PATRICK’S STORY

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Cellblock 20:

Teach us to number our days. That we may gain a heart of wisdom, Psalm 90:12

I’m writing this to you from Cell Block 20. I’ve been in Prison now for quite some time, after having done enough damage on the outside world to know that I have succumbed to a life of living behind bars. Maybe, if someone had scooped me up on the outside world and tried to help me change, I would have seen what would have happened to my life, if I had taken a different path. Well, that someone never came and I continued on the path I chose, so here I sit doing my time in Cell Block 20. I heard this song echo through the walls of my Cell Block the other day and the words have been running through my head for days. “Time is on our side” the man kept singing, yet I regret to inform you that if time is on my side, why do I sit here daily, wondering where I will be in 10 years? Maybe, time is on my side to help me understand what I did on the outer world, and what I can accomplish once I get out.

As I sit here in the darkness at night, I get a sense that someone is here with me, challenging me to become a better person. This “being” as I like to call him, has been whispering in my ear for days, weeks even months that “I need to Change”. “Take a chance and run with it”, “don’t look back”! “I am here for you”. “You are forgiven if you ask for me to be in your heart”. The words just keep coming and this being won’t stop talking! I am not going crazy! I’ve been having a conversation with God! He came to me in a dream one night when I had dropped to my lowest point. I know that everyone in my family has practically given up on me, yet I really want to show them that they are wrong. That good can come from bad, and that you turn around one day and yell…”I want it all”. So, here I sit listening to the voice that keeps telling me to forge forward, to keep going, that he will carry me through the darkness into the light. Morning comes, I am still here, yet I am not angry at anyone for my presence here in Cell Block 20. I did this to myself, so I have to get myself out.

I started a journey of trying to get to know God. I started a course of study that allowed me to test my faith, my knowledge of the bible and I began to fall in love with a faith that is so strong you can’t even begin to understand unless you’ve studied it yourself as well. This cell block that I live in is my fortress of escape from the world I once knew and so brutally messed up. I pace the floor in my 8×10 cell block every day for hours on end, trying to convince myself that everyone can have a second chance in life. It’s what you do with your life that really defines who you are in life after. I want more and more of this God challenging lifestyle, so I go forward with the grace of a Man that has endured and will move people to trust in God too.

I bought some Post-It-Notes and started to put bible verses on them and stick them to the walls of my cell. I figure if I keep placing them on the walls it will become so ingrained in my soul that when I get out I will lead the proper lifestyle that I have craved for so long. The walls of my cell became almost covered in Post-It-Notes, so I started to hand them out. I write on them almost every minute of my day, they consume my time and help me to understand why I am here and how I have to change myself in order to obtain the attitude of gratitude.

After a few months of writing, sticking and handing these little notes of gratitude out, I began to see a change in the walls around me. My cell walls became more barren, and my cell-mates walls became magically colorful. The other prisoners were actually hanging these little “Notes from heaven” on their walls! Could this be happening at the rate of speed I seemed to acknowledge in my mind, or does time pass so slowly here that these notes are getting hung up week by week, month by month? It doesn’t matter what timeframe they are being placed up on other cellblock walls, it’s the fact that they are being hung up at all!

I sought a challenge from God, and I decided to embrace it. So I picked up a Bible from the library and searched for more meaningful messages to hand out.

Teach us to number our days. That we may gain a heart of wisdom, Psalm 90:12.

This was the most perfect verse of all. After all the days that I have been here, I am gaining wisdom in God. I am somehow helping placing Post-It-Notes from heaven on other cell mate’s walls and changing my world around me. If it is possible to do all of this from inside a Prison, image what I can do when I get out?

Sandie Heckman

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