Journal entries – April 16-19, 2020

April 16, 2020 (« Gimme some water » by Eddie Money

“Imagine life is a game in which you are juggling five balls. The balls are called work, family, health, friends and integrity. And you’re keeping all of them in the air. But one day you finally come to understand that work is a rubber ball. If you drop it, it will bounce back. The other four balls – family, health, friends, integrity – are made of glass. If you drop one of these, it will be irrevocably scuffed, nicked, perhaps even shattered. And once you truly understand the lesson of the five balls, you will have the beginning of balance in your life.” James Patterson, “Susanna’s diary for Nicholas”

Remember what life was like two months ago? Everybody was caught up on their own unique brand of madness, stressed out trying to keep up in the rat race, dealing with mental health issues, financial problems, broken heart, whatever it was we were caught up in, right?

Then the age of Covid-19 descended upon us – and through it the Universe hit the pause button on the entire world. In a way, it’s still almost unbelievable for me here because things continue as usual but I KNOW the world is changing and with it all of us are changing. And one of the lessons the school of life is teaching us all over again is the game of the five balls. What’s important, really and truly important in life? Security – good health – being well supplied with what you need to survive. It’s ironic how this situation mirrors life in prison on Texas death row. But it does. True story.

April 17, 2020 (“Moon dance” by Van Morrison)

“Piglet: ‘How do you spell Love?’

Pooh: ‘You don’t spell it, you feel it’” Winnie the Pooh

Man, it’s another Friday and not only is this week gone but the month is out of here too. I bet that for so many people in the free world, the days are sooo looog, not to mention the weeks! The thing about doing time is you have to have a routine and stick to it. And in case you forgot – you are now doing time too! We’re all doing time together even if you got your smart phone, Internet and all that. I know for those who never sit still this is hard time – solitary confinement, because you’ve been a bad prisoner, you’ve been put in the hole kind of time!

But you know something? People love you and if no one else loves you I love you!  And maybe it’s not so bad if we all slow down for a minute and sit still and listen. What do you hear? What do you think of? What is God trying to tell you? What is She trying to get you to see or understand? Because in each of our respective lives, there is a lesson to be learnt, issues to be worked through because we are forever enrolled in the school of life.

Better yet, how are you stepping out of your comfort zone and showing your love to others? Remember Love is a verb – a word of action so you have to make others feel it. If you want love, you gotta give it and in case you forgot, loving and being loved is amazing.

April 18, 2020 (“A change is going to come” by Sam Cooke

“Kind hearts are the gardens. Kind thoughts are the roots. Kind words are the blossoms. Kind deeds are the fruits.” Kirpal Singh

I am an American of Mexican descent, born and raised in the state of Texas. Nothing will make me anything less, not even death. So I was very sad when I heard that my president had decided to withdraw funding for the World Health Organization. I’m a nobody in a cage on Texas death row – but even I know that was not what the world needed at this moment.

As I write this, it’s 8:00 pm Texas time and I listen to “One world together at home on iHeartRadio”. This program is an American response to raise funds for the World Health Organization (WHO) and for health care providers around the world. This program is on ABC, NBC, and CBS and radio stations across the country. It is a call to Action for all Countries including America to make sure health care workers have the equipment they need to keep us all safe. All of us! Huge mega super stars are performing to support this program, celebrities are voicing their love, support and appreciation for the front line responders and what an amazing show it is. It brings me to tears when I think about how my country, my people are showing their love and support. These are the global citizens who I want to call brothers and sisters, regardless of color of skin, rich or poor, famous musician or actor or lowly prisoner on death row – we’re all in this together. We all have to come together, be kind, love each other and be the change OUR world needs right this moment!

April 19, 2020 (“Grandma’s hands” & “Just the two of us” by Bill Withers)

“Courage is not being unafraid. Courage is what you do in spite of being afraid.” Bill Withers

It’s a rainy humid yucky day with serious threats of severe storms all day long – including tornadoes. In Texas, we have plenty of tornadoes you have to concern yourself with. Sometimes these yucky days like this all we can do is sit still and make it through. Tomorrow will be more productive but just making it through is a victory. Sometimes the easy thing to do with an unpleasant situation is to self medicate with whatever distraction you prefer. But the courageous thing to do is to sit still, listen, pay attention and learn whatever lesson the hot loneliness desires to teach you. Sometimes it’s just the lesson of how to be still.

“We’re born into the situation we have – go make something of yourself” Bill Withers

We’re all born into some kind of situation. Privilege or poverty, good health or poor, to struggle or have everything go our way. No matter what the situation, we can find a way to make something of it and yourself. You just have to decide: how bad do you want it? I sit in my cage and you sit in yours and maybe by now you’ve grown weary of doing time. Okay, so what are you going to do about it? Me? I will write, maybe try my hand at a poem, or a short story, or a chapter of my death row fiction story. I have a breakthrough with that and it feels great! Now I have to sit down and write – in blood. No problem.