I wake each morning filled with thoughts of the effects of the compassion of others on my life. To be honest for a long time I would wake filled the thoughts that all things I desired to do would never be.
Life without the possibility of parole has the effect on you. I often think of a quote from my friend’s book that states “People afflicted with leprosy were segregated from society and exile for life to leper colonies.
Those type of leper colonies are mostly a thing of the past, but a new type of leper colony have been taken their place in America. The new leper colonies are prisons which have sprung up like Starbucks. A costly American hatred by Joseph Dole.
If it wasn’t for the compassion of those who went against the moral compass of lock’em up and throw away the key, we all would be forgotten.
I am thankful for the compassion that has been extended to me over my thirty-eight years of my incarceration by all who believed in a 2nd, 3rd and sometimes a 4th chance.
Had it not been extended to me, this would be a different story but because of the mercy shown to me, it has allowed me to show mercy to others. See I was as cold as the steel that incarcerated me, no heart, but deep inside my heart was aching.
I perfected the face and went through the motions and no one was the wiser.
It was the volunteers, the teachers who was on occasion allow me to see the world as I dream it would be. The compassion of these people reminded me what it means to be alive, the possibility of forgiveness and its constantly provided me with this glimmer of hope that there are still people with forgiving hearts and it brought hope to me when mine was dimmed, it tells me we have to be open to change and trust others.
It has allowed me to extend the same compassion to others and to remind others about the power of compassion that when embraced they will come to understand it’s boundless and immeasurable and allow us to overcome all forms of adversity.
It was this compassion that was extended to me by a professor that started me to white as an artist paper became my new canvas. It was therapeutic and calming and yet powerful.
To watch people be moved by words on paper, visualizing and seeing in vivid color, the tears, the emotions shared in my stories.
I would share stories like how my son was a prison inmate right next to me and over the years our journey together in the department of correction and how I became a father.
Compassion offered me the promise of renewal the joy of living and the peace of mind which comes from sharing and caring. The shoulder to lean on in the time of need.
Without the spirit of compassion that has accompanied me along my journey. My life would exist in various shades of grey, instead of these vibrant colors that each day of possibilities brings to my life.
Despite living under what is called the other death penalty, I embrace each day with gratitude, and it has allowed this resurrection of spirit.
Like Dr. Brane Brown states: “Owning our story can be hard, but not nearly as difficult as spending our lives running from it.”
Writing has become the medium to tell my story, often wrapped in the stories of other, but always done with the same compassion shown to me by all the spirits I’ve met journey.
By: Kenneth M. Key