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Out of the mouth of babes...

2:48 PM

Each of us has our own worries, our own problems and habits, our own pet peeves. Years ago I read an explanation about how each individual's problems are more important to them than the next person's problems. For the most part, anyway. There might be a mudslide in China that kills hundreds, but if you get up in the morning and stub your toe, you're more focused on your possibly-broken toe. Extreme? Maybe. You get the idea, though.

Speaking of extreme, I don't regret having gone through the rough periods and terrible conditions that I've experienced. Why? Because I survived. I wasn't broken. I learned from all of it. The crucible either destroys you or refines you. And I learned to not rely solely on my own strength.

One story I've shared many times, and will continue to share, is about a friend of the family. He was born with hearing impairment and required hearing aids as soon as he could wear them. A loving and intelligent child, he was still a little boy and prone to do things like turn off his hearing aids when he got tired of hearing the chaos of the world around him. From early on he would make odd statements, telling his mother of things he shouldn't know or be able to know. When she would ask him how he knew, he would say, "God told me."

On this particular day, his mother had promised him that he could go outside after he took a nap. By the time he had awoken from his nap, clouds had rolled in and it had rained outside. After he'd put his hearing aids on, she prepared to break the news to him. He didn't show any surprise or disappointment, and all he replied was, "I know. God told me." Normally she would let these statements slide. This time, however, she said, "I wish God would talk to me." Her son looked at her and replied, "He does. You just don't listen." Taken aback, she decided to pursue it a bit further. "Well, what does God sound like? Does he have a deep voice?" "No," he answered, leaning close, "He fwhifpers."


When life is chaotic and you feel confused as to what you should do, be still. Find a quiet place, unplug and tune out the world around you. Just for a few minutes. And when you're listening, remember... He whispers.

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From visit to visit

11:12 AM

After spending so many years locked down in solitary confinement, I think I am still adjusting to general prison population. My writing has dwindled down to almost nothing compared to what it once was. I spend the majority of my days dealing with all the various personalities and everything else that goes along with being in general population. And every day I wonder if, once again, I will be put back on lockdown for another person's stupidity; if I will be punished for someone else's actions.

Know what makes it worth putting up with? Fifth weekend contact visits with my family. This most recent visit I got the chance to spend time with my grandma and my sister. I also met my nephew, Marcus, for the first time. That was fun.

When they arrived in the visitation room, I was already waiting for them. The visiting area is about 40'x40' with small tables spaced throughout and chairs placed around them for visitors to sit. Vending machines are placed along the wall where the door is through which the visitors enter. I was sitting at a table close to the door and stood up as they came through. My grandma and I hugged, while I asked her about the trip. My sister was holding Marcus, so when I hugged her, Marcus gets encompassed, as well. He took it all in stride.

As we sat down I told my grandma and sister that I hope they understand that this visit is about Marcus. They laughed but knew I was serious for the most part. My grandma asked if I wanted anything from the vending machines, so I told her I would like a Pepsi. You see, my nephew likes the taste of Pepsi and loves the containers. As soon as my grandma set the bottle down in front of me on the table, Marcus looked back and forth between me and the Pepsi, reached toward the bottle and made an inquiring "Eh?" sound. I said, "That's right. I'm bribing you, buddy. No shame in my game."

Anyway, I won't bore you with a play-by-play of the visit and how I have the greatest nephew ever. I'm sure you already know that. I fed him bites of things that would make him hyper once he was on the way home. Isn't that what uncles are supposed to do? I'll share this last bit before I close out. As visit was winding down and Marcus was getting fidgety, I wanted to see if he would come to me. I held out my hands and he held out his little arms, ready to be picked up. I took him under the arms and pulled him toward me. As I settled him against my chest, he laid his head against my shoulder. I had to take a deep breath to keep from breaking down. Babies are so accepting. They accept you just as you are.

Walking out of the visit room is never easy, and this time was no exception. I waved and said, "Bye," stepping through the door to be searched. I received a letter the following week telling me that as I walked out of the visit room, Marcus said, very quietly, "Bye." He turned one year old just four days after our visit.

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About Me

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Steven Farris is a prisoner who has been incarcerated since a month after his 16th birthday in 1998. Currently serving a life sentence without the possibility for parole, he is seeking to educate the public about the true nature of prison and the widespread and negative effects of the prison industrial complex. Steven has worked with both the National Prison Project of the ACLU, as well as the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund in furthering this effort.

You can contact him directly at:
Steven Farris #R5580
WCCC
P.O. Box 1889
Woodville, MS 39669-1889

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