Several months ago I read a book by Martin Lockett, “Palpable Irony: Losing My Freedom To Find My Purpose” You can purchase it here
While I was reading the book I thought so much of Jamie. Everything happens for a reason. I think I was meant to know this young man. There are things about their lives that seem to run parallel. They are within a year of the same age and they received the same sentence, seventeen years. They went in almost at the same time and both still inside.
Where Jamie has used Buddhist study to learn about life and change the things that have caused him unhappiness, Martin turned to Christianity. But instead of just saying he is a Christian but not applying what he learned to his life, he worked hard to be the man he knew he could be. It was his second time in prison. When he got out the first time he couldn’t maintain his Christian beliefs and within a year, his old life sucked him back in and smacked him across the face. It wasn’t being a criminal that landed him back in prison, it was poor judgement and a lack of being honest with himself. As with Jamie, a year after he was released from Juvenile detention he went out to party one night with a cousin who had recently gotten out of prison, again. Hindsight is 20/20. Being with him at all was a lapse in judgement and it cost him seventeen years of his life and being able to raise his son.
Sometimes though, when it looks like everything has gone wrong; you lose the woman you love and you lose years of your life you aren’t able to get back, you aren’t yet able to see what you have gained because you aren’t far enough to look back with that 20/20 hindsight.
I think Martin has gained much more than he lost and it will bring more to his life than if he had never gone in. So which way would have been better? Not go in, and continue to scam your way through life feeling lucky if don’t get caught, and maybe never have anything to be proud of? Maybe never going to school or finding the right woman to love? Or is it better being forced to take the time to evaluate your life, change it, and then be a good influence on the people around you and help them change their life, too? Read the book and decide for yourself.
Below is a letter I just received from Martin
Thank you very much for your interest, thoughts, and response to my book. It always humbles me to hear how people I’ve never met read my story and was moved in some way. It’s encouraging to hear you say, “He was a success story when it could have easily gone the other way.” I attribute that to God and a lot of people who love and support me and what I aspire to do. Thank you for recommending the book on your blog as well — I appreciate that very much.
It sounds like you are Jamie’s primary support system. I commend you for that as I know it is not easy on you to do that. I pray that he is released soon. I think it’s tragic that he is not able to have any type of relationship with his son, especially since I have no doubt that his son is yearning for a relationship with his daddy. Unfortunately prison robs countless children of the opportunity to have meaningful relationships with their fathers. Obviously I don’t know the circumstances of your daughter and Jamie’s relationship, but my heart goes out to your grandson who is being deprived of bonding with his father. It nearly brought a tear to my eye hearing how his son wanted to give his daddy $2 to buy a soda. Kids are always the innocent bystanders harmed through this situation. I pray he and his son are able to reconcile when this is over. But in the meantime you are his angel, keeping him going in every way. I’m sure he tells you often as possible how much he appreciates you.
To personally answer your question, yes, I DO know how fortunate and “lucky” I am to be where I am, receiving the kind of services I am while incarcerated. Indeed, medium security and maximum security are worlds apart, and many inmates in maximum security prisons are treated worse than even unruly animals. It’s a disgrace that we allow such inhumane treatment of humans in our penal system, but we do. People are not outraged enough because it hasn’t happened to their family members directly. It’s a shame and my heart goes out to you, Jamie, and his son who has no idea how his father is being treated in that cold, dark place. Where is he? Texas? Yeah, I’m not surprised. I’ve heard enough horror stories about Texas prisons to last two lifetimes. How come Jamie can’t apply for medium custody? Is he in trouble a lot? That tends to happen more in prisons that lack any type of rehabilitative opportunities — not that I’m making excuses for misconduct because it still comes down to an individual choice. But certainly there’s more understanding in those horrid conditions why someone may act out.
You asked if I’m writing another book — yes. Actually, Adopt an Inmate will be helping me with the publishing process. I’m extremely grateful for their care, compassion, and willingness to help make prisoners’ lives more meaningful and manageable. My second book is actually a collection of a year’s worth of blogs that I wrote in 2014 that were dedicated to the important topics of how prison affects inmates and our families and loved ones. I wholeheartedly believe Jamie (and you) would enjoy it and find it worth your while. Oh, and we’ll see to it that the editing in this one is more consistent. 😉
It sounds like you are currently working on a book of Jamie’s life? Is Jamie contributing to it too? How far along are you? I hope you’re enjoying the process — I certainly did! It was cathartic in many ways. I assume you’ll be looking to publish it, no? When do you project it will be available for purchase? Keep Adopt an Inmate informed because I’d like to buy one of the first copies.
Thank you again for taking an interest in the things I write, SonniQ. You sound like a great person with a big heart and Jamie is fortunate to have someone like you in his corner. It’s unfortunate I can’t follow your blog and comment the way you do on mine, but I will someday! 🙂 In the meantime, continue to do the good work you’re doing and making a difference in the lives of people who need it the most. Take care, SonniQ.
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Soon I will have a button that will take you to my newsletter sign up but until then I am using the one from WordPress. The next newsletter will be out in about two weeks. I will have progress about the book which is about 4 weeks shy of being written and the first chapters are off an editor I really like. ( I’ll see if she likes me, too!) But I want to write about topics of our justice system that isn’t here at my blog. It won’t be repetitious. Many of my readers are not bloggers here at WP. To be able to reach them it is very important for you to share what I do with your own social media. It is harder to sell a book if you don’t have anyone to tell. I want sales to be put to good use for Jamie. Just like Martin, when they get out they need to be able to start a new life.
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