Sunday, January 08, 2017


Sunday Reflection: Terrifying Beauty

On Friday I was working hard on a new project, an important one. My computer binged, three times. Bing... Bing... Bing. I turned away from my manuscript and looked at the messages as my heart sank. The messages were from the United States Pardon Attorney, telling me that three of my clients-- men I had come to know and believe in, who had changed themselves in prison and were there for too long anyways-- were being denied clemency. It was like a death, the death of hope. 

I sat quietly, and I cried. When you lose at this, you lose big. And I know that with the Trump Administration looming like the Death Star for people like these three men, there might not be hope again for a while.  

But, of course, I chose this.  I chose it because Christ calls me to it, and what Christ promised, again and again, was that those who follow his path of radical forgiveness will be hurt, not celebrated. This is what I signed up for-- actually just a fraction of it. 

But I am not the one who pays the price, really, of this President's brutal timidity and the reckless retribution of the next one. That price is payed by others, who I know, who sit in a prison cell in despair. 

There are those who need to be in prison. I turn down most of the people who want me to help them. That means, though, that I truly believe in the ones I do work with. And the deep cruelty of that green light of hope having been held just outside their cell, then extinguished, is a sharp shard against bare skin.

I'm so very sorry. For them and for you.
So, so sorry you weren't able to help these three but remember how many you and your colleagues have assisted through this process. You have helped change many, many lives.

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