By Michael Roberson
I wrote this for Mark. I wanted to help him file for Compassionate Release, but Mark never filed. Here is what I wrote for him.
If I may come boldly and respectfully before your throne on behalf of my friend Mark ... He deserves and had earned his liberty to be home with his family, today. I wanted to tell you first how he has earned to be home ...
About two and a half years ago, in the early morning , I was walking around in the dayroom and Mark stopped me and said: "Mike, you remember that song 'If your happy and you know it, clap your hands?' (as he softly clapped his hands and smiled). As I said "yes" he told me with a smile on his face, "Smile, Michael! Today will be a good day!" I've had that song on my MP-3 since that day.
I've known of Mark since the day I arrived here at F.C.I. Three Rivers back in October 22, 2014. The reason I say "known of" is because I did not begin to know Mark until the time was ripe for my listening, observing and friendship building with "Mayor Mark". All though "Mayor Mark" was an actual Mayor, before incarceration ... In here, as far as we prisoners are concerned he is still the Mayor, the Mayor of this little town we temporarily call home. Everyone can and does come to him for guidance and when you see him and talk to him, we always know we are in the presence of a wise man.
One habit I have picked up from Mark is his "24 Hour Rule" ... his refusal to act on things without first thinking deeply on it, a time to understand all views of any given situation before recommending, advising, or deciding the best possible solution with harmony. And believe me, your Honor, that is no easy task in a place full of selfish and prideful characters.
I cannot speak for Mark on anything prior to October 22, 2014, but today, I know he is a humble, God-fearing and forgiving person. He is an advisor, teacher and my friend. I'm reminded of a Proverb: "The wounds of a friend are faithful." King Solomon.
...It is very difficult and detrimental to myself to admit this: One day, I involved myself with some ... Drugs! When Mark heard about it, he asked to speak to me privately and asked me if this was true. After I admitted it, Mark reached forward and slapped me! LOL! Just hard enough to show me his disappointment. Then he says: "What's wrong with you? This is not the path for you. You have a young daughter out there ..." And at that moment, I knew he was my friend.
About three days ago, Mark told me that his mother had died two days prior. What amazed me about that is that right before this time my dad was in the hospital after a stroke, he was there up until the day Mark's mother had died. During this time Mark never once mentioned that his mother had passed, he only asked me daily how my father was. Everyday he asked me, "Michael. How's your father?" All he cared about was how I and my father was doing. When I later heard that during this time his own mother had died, I was amazed. Mark, understands the power of giving, even if its a kind word or a smile. Today, he is such a humbled and selfless person, if he ever was selfish at all ... I know I have been.
I know Mark has endured and overcome so much in prisons I NEVER want to go to. He knows what its like on both sides, to be deep in a place where blood is shed everyday to here in "Sweet Rivers" (Three Rivers) Texas where blood shed is rare. He walks and talks with contentment, therefore, I know his thoughts and prayers are of thanksgiving for he even tells me that "life" in prison is "Gods will!" and he accepts it joyfully.
Mark has such a desire for Gods righteousness in this world, that whether he will admit it or not, he is a preacher for God with his walk, talk and actions. He teaches us. Many of us do seek him out because we want that acceptance and commitment that he has.
I smile when I see Mark standing in front of his cell, cup of coffee in one hand and the other on his hip, looking around at all the different children of God (for I know his thoughts, sometimes) and he will be rocking from tip-toes to heels with this smile on his face that always makes me think of Andy Dufrain in "Shawshank Redemption" when they are roofing that building and Andy's buddies are drinking "his" beer while he hunkered in the shade, smiling at the others indulging in their desires to "Feel Free," even if its only for a moment.
Mark loves to feed the birds and cats! LOL! He even throws me bread when I walk by (think about that and you'll understand).
Your Honor, since I've gotten to know Mark, how he ended up in prison, I've always told Mark, "You're going home one day. And you just might beat me out of here."
And so now your Honor, I've written this brief letter (for I could write a book) hoping that a small fraction of why I know Mark has earned his freedom. And I know Marks heart: even if you were to not set him free, he would not cease from loving God. He would not be angry with you, sir. However, your Honor, if anyone deserves a second chance to go home, it is Mark. Please your Honor. Please free Mayor Mark.
Submitted with thanksgiving, Marks friend. Michael Roberson #47549 -177
MARK'S COMMENT: Yes I have read this. Michael wanted very much for me to file for a Compassionate Release, my age and so forth. But, I was not at a point where I felt it productive. I understand my purpose here. Do not mistake that statement. I want to go home, but I am saying I won't whine or complain, and I don't want to burden my children with a hopeless cause; when the time is right I'll know. I am here, until such time as I am not.
I have love for Michael, he is one of those men who loves his kid above himself, that is what I respect about him the most. He too has a love for God, but in spite of this he has suffered in prison, more so that others, because he is a remorseful soul. I am proud that he calls me friend.
I remember the day when I reminded him about the song we all know from kindergarten. I did that because on that day I could see anger and frustration in his face and demeaner; prison has that affect on us all at one time or the other, and crazy as it sounds, yes, when I catch myself in a bad mood I sing that song ... "IF YOUR HAPPY AND YOU KNOW IT THEN YOUR LIFE WILL SURELY SHOW IT" ... yeah, it works every time! So when I saw Mike struggling I walked up to him and gave him a reminder, and then began to sing that little song to him, and, you know what! In a few seconds he smiled. It always works. Try it. As for the slap, yes, I remember that too, it happened just as Mike said. No ... in fact Mike is a big guy who could have crushed me if he'd wanted too, he took it because he understood that it was delivered in love.
Thank you Michael for challenging me to be a better person. Mark Crawford, "Mayor Mark".