It wasn’t until I was working as Chaplain at LA County Women’s Jail, that I became aware of LWOP. Life WithOut the Possibility of Parole. It was a dreaded sentence to receive and I spent many a weekend traveling to Merced, to visit with women who had received such a sentence and were truly without much hope.
They would NEVER, ever in their life, no matter their age, see anything but the inside of those prison walls and cells. NEVER. AND, they would NEVER see their families, friends, or loved ones unless they were allowed visitation rights and passed all security screenings. Then only inside of a very pubic and guarded room with dozens of others, and in most cases, without any physical contact allowed.
They would NEVER again go anywhere they wanted. NEVER eat what they wanted. NEVER shop for what they wished. NEVER again dress as they chose. NEVER be able to speak to whom they wanted. NEVER again work at the place of their choosing. NEVER drive a car. NEVER poop or pee in private. NEVER own what they wanted. Oh my goodness, I could go on and on and on. It was a grim and dreaded sentence and life. Life without…
To many, these days in which we live have been and are becoming a dreaded sentence. LIFE WITHOUT…
You fill in the blank. Life without__________
You could probably go on and on too. Life without freedoms… to shop, to work, eat out, to gather, visit, socialize, to go to church, baseball games, concerts… life without income…life without is grim you say. And no one in their right mind would disagree with you. It is not an easy sentence.
But as I sit at my comfortable desk, and look out a dirty window, I still see the sun. (So glad it’s not raining today.) I see blue sky. I can actually go outside and feel the wind on my face, blowing my hair and feel the heat of the sun on my skin.
Within in my house, my fridge is full, as are my cupboards and pantry. (Thanks to my husband who always goes above and beyond in providing for our family.) Our bills are paid. We are not in debt or headed there. Our children are healthy, secure, and being provided for.
Our closets are full. Cars running. (well, one out of two ain’t bad.) We live in a home, not on the street or in a cell with another person. We enjoy the privacy of the bathroom and shower anytime we choose. (unless you count Gunner breaking in occasionally.)
Do we have it all? No. Do we need it all? No. Are we really doing life without? I would answer, “No”.
Have we had to GO without? Yes. Is it easy? No, but it’s not as hard as we make it sound either. For us, it mostly amounts to more inconveniences than anything else.
We are retired. Yes. So our income is not dependent on our ability to earn. I get it. We are blessed. I get it. Not everyone is in the same place. I get it.
But what I also get is this – I don’t believe any of us are truly doing life without what is really important. We may be “going without”, but it is temporary. Although we don’t know the end date, we know there will be one. It is temporary. It is not, NEVER.
It is not LWOP. Life without the possibility of parole.
It is life, temporarily without…
So, yes, Sister, perspective does matter. 🙂
Cheers to you.