Tuesday, June 2, 2015

Godmother to a Gang Leader

'This will never amount to anything' was my initial reaction when I agreed to write to Adrian, the brother of my son's girlfriend -
and a prisoner at a maximum security prison.

He was an 'aspiring writer' seeking advice and I was an author willing to dish it out.

I had an ulterior motive and I was sure he did, too.

As a radio personality in my 20's and 30's I'd gotten several fan letters from prisoners, so I knew how this worked.

It never failed - the first paragraph started with introductions, the second would always be the list of reasons of why it was always 'someone else's fault' that they were in their predicament, and by the first sentence of the third paragraph they'd want money and a lawyer.

My ulterior motive? Well, I've never been one to miss an opportunity to talk to someone about Jesus. But experience taught me that the letters always stop upon the first mention of the 'J-word.'

And besides - what on earth could a Hispanic gang leader - yes, I said gang leader - and an older middle-age White woman possibly have in common?

This would be over before it even started.

Except 3 and a 1/2 years later, it is still going strong.

Somewhere in this time frame - and I can't pinpoint when - writing to this boy, talking to him about the Bible, mentoring him, stopped being a chore, stopped being a duty and started to be a labor of love.

Yes, I love this boy. He has become like my middle child. I get letters from him almost every week, and he calls us several times a week.

Never has he asked us for anything. Ever.
He is an artist and several times he has made things for me and I cherish those.

Sometimes we send him books because he loves to read - but we offer - he's never asked.

He has never made excuses for why he is there. In his very first letter he included his case number that detailed exactly why he is incarcerated so there would be no doubt.

It has been amazing to watch him change through the years. He has let down so many barriers and gone from being an angry young man with a chip on his shoulder to someone who now has a goal of helping others get out of the life that put him where he is.

He is incredibly smart. He who only has an elementary education, yet his writing is beautiful and his speech eloquent. And while this may be hard to believe, he has impeccable manners.

I am going to stop now. I am going to give y'all time to pick your jaw up off the floor, and contemplate how stupid you think I am.

That's okay.

I just thought it was time for you to know.
I wanted to tell you a long time ago, but Adrian wouldn't let me.
He was afraid you all would judge me.

I guess that remains to be seen.


Tracey Miller said...

what an amazing gift God has given you I am blessed to know you and call you a friend

Deb~in~Denver said...

"Too often we underestimate the power of a touch, a smile, a kind word, a listening ear, an honest compliment, or the smallest act of caring, all of which have the potential to turn a life around."
-Leo Buscaglia
The world needs more people like you! Blessings to both you and Adrian.

Kathie Truitt said...

Thank you, Tracey and Deb - I so appreciate your encouragement. You never know what to expect from people and more than anything I want Adrian to have encouragement - to KNOW that changing your life is not impossible.

Emily Suzann said...

We are all sinners saved by grace. My favorite point to make is "don't judge me because I sin differently than you do". God sees us all the same - warts and all, He loves us. As Christians we are supposed to aspire to live like Him. Showing love to everyone no matter what is exactly what your story is an example of. So inspiring.

Tammy B said...

Thank you for sharing. God brought you two together. This story really touched me.

Brenda Eaves said...

Kathie, what a wonderful story. It touched my heart and made me smile! The world needs more people like you. Keep on being you, smile and wear your boots! You are a beautiful, sophisticated lady, that has a heart of gold!

I'm proud of Adrian also that he has turned his life around and for the person that he is. The best news is that he has found and knows Jesus! (Doing the happy dance!)

God Bless you and Adrian!

Brenda Eaves said...
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Anonymous said...

As the wife of a prison administrator, I am asking permission to share this with him and he, in turn, with his population.

Somehow after all these years, Charles still believes that "his men" have a great deal to offer the general public, even as they lose faith in themselves.

Kathie Truitt said...

You most certainly may share!

Farrah said...

All I can say is YAY!!! And God bless you both. xoxoxo

Miss Janice said...

Yes God bless you both. Keep us posted on Adrian!