Guest Post by Reconnect Intern, Maya Pisel
The ex-offenders who come to Reconnect for help or resources share many gifts of wisdom and conscience. I learn from their experiences, their jokes, and, most of all these days, their patience.
I am of a generation who tweets our fleeting judgements and “likes” every other photo in our “news” feed, with one headphone in and 17 tabs open on Google Chrome. Growing up, I moved often and expected people to come and go. I want to concentrate and commit to living a better life, and making a better world, but I don’t know how. I want to intervene in the injustices that structure our economy, legal system, and social life, injustices that dismember my family and disfigure my soul. Creating a new way of living and being together… Re-entry teaches me that takes patience.
It takes patience to remember your work history and select words to describe your responsibilities. You type one-finger at a time and master the margins of Microsoft Word, and send your resume to employer after employer not knowing if any of them will even open it. You go to work every day folding cow hides or tortillas or cotton sheets, knowing your labor matters despite people who don’t value or even see it. You pay your child support and make new friends, wondering if the new you will ever shine through.
One Reconnect client wrote a 400-page book (it’s on his thumb drive, pending independent publishing). You know that takes patience.
Patience is a promise to invest in a project – and sometimes that project is yourself. Patience means accepting you are valuable and imperfect, with the courage to struggle and the conviction to succeed. Your goal is worth working and waiting for. Patience demands that you notice and accept the details and processes that infuse meaning: the headaches when you dethaw from addiction, the seventeen ways your teenage son can roll his eyes, the brutal relationships between race and incarceration. Through it all, patience is a commitment to life and to consciousness.
As I wake up each day to face choices about how I will treat myself and others, and how I can commit my time to nourishing a more just community, I draw strength and inspiration from the patience of my friends at Reconnect. Thank you.