29 May 2011

nothing into something

At the end of the day, after I blog, I always read something on my iPad, like NPR or CNN or Twitter. Yesterday I read a really poignant article about a many who was just released from prison two years ago.
You'd think he was a horrible convict; after all, he's been in prison for 30 years. What could he possibly have done? The answer: nothing. 30 years ago, he was convicted of murder in Florida, only at around age 21. He was sent to prison, and it was prison for life - he was supposed to be released on parole in 2043. But he didn't do it. And only he knew that.
Until 2008, when DNA tests - 30 years too late - came back saying that he did fit the criteria for having killed the man they accused him of killing 30 years prior.
I cannot imagine even going to jail for an overnight, let alone a day, a week, a month, a year, a decade, or even more than a quarter of a century. Especially for absolutely nothing.
But in the deepest of downs, this man found light in music. After 12 years of contemplating death, he decided he was not going to let "them win", and so he became the stronger person. It was in prison that he learned how to play the guitar. He also formed a band with other prisoners and wrote music. His first single, being released on iTunes next month, was written on toilet paper. Others were scrawled on prison calenders and other pieces of paper he could salvage.
After finally being set free, after so many years wasted in prison, he was found by a music producer, and at the age of 51, he started his music career. And he is helping out convicts in Florida now.
I can't even think of someone more inspirational than someone who turns nothing, less than nothing, into something uplifting and beautiful. It makes yo think, what am I doing complaining about the heat, the long line, the fact that they didn't have the right color napkins at the store, when someone else was robbed of their life and did not complain?
I probably wouldn't have been able to find enough strength like this man did. But thankfully he did. He showed me that life is so much more precious than we can ever imagine, and only we can change it for the better.

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