Rodney Fenner

Purpose, by Rodney Fenner

Hello world. Every day I take time to survey my surroundings in here. There are people of various ages, sizes, hues, cultures, upbringings, beliefs and a myriad of other things that make everyone uniquely individual. Our obvious commonality is our incarceration. For whatever the reason, we’ve all ended up here for whatever amount of time we were given. We could look at the purpose(s) of the incarceration. In other words, the charge(s). We could also look at the underlying purpose(s) that caused the person to catch the charge(s). However, instead of looking at the apparent purpose, I want to look at the absent purpose. The purpose that wasn’t there, but should’ve been. What I mean is that the vast majority of incarcerated people (men and women alike) were not encouraged to find their purpose before they ran into the situation that led them to prison. Find the thing in life you’re most passionate about; the thing that once you start doing it, you’ll feel like you were born to do it. If you ask a person who is just entering the system what’s their purpose/passion, a very high percentage of them wouldn’t be able to tell you or even care. I used a person just entering as an example because some people find their purpose/passion while incarcerated. Who knows how different these same people’s lives would have been if they’d found their purpose while they were free. That’s not to say that circumstances of life and the decisions they made because of them wouldn’t have still led them to prison or to an undesirable life, however, I do believe that the number of people who still ended up here would be significantly lower. Take me for instance. Typical “hood” upbringing. No biological father or father figure. Raised by numerous women in my family. Short stay in a foster home. Didn’t finish school. Ran the streets and chased girls. Sold and smoked weed. Most of the stereotypical things can be applied to me. The point is that I had nobody to support and encourage me to find my passion, which turned out to be football and writing. I love to write. I write books, poetry, song lyrics, screenplays, legal and personal letters for others and anything else. I like to think I do it well too, but my point is that if I’d been encouraged to find and pursue these passions of mine, I know that I wouldn’t have ended up here. That’s just me personally. Instead, the streets got to me. Enveloped me. Lulled me into a false sense of purpose and belonging. Sadly, I had to discover my purpose while incarcerated. Even as I sit here writing this, I look around and see people whose lives have no purpose. I see people who don’t care and are only interested in hedonistic pursuits. When you look at successful people who come from similar backgrounds as I do, how many of them at some time or another say that whatever it is they’re doing saved their life? They say that because they know that their life could have very easily be the one I live every day. Their life could’ve easily been over already. Their life could’ve easily been perpetual turmoil and catastrophe. Purpose is important in our lives. I don’t mean the purpose your parents or friends or anyone else has assigned to you. A purpose void of passion is merely a task. I’m talking about a purpose you are naturally passionate about. A purpose that you’re self-motivated for. A purpose that you’d strive to complete even if nobody paid you to do it. A purpose that feels more like a burning, insatiable desire and gives you the deepest sense of happiness and satisfaction when you’re in the midst of it. THAT is purpose. THAT is the conduit through which truly feeling alive is transferred. Whether you’re on the street or in prison, I encourage you to explore life enough to find your purpose. You’ll see life through a different lens and the way you move through days will be different. When you find the purpose you’re passionate about, your life will be passionately purposeful and that’s a beautiful thing. Peace.

Rodney Fenner
DOC #1436377

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