Perhaps it’s the time of year. People gathering family and food to celebrate the abundance in their lives as if it were the norm.
Perhaps it’s because, this year, I will be without my family. I’m feeling a ragged hole in my heart without anticipation to soften those sharp edges.
Perhaps it’s because the reality is, many people do not have family around them this week. I’m thinking of a few women who, in their post-prison-release reality, are sinking into their own variations of scarcity. Scarcity of food, family, money. Scarcity of support. Scarcity of internal resources. Scarcity, period.
As the holidays approach – with their weeks of preparation, hype and inevitable let-down – I am more reminded than ever of those whose reality is scarcity. Even when their imaginations can conjure alternate story lines or comforting memories.
And yet, this week two women still inside prison shared how compassion and gratitude can live, even within the scarcity of prison. CB writes :
I am grateful. Grateful to be here. You wouldn’t think that anyone would be grateful to be in jail. But I am. The thing is, I learned a lot about myself while I have been here. When I came in, I was angry, resentful, and aggressive. God used my circumstances to help work those bad qualities out of me and replace them with peace, graciousness and forgiveness. Yes, I am grateful.
And LD writes of a surprise visitor:
We talk. She listens like a wonderful friend,
a mother. An Angel.
Help I was waiting for, Inside
Deep, very deep.
From my perspective it was impossible.
talking to me like she was singing
looking at me because
she understands my pain, my tears.
Perhaps, this holiday, we can offer gratitude not from abundance, but in the simple act of compassion toward one another.