What would you do if you were in prison and somebody stole something from you? This happened to me yesterday while I was outside on the recreation yard all evening. When I came back some of my commissary was missing. So, I started asking did anybody see anybody around my area? Or did anybody see anybody with the items that I was missing? After a few minutes of checking around the items were returned to me and later the young man who had takened them came and apologized to me for taking my items. His reason for taking the items was that he was hungry. But, I understand him and where he comes from this is one means of acquiring the things that one wants, needs and desires. I come from where he comes from. And I’ve been where he’s been and is most likely going if he’s not corrected in some fashion or form. So, instead of just flying off the handle and going upside somebody’s head over something that really doesn’t have any true value I was able to find a common ground and understand. I was very upset but, I remembered back at 17 yrs old I was sitting at a day room table in 1993 in Lebanon prison. This dude had stabbed this other dude up and almost killed him. So, I was sitting at the table with an elderly brother and I asked him, school(short slang for ole school or older men) what did he get stabbed up for? He said, for not playing the guy who stabbed him two packs of cigerettes or two boxes of Little Debbie’s. I’m like I would of payed him two packs of cigerettes or two Debbie’s for him. He like, youngsta(short slang for young man) you don’t get it, it’s about principles. I’m like, a persons life is worth more than that and I don’t won’t no principles like that.
But, see in prison at that time if you allowed a person to take something from you or you showed any weakness you was gonna be prey for anybody and everybody knew you was an easy target. I didn’t know any better from their point of view. But, I understood that to a certain extent but, I was raised by my grandma, granddad, mother, father and a host of other family members, friends, neighbors, teachers and so on.. So, my value system was a little higher than these people I was locked up with then. But, to survive you had to adjust and adapt so, I did but, I still to this very day will not kill or seriously harm a person of nothing like that. Because, I was taught that we make the situation and it don’t make us. My Grandma use to say just because we’ve from the ghetto or projects don’t mean we have to live or act like it. So, I understood young that geographics don’t make me, things that I may or may not have don’t make me, its who I am, what I stand for, how I behave and act that show and prove each day who I truly am and my worth. Its degrees to every aspect of yourself and life but, the lessons of my youth is what I charish the most for they continue to help guide me correctly and refine me for my own usage. Even in such a inhumane and barbaric place as Lebanon during the time I grew up in there I didn’t let it take all my light. And even now under the circumstances I’m faced with day in and day out I will never let even the darkest hours or places stop me from shining bright despite my situations. Light is the truth that allows one to guide themselves out of the darkness of their heart, mind and soul’s.
Instead of using the yesterdays test as a way to tear down, destroy or ruin I was able to use it as a bridge to connect with the youngsta who was once me and didn’t know any better. I chose to understand over having no understanding. It is the civilized who is responsible for the uncivilized. The civilized have the knowledge, wisdom, understanding, culture, refinement and are not savage in the pursuit of happiness. The civilized has a duty to teach the uncivilized. For those who knows must teach those who do not know. For those who don’t know has nothing to teach anyone of any value or true sustenance. I chose to build which is to elevate the mentality of self and others around, to add on positive energy to the man’s nation. To destroy is to ruin by allowing the negative to out weigh the positive. Its easy to tear down or destroy someone or something because it really takes no skill to destroy, give a child a hammer and what it break things up, or listen to backbiters or slanderous people gossip all day tearing people down with their ignorant, hateful or envious words. But, see it takes kill to build something or someone up. Can’t anybody just build a model airplane or a building, or broken person back up into a healthy sane resolute one. It takes one who has the skills or abilities to do the job or task at hand. So, yesterday I chose to build and not destroy even in this place most call the tombs because it feels like you’re buried alive. Your family members and friends are gone for the most and you’re alone. You’re forgotten about facing a death sentence everyday. I feel their pain and I must find a way to help before I harm. That is what I do everyday. I wake up facing death but, not excepting its dark hard steel gaze as I know I’m blessed with life that a lot don’t have so, I use each moment I have left to do something better with myself and my time to better those around me as much as I possibly can. What would you do? How do you add own to yourself and others around you daily? Enjoy the day! Peace, understanding and blessings!
Maurice A. Page
Categories: Maurice Page