Tuesday, February 7, 2017
From Darkness to Dignity
I watched a man get set free today. Chained by the wreckage of his past he could no longer outrun. I watched him turn and face the consequences of his actions. As he approached the judge there was a surprise look on the judges face followed by a quick, " Oh there you are". There was a sense of familiarity between the two but that was wear it ended. The man was not the same man who had been in his court house 2 years before.
A lot has changed since then. Both good and bad. The forever balance of life although this time it seemed as if life was finally tipping his way. First the judge asked about his family. The mans brother was recently sentenced for a long period of incarceration. The pain still sat with the man . Then he was asked about his mother. There was a quick pause then a deep breath and he explained to the judge that his mother passed away just under two years ago.
Being familiar with both mother and sons there was a moment of sorrow and loss shared between these two men. For a moment there was no judiciary and probate. Almost like a man catching up with his son. Tears streamed from my face. This man has become a brother to me. Just a year ago we met when he was on a path to destroy himself. I had hope for him though and never gave in on his recovery. Now this man is telling his story to the same judge who regretfully and repeatedly put him away for the consequences of his actions. He told his story as a man with dignity. He explained that, " He was done running, he wanted his life back, and that he had a lot of making up to do within his community". I was proud of the man he is becoming and has become. He gave me hope.
He is a success story having gone through treatment then later finding God and the program of Alcoholics Anonymous. Two weeks from receiving his 1 year medallion for continuous abstinence from drugs and alcohol. The probation officer who is asking for him to be detained is now being denied that request by the same judge who would have easily agreed had it not been for the change visible in and through this man. He came in the court house carrying something he had never carried before. Something you could never place value on. He carried God with him. The judge gave a smile of joy and approval and set him free on the grounds that he continue to change his life and help others. The chains that bind us can be broken. I have had the privilege to watch a man walk from rock bottom to freedom today. What it takes is decided on what you are willing to do to break them.