

How's the Nietzsche research going?...Though given to extreme wordiness, abject adjective abuse, despair, and outright hatred, he posed some interesting questions about existence and the origin of morality with a hypothesis or two of his own...I also wonder if when he made his famous quote "God is dead" he was lamenting a progression away from religion as a whole. Given his overall tone, maybe not. He was nearing the end of his life and was probably suffering from an Ecclesiastic break, as in Solomon's cry of "All is vanity!" While some think he had gone insane, I'd like to believe he had an eerie moment of clarity that killed him.

He end with "Your devoted loving son", which I can always be thankful for. I keep thinking of a favorite song done by the group DC Talk, In the Light-

I want to be in the Light,
As You are in the light
I want to shine like a star in the heavens
O Lord be my Light, and be my salvation
All I want is to be in the light

I want my son out of the darkness and into the light of love and truth.