Being incarcerated since eighteen years old I have often gone for years without hearing from anyone or having any contact with the outside world. I learned to find the love I needed there in the place that I was. Among my brothers and in the church.
For over thirty years I have lived without knowing the true magnitude of the love that was waiting for me out here, and it wasn’t until I arrived that I realized it. Everyone gathered around me and greeted me, hugs covered me, I found kisses on my cheeks and in my heart. It was then that I realized how loved I was. I was overwhelmed by it. It filled me up in places I had no idea were empty. Pressures that I had been living under my whole life were given release and I was consumed utterly. For being there for me and carrying me through so much, my friends, my family and loved ones, for the ministers and teachers, volunteers and even many of the staff I left behind in prison, I do what I do now...
My soul expands and diminishes
As a breath held deeply under
Once dead to dreams desires or wishes
Drowning from the pain of my own hunger
Until what is — enters
My neatly arranged and ordered days
The cocoon of my routine bursts in splinters
A disaster of me - love made
What wondrous feelings engulf me
This confirmation of Love
To often I’ve forgotten or failed to see
How truly loved I was
How big an expression will allow me to
effectively express how blessed
and moved by your love
I am knowing that you love me….
I’m deflated and full to capacity
By my family, my friends
and by you...
© Carl E. Shuck
Carl E. Shuck was sentenced to prison when he was in his teens. He served almost 32 years and was released in July of 2016. He writes from his perspective of being a former inmate, a Christian and learning a whole new world that has changed while he was behind bars.