Janine's Articles From the Soul From the Outside Poetry Corner Prisoner Letters

This Life Thus Far

by LEP


Statistics show that I am from your average dysfunctional American family.  as so many of us are today.  Mine was not a big hey-how-are-you-I-love-you kind of family.  I do not believe it was because we did not love each other it was more because we did not know how to show love to another human being.

I was eight years old when I got my first feel of handcuffs along with a cell in juvenile detention.  The end result of my first arrest being that I spent the next few years in a children’s home several states away from my family.

I spent most of my teenage years fighting with my stepfather and drinking on the sly.  I dropped out of school my senior year to enlist in the United States Army delayed entry program.  Mainly because I was so tired of all the physical and psychological confrontations at home.  After being sworn in while waiting to leave for boot camp, I received my first DWI with a few other charges thrown in.  Three weeks later while sitting in the county jail, I received general discharge papers.  One month later, I found myself hitchhiking my way from small-town Ohio to West Palm Beach, Florida.  I was seventeen years old in Lake Worth, Florida when I smoked my first crack cocaine in a fleabag tourist motel.  I spent the rest of 1986 and pretty much all of 1987 smoking all I could get my hands on by any means necessary with only a few minor distractions such as a motorcycle accident.  I hit a car head on at 45 mph.  Yes, I made it (with few serious injuries).  I spoke very slowly for a longtime after the accident.  I should have known GOD was trying to get my  attention, but I was not nearly ready to pay attention.

I began traveling with carnivals working as a ride jock doing state fairs up and down the East coast.  A year later, I was married and living in Alabama; two baby girls followed in quick succession.  We separated due to my drinking.  I ended up moving to New York City and living on the streets smoking and shooting as much dope as I could supply myself with thru stealing cars and robbing businesses.  I stole one car too many and ended up on Rikers Island.  No long after that, I was jumped late one night and stabbed five times.  I lived.  After three weeks in the Staten Island Trauma Center, I decided it was time to leave New York and packed my bags for Alabama once again.

Not long after returning to Alabama, I ended up in prison (a year and a day) for receiving stolen goods.  My wife finally knew where I would be long enough to file divorce.  After being released from prison (October 1995),  I went back to traveling with the carnivals.

In February of 1997, I hitchhiked out of where I was living in Chicago on my way to Homestead, Florida.  I made it as fas as Pensacola where after a long night fueled with drugs and alcohol I stabbed a man to death in a hotel room.  I stole a vehicle from the scene of the crime and

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stayed on the run for nine months.  I was arrested in New Orleans (November, 1997).  After almost two years in jail I went to trial where the state of Florida and twelve of my peers decided to sentence me to die by execution.  Sitting in a one man cell on death row, that’s where I finally, with nowhere left to run sat and listened to all that GOD had been trying to get me to hear for so long.

I sat there and opened my heart and my mind to the salvation and forgiveness that GOD had been offering for so long.  Forgiveness for all the wickedness and evil that I had done and/or been involved in, I listen to people saying how free this gift is.  I agree the accepting of it is free to us, but a very high price was definitely paid by Yeshua, our Messiah, a price higher than any of us would or could ever begin to pay.  The forgiveness is the last thing that I deserve or should have been granted.

The death sentence that I received was commuted to  life in 2008.   I now spend my time studying the word and tutoring men in the school here in prison, helping them to earn their GED.  I do my best (which is never nearly good enough) to walk upright daily.  More often than not, I fail.  I wake up each morning, pray and get up and strap on the armor to enjoin the war agains my own deceitful, corrupt flesh.

MOST NEVER REALIZE HOW FAR REACHING THE EFFETS, THE CONSEQUENCES OF OUR ACTIONS CAN BE.  My actions from that one night not only took a man’s life but also destroyed two families.  (These are just the effects we see on the surface).

I have forgiveness, but I will still carry the effects of that one night with me for the rest of this life.  Like Paul carried the proverbial thorn in his side.

Prisoner Letters

Latest Issue: 92