Monday, September 29, 2008

A Fresh Start

I love this picture. It's me and my big brother, Rich. I don't remember taking the picture or what we were doing...but, I think I'm saying, "yup. I think you're pretty great!"
That picture was taken many lifetimes ago...so much has changed...but, I still think he's great. Although, at times, that's been hard to say. He's had a long, hard road for more than half of his 40 years...and they were his choices that put him there. It all started when he was fifteen - experimenting with marijuana...it spiraled out of control after that. Pot lead to harder stuff...which lead to theft, breaking the law, several stints in jails and prisons. He's missed out on life. Marriages, births of nieces and nephews, good times, sad times...family times. He has been, for the most part, disconnected from his family, his anchor, for majority of his life.
For the past few years he has been breathing the air within the Arizona State Prison Complex. He's been there before. But, this time is different. I feel it in my heart. He's older (and hopefully wiser) and is making the "system" work with him this time. When I visited him there (two years ago) he told me the other times he was locked up he was still able to use drugs and live a similar lifestyle as he did on the outside. But, this time he was going to make it work. And, I believe he has. Early on he was asked to teach the GED classes for fellow inmates. (I told him he was a regular ol' Andy Dufrain - from Shawshank Redemption.) Hard to believe, but despite his choices, he is an intelligent individual. Before long he became a role model to his fellow roommates. They looked up to him...they respected him...and we all need that. He has received awards and accolades. He was awarded a scholarship and has been able to take online college courses. He has even held a job...off site (we all need to feel trusted too). This time...it's been different.
I'm writing all of this today because today is the first day of the rest of his life. Today, my mom is driving to pick him up...he is being released. I can't begin to imagine how he feels...nervous, scared, excited, happy...but, I hope he feels loved. I hope he knows that I am scared too. That a small part of me is skeptical because I have been down this road before and it always leads back to the same place. But, I hope he knows that we believe in him...I BELIEVE IN HIM. That he is stronger than any addiction or temptation. That his family needs him. His Nana needs him. His little boy needs him. I hope he knows his Heavenly Father loves him...unconditionally and is there for him. I hope he knows he is an awesome person with a kind heart. He is filled with greatness...and can do great things...and I still think he's pretty great.
Here's to a fresh start!

1 comment:

The Bookout Family said...

Mindy, I hope he reads this or better yet you tell him> I think he deserves to hear all of it, and needs to hear it. I wish him and the rest of your family, faith, trust and positive thoughts and then Rich will hopefully find his way.