Last night I hosted the New Year's Eve, Holiday Jam at the Danbury Federal Prison Camp. For a few hours we escaped out of prison mode, as we partied like rock stars! Michael Jackson's song "Don't Stop 'Til You Get Enough" blasted through the large speakers in the Visiting Room, as the young and old, of all ethnicities, partied together. Mrs. Hemphill, one of our eldest and most respected fellow inmates, who is 73 years old, did a moonwalk-like motion on the dance floor and everyone turned up! Although we were conscious at that moment that we were still property of the Bureau of Prisons (BOP) our spirits felt free. We gave thanks to God that we were able to see another year, and together in unison we counted down the New Year. HAPPY NEW YEAR!!!
New Year's day followed in good spirit. We had steak, bake potatoes, clam chowder and freshly baked cheese bread for lunch, along with egg nog. I ate my meal across from a friendly face I had never formally met before. She is a new transfer from Alderson Federal Prison Camp in West Virginia. As we began to talk over our meal, she shared with me how much fun she had the night before and how she never thought she would celebrate New Year's in such a manner in prison. I smiled and told her that our celebration is a Danbury tradition. We try our best as inmates to make the best out of the holidays. I almost dismissed the nature of our conversation until she engaged further.
"I read your book 'Unlocking The Prison Doors.' It was sent to me in Alderson by your publisher. I was going through a very rough time and your book helped me tremendously," the women said emphatically, as I stopped to make sure I heard her correctly.
"Yeah your books are a hit in West Virginia. Many of the women their read them to help cope with their incarceration. We keep several sets in the chapel for the new prisoners to read," the woman continued on.
Her words made me reflect and give gratitude to God. Even though I'm experiencing one of the most challenging times of my life, I realized that the work I've done behind bars has had a great impact on others. That means so much to me! It lets me know there is indeed purpose in my pain. I took great value in the lesson I got from the woman's conversation, which I want to share with you. Even though we may do many good deeds that seem to go unnoticed, they still have great value to others. Therefore, don't be weary in your well doing, in due season you'll reap much. Happy New Year!