On the weekends they show us DVD’s of movies, two per week. Sometimes they show us new movies, sometimes we get older recycled movies, but, whatever we get, I am grateful for; I enjoy movies. Recently they showed us a movie called “Instant Family” with Rose Byrne and Mark Walberg. Now, as you can imagine, getting to see a good movie , for us, is a big event. So at 7pm on this Saturday evening we all sat down in front of our respective TVs for our weekend ritual.
It didn’t take long for the theme of the movie to surface … it was about the Foster Care/Adoption Process … I began to feel uncomfortable … and I noticed the others around me were becoming uncomfortable as well. This was going to be a bad movie for us.
No, I was never an orphan, nor was I exposed to the whole system of Foster Care and Adoption, but, at 15 my mother married a guy named Avery Burton, a Religious Nut Job of a Pentecostal Minister; no I ain’t blaming my mother here, she did what she thought was right for her and my younger brother. After all, I was 15 and on my way to adulthood and she was being loyal to her husband, a man she thought was her future, one who she thought was righteous and, I was an angry teen … to make a long story short, my mother made a choice – then told me I needed to leave, I did … I hit the streets of Jacksonville Florida and never recovered. No, I ain’t seeking sympathy here, I’m only pointing out the fact that even adults go crazy under the pressures of losing their spouses and their accepted lifestyles, so imagine how a child will deal with the lose of everything they trusted and believed in. Trust me, being “Thrown out” affects a kid … if you can’t, good for you, but trust me, it devastates you. It burns you … inside … it messes up your thinking process, causes resentment, rebellion and a thousand other things, things that can take lifetimes to mend. On the outside I appeared normal but I wasn’t, when I grew up I tried to be a good husband, a good father, a good citizen, but inside I was bent, broken in ways even I didn’t recognize; probably still am. Point is – this was going to be a bad movie – for us, for me….. But, true to my nature, I decided to watch the movie because Rose Byrne is hot … and, since we’re being truthful here, I’ll tell you that I stayed with the movie hoping that, maybe, she’d show a little skin … WHAT! … Do you wanna hear the damned story, or not! Would it make you feel any better if I said I was hoping that Walberg would come out in a thong? I’m tryin’ to bare my soul here and all you wanna do is pick on me because I wanted to see Miss Rose in some panties!
Well … like I was saying, I noticed that the other guys watching the movie with me were squirming around in their seats, then I remembered that the guy sitting directly behind me, had been adopted as an infant by a Baptist Minister from West Texas. Reflecting on his life I began to wonder about the other men here in this prison with me and began to take an inventory of what I knew about them, and realized, that a large portion of them were from broken homes, if not all of them. No, they weren’t all orphans, but, I knew their stories and all of them, like me, had had dysfunctional childhoods.
From where you sit it’s easy to judge us, it is, and I ain’t judging you in return. Hell, if you’ve read my stuff over the years you’ve no doubt noticed that I too have been judgmental concerning these Inmates and Convicts ; can’t help but dislike some of the stuff they’ve done and do. But, over the years my eyes and heart have been opened; if you look hard enough you’ll see this spiritual maturing in my writing – I just know things I didn’t know before. No, I won’t apologize for some of the judgmental things I’ve written, those things are a record of how I was thinking at that time … I didn’t know any better, I didn’t have the ability to look past my own emotional scars, and I didn’t have the wisdom to follow an action out to it’s inception … to ask the question, “Why does he act the way he does?” But that change has ever so slowly arrived – recently I might add, lol.
I told you a long time ago that I had quit praying; I just figured that God had a full plate, and that it didn’t matter what I asked for … I mean, God already knows what I need, so why ask, right? Truth is, I just didn’t see a lot of Gods work in here and even when I do, I don’t understand it … in fact some of the things which could be attributed to God, seem more like something a Devil would do, and this has made me suspicious of “Godly: things. For example a few weeks back I saw a man with a 25 year prison sentence for selling Meth, get overturned … Now, from his own mouth, I know he’s guilty, plus, I’ve seen how he acts in here – he’s selfish, mean spirited, divisive and negative … so why does he get the miracle? Yeah, I now, “God works in mysterious ways” – heard that my whole damned life, but, there’s a lot of men in here who are, in my opinion, more deserving of … God’s miracle, so why him?
This is what I mean when I admit I just don’t understand God, but this is also what I mean when I say that I try to look at the inception of the problem rather than just fixate on my own opinions that this guy doesn’t deserve a miracle. Truth is. when this man was a child his family, based on his School Administrators, put him on Ridlin ( a narcotic for hyperactive children). Ridlin is Adderall and Adderell is METH! So as a child, the system, decided that he was in need of medication. What I’m saying here is, that he became addicted to Meth at 6 years old! And, as a result of this addiction, he didn’t ask for, the first time he was exposed to Meth as as adult, his body remembered that craving, that childhood administered narcotic and that craving took control of him and turned him into a monster. I know what you’re thinking, and you’re right; it was his fault for trying Meth as an adult, ain’t trying to say he doesn’t have some responsibility here, what I’m saying is that, he was addicted to Meth as a child, and maybe just maybe … he couldn’t not try it as an adult. I don’t know, all I’m saying here is, I’m trying real hard to see the goodness in people, even if I don’t personally like them, again, there’s things I just don’t understand. Now, I’m not trying to convince you that EVERY child who took Ridlin, or is taking Adderall will turn into a Meth-Head, but I am saying that my research here has revealed that 90% of the prisoners who are incarcerated for Meth – took Ridlin as a child! Do your own research, go on the web and type in “Adderal vs Meth”, it’s all there. Point is: if a child is forced into addiction by environment, by Big Pharmacy, for profit, is that child, as an adult, responsible for his or her addictions, his or her crimes, his or her sins; I mean shouldn’t the System which is destroying these souls have some accountability? What about a kid who grows up dysfunctional because of a dysfunctional childhood? … does she or he, deserve our condemnation and judgment or our prayers and understanding? These are the kinds of things God knows that we don’t – so when you’re sitting in that comfortable pew thinking about how terrible these criminals and junkies are, “That we should build more prisons and lock everybody up, for ever,” maybe instead you should thank God that you had the upbringing you did … I guess this is why God does things we don’t understand; because we mortals base our opinions on partial information, God, is the only one who has all the facts about what’s in our hearts – so who am I to question why someone, whose worth I can’t see, gets a miracle and I don’t … You see, true Faith is not saying “I know God will deliver me”. True Faith is to say, “I have Faith that no matter what happens to me God is in control doing what’s best for me spiritually”.
Well, the movie, Instant Family, turned out to be a really good and moral movie … I can tell you that there were a bunch of “criminals” in here trying real hard not cry their eyes out in front of their peers. We were moved, touched.
No, Rose never gave me a panty shot … but, I survived, and, there’s always next time ;). Come on Rose!! Give and old man a peek!
I will once again ask y’all to pass this along to your FB friends.
As always, Peace be with you, Mark
Three Rivers, 7-2-19