Bridging Gaps: What Will It Take?
I find myself attempting to me more tolerant as I become more self-aware. This prison, all prisons, breed hatred and contention. When there is a problem, segregate, when one person does something, his whole race is thought to do the same. It’s expected. I hate that. Here is my big problem, what makes any of us think that someone else is not allowed to make mistakes? What makes us so special? How completely ridiculous that we expect everyone around us to be perfect but when we make mistakes we say, “oh, forgive me”. Hypocrites!
We all make mistakes, we all do things that offend someone else, we all say things that jeopardize our good standings with our neighbors. Unless we hermitize and never socialize, which is NOT how God made us…now is it? We watch television about those who recluse into the forest or the mountains and envy those who are isolated and listen to them talk about “society” being broken and “people” being to hard to deal with and their selfishness. I say those who recluse are weak and apart of the problem at large. If you don’t like something you should change it! At least try to be apart of the solution.
It’s not ok to quietly slip into the darkness and hide or justify reclusing becuase your unable to deal with the problem. Here is how you change the world around you: YOU CHANGE! You decide that you are not going to accept cutting in line as an alternative, you decide that you are going to lend what you have and you are going to allow people to walk on you. I know that sounds anti-everything-you’ve-been-taught. But, it’s true. I have heard pastors ad preachers say, give unto others but don’t allow them to walk on you, or to use you.
I say, God says in His Word to Bless those who spitefully use you…Tell those who are acting like children, “despite me feeling like your using me, I am going to lend this to you anyway, why, becuase I believe in you” Don’t just say it, mean it.
If we would try to edify and uplift those around us those around us will naturally try to live up to that expectation. I have tried it here in prison and it works. By telling others ” I know that you are a strong man, who has a will that is iron clad, you are able to overcome this and I hope that I can help you do so in some way” They will naturally include you in their road or pathway or whatever situation they are in and show you the side of them that is caring and beautiful.
I challenge everyone to try this method. I don’t mean give out all your belongings. I mean, when someone tries to cut you off instead of freaking out, let them in and bless them. When someone wants coffee faster then you, tell them it’s ok to go in front of you and then say it in a relaxing way that you are ok with this. Don’t look down your nose at them or make them feel small, tell them “You are in a hurry, I hope that you will do this for someone else in the future…go ahead of me.”
This isn’t some romantic “save the world” idea. This is a basic way to interact with humanity and be apart of a solution. Everyone that we come into contact with are potential allies and friends that are able to help us through our tough times. By being nice to someone who isn’t expecting it, we could prevent the next mass shooting, or suicide, or victimization of another. This is taking an active role in fixing the problem.
Jeff Utnage 823469
Stafford Creek Correction Center
191 Constantine Way
Aberdeen, WA 98520