giving thanks

Gratitude can transform common days into thanksgivings, turn routine jobs into joy, and change ordinary opportunities into blessings. – William Arthur Ward

At times our own light goes out and is rekindled by a spark from another person. Each of us has cause to think with deep gratitude of those who have lighted the flame within us. – Albert Schweitzer

It has been almost a week since Thanksgiving and I feel like I already need reminders about grace and gratitude. In reviewing our work from last week, I have the same feeling looking at our work as I did around the table at Thanksgiving. We focused our attention on art last week, creating our own political posters to advocate for those things that are most important to us.

The writers, now artists, focused on things like LGBT equality and anti-war sentiments. Mostly though, they created expressions of love and peace. In one, a writer wrote “give peace a chance.” In another, “be adventurous, be kind.” And lastly, one simply wrote, “peace and love” in a bubble floating over the word “family.” As the holiday season continues, these are the messages they want to transmit out into the prison and our community.

We stood in a circle a discussed each poster and what it offered. Essentially, we stood around thanking each other, honoring, working through what each of us trying to say with gentle curiosity and affirmation. With our eyes, words, actions, we showed we were listening. We enacted what saw and advocated for on those posters.

As each writer experiences prison and the road out, we are all mutually grateful for moments like this, where we all listen to one another and offer peace, quiet, and a willing ear. In the piece below, you’ll find a shared account of the road out and of getting home after the time spent in prison.

GOING HOME – found poem 11.12.15

I am taken from my home.
I need my family,
a place to hang my pots,
not just see pictures.

I am taken from my home,
waiting for what’s to come.
My suitcase is always full.
I wish someone could save me.

I feel like I’m being kept
from everything healthy for me.
My mind is absent.
I don’t have the energy.

I’m going home.
I will persevere. Home is
where the heart is,
a new woman lives.

I have many dreams.
I will live in a country
where my heart will be for me.
My home is my castle.

Each day I thank God
for giving me another
to walk the dogs with pride.
I am going home.

I feel depleted but I’m strong.
There’s so much waiting for me.
My heart beating a tight staccato rhythm,
I will be free to see

the sky the trees the sun.

writers of CRCF

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