Ten Foot Pole


If a tree falls and no one is around to hear it, does it make a sound? I say yes. If my wife has an inspiring story and few hear it, is that a shame, a loss? I say yes. Marital bias aside, I believe Patty’s personal resilience trudging through an 18 month felony investigation, two years of incarceration and a humiliating job hunt, came from her profound faith in God.

Pity party? Not a chance. Consider this; it is Patty’s birthday today, September 26th 2014, and we are leaving town for few days to celebrate. This week I asked Patty, when was the last time we took a legitimate vacation; “it was September of 2006, we went to New York for our honeymoon.” Ten years ago on Patty’s 40th birthday, we flew to Vancouver British Columbia, Canada, but it was for my mother’s funeral. In a few weeks I fly back to Vancouver, but for a memorial service celebrating my sister Elizabeth’s life. Patty can’t attend because her felony is a problem for Canada. Crime and continuing punishment, it just goes on and on.

Over these years, our finances of course have taken a pounding. Long hours of work and school have taken a toll on our time as a couple to relax and play, time lost forever; friendships have also suffered from lack of time, sadly. Remarkably, it is fair to say we are a Bureau of Prisons success story; hard to believe really. Patty was a model inmate, worked hard as a baker for 15 cents an hour and now faithfully pays her $500 per month restitution. She obtained her dream job, and has successfully “re entered” society. But what about released inmates who were divorced while in prison, may have mental health issues or a limited education. Perhaps a broken family and no faith in their life, what are their chances for a successful return to society? Where do they find hope, what are their dreams and goals, do they have any dreams beyond survival?

The passage of time takes a toll on everybody. Doing time in prison takes a real toll and wasting personal time while you are free is also a loss. Patty and I feel time spent in church is time well spent, an investment. I am not saying become some wild eyed bible thumper with a private jet and a TV show; it’s just restorative and soulful on a street level basis. Time sitting in the sun contemplating doing nothing is also quality time. So what’s my point? What does this have to do with Marriage Behind Bars? Take a risk. Take the time to reach out and help somebody who really needs a break. It could be anybody, perhaps even a released inmate, a real live felon; maybe somebody like my wife. I stuck around when few wouldn’t touch my wife with a ten foot pole, it has been time well spent. Happy Birthday Patricia, your future is stunning.

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