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

Kindness in Prison
by Sally Tilousi

When I visit Shauntelle (my daughter) each time my heart swells with emotion from the moment the tall trees that surround the prison come into view. I care about those women…I am filled with empathy on behalf of each and every one of them. There but for the grace of God go I. If I can, I talk to the van drivers and anyone sitting in our vicinity during the visits as much as I can or dare. When a small group congregates outside of the medical station I go outside, smile and say “hello” to them. The brief flicker of amazement on their faces saddens me. Most respond in kind but their hesitation is a tiny bit longer that it might usually be before they return the greeting. A few seem too surprised to even react and my heart skips a beat in sorrow. Do they think they have become invisible to me? I see them as bright as the noonday sun in their lovely orange ensembles… if they’d let me I’d hug them, listen in earnest, stroke their forehead and hold their hand. But what can I do? It is a struggle to put money on Shauntelle’s books and pay for gas just to get to Perryville. What should I do? Where can I serve? How can I help? I have only five small loaves of bread and one fish. Dear Jesus do you hear me…there are so many to feed. Sometimes I feel silly when enormous elephant tears roll down my cheeks while I’m there, but oh well. I can cry in prison so I do!

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