A time and place for GRATITUDE,
Are you kidding me? You are telling me to be thankful in the midst of these circumstances in this time and place! You want me to be thankful in a world that has gone mad! You must have lost your mind dude.
What I am saying is the ability to have an attitude of gratitude is a matter of choice. Even when it looks like my life is falling apart (and it feels like it is as I type this) the truth is that the pieces may actually be falling into place.
There have been times in my life when I have chosen to be grateful for even the memory of what gratitude felt like, much less had any.
Even fearing that this blog may get lengthy I feel the need to tell a story. I will give you the short version.
In 1992, in the midst of one of the darkest times in my life, I was in Sedona, Arizona at a small mom and pop shop that sold one product. It was kaleidoscopes. Some were very cheap and you would give one to a young child to play with. A couple other ones had precious stones and were ridiculously expensive. You would put one up on a shelf so that it wouldn’t get broken. They both have one thing in common.
I picked up a cheap one and put it up so that I could look through the end of it. As I did I felt what turned out to be a hand cover the other end of it. A man asked me: “what can you see?” I told him that it was so dark that I couldn’t see the light. He then removed his hand and repeated the question. I told him that I could now see light through a blur of colors. Finally I was told to take my free hand and turn the end of the kaleidoscope one click. When I did the light became a brilliant pattern of colors. It was beautiful! I was told that these were my choices for the rest of my life.
Here’s my point to this story. For me when things are dark (or even distorted and blurred) I need to reach out and ask someone to help me make that click.
This story is being written the day after Thanksgiving and asking for us to be thankful. The holidays can be times of great joy, but they can be lonely times feeling like nobody gives a shit about us. That hurts and it can suck the hope out of us until it is hard to breathe. If you are reading this, and it’s hard to make out the words because of the darkness, give yourself a break and reach out and ask for help.
It is a message for all of us. To the ladies who are presently incarcerated (and their loved ones) please have a safe holiday season filled with gratitude for the people who believe in you and will never give up hope. For the ladies who are getting ready to walk out the gate or the ones who are now trying to reintegrate back into the communities you came from, I hope you have made the one click and see a future full of hope.
From all of us at the Demeter Foundation to all of you, regardless of your role in the Wisconsin Department of Corrections, know that we care for all of you.
Demeter Foundation Board President,
Amnesty International created a bill of rights for women in custody. The document spells out basic civil rights for incarcerated women. You can read the document here.
I really enjoyed, and appreciated the the opportunity, to join Alice at the Taycheedah Correctional Institution's annual 2017 Resource Fair. Experiencing, first-hand, the joy and hope of the women who were preparing to be released in the coming months was more than inspirational. Some of the women shared their release dates, as well as their plans for after their release with us. It was so amazing to hear the hopes and dreams of these women for their futures. To be able to offer useful resources to them that will help them be successful after their release was truly an honor. Thank you Alice for including me in this wonderful chance to help others. You, and the Demeter Foundation, are such an asset to the women of Wisconsin. Thank you so much for all of your hard work! It's no wonder that our table was the busiest one there!..Kaziah Anderson