As I sit musing over the last three decades of my life, I have become aware of how much other people have influenced me as to who I am and why I am here. I strongly believe that all of us are placed here on earth to help others and in the process grow ourselves. Reviewing my own experiences, I have found that I have been able to put most negative situations behind me but in moving forward I have had to use the experience to help others. This seems to be the only way I to this point can move on and evolve.
This, seems so inconsequential in the entire scheme of things but today I am remembering a letter that I received while working at The Salvation Army Adult Rehabiltation Center (ARC) in Atlanta, Georgia. I am trying to pinpoint why today, and what the intention of the message was for me. Had I not seen, that the letters I wrote to this man had a specific message for me? If so, what was/is it? Have I satisfied it? Do I still need to pay it forward?
So many of my previous blogs are about a specific person; this time I cannot remember the person because I have never met him. However, I have thought of these letters over the years. It was early in the 1990’s and I was the Prgram Director at the ARC located on Marietta Street in Atlanta. One of my responsibilites was to respond to men in prison who were seeking admission to our program. At the time we had a policy that anyone seeking admission would be obligated to an onsite interview with our Intake Supervisor. We had a policy as to not commit to admitting anyone until we could interview him and determine as to whether or not, we were appropriate for that person. In addition, we were not a pre-release program. As it was a long term residential work therapy program some men would not benefit, especially those older or in poor health.
I do not remember the name but I will refer to him as Evan. I received Evan’s first letter sent to me from Jackson Penetentiary in Butts County, Georgia. Evan stated in his letter that he was due to be released and had no address to parole out to. Therefore, he was seeking admission to our program. The day I received the letter, I wrote back to Evan thanking him for his interest in our program and that our policies were such as that he would need to be released and then seek admission. I explained that he would have to have an onsite interview, prior to being considered for admission to the facility. I sent him information on identification requirements, program classes, activites and requirements,etc.
About two weeks I received a second letter from Evan. In the letter he expressed that he was very sorry but that he could not seek admission to our program because; he did not have a suit to wear to the interview. At first I found myself being amused and then totally dismayed that he had interpreted my response to him that he would need a suit for the interview (the afore mentioned onsite interview). Again, I responded explaining that he would not need a suit and that in fact, if he was admitted to the center, part of his clothing allowance was for a suit. Incidently , I never received a response to my second letter.
I wonder, could I have been of more help to Evan, if so, how? Did he in fact get paroled out and find a suitable living situation? Is he doing well today? Why today, do I still have this in the forefront of my memory? What is the message? How can I use it in helping others or growing myself? How does God want me to respond and go on with this lesson? Is there another Evan coming into my life? Search your heart and mind is there an Evan living there, if so how can you move on?