We are sharing another letter that was written to “Jeremiah’s” family and friends:
To Jeremiah’s Family and Friends,
Who would ever think that leaving a prison could be anything except a JOYOUS occasion?! We can answer that question…we who have come to respect, enjoy, and care deeply for this man who is leaving…there is a bit of sadness in our hearts because we will miss him.
We are happy that he will be a free man again and not only that – we are so pleased that he has gained so much character before he gained his freedom. When we met him, he had a rough and angry nature. We soon saw that he was a “diamond in the rough!” He is now a man with a new attitude and sense of honor about himself. He is able to re-enter society with wisdom and determination to live a good life…a man who is no longer ashamed to show his emotions or speak his mind at the appropriate times. He knows he is “dirt” and can tell you why that is a GOOD thing! Most important, he looks to God for guidance and peace in his life.
We would like to mention a few things that you should be aware of…things that a man will go through when he re-enters society…things he may experience:
After the first few days, weeks, or months of freedom and celebration, he may feel sad or bored. Remember that he has gone through many changes and even when a change is a good one (like coming home) – it can create a kind of trauma as he gets used to his new living arrangements. In order to survive in prison, he had to create and adjust to a different way of life and he went through many changes before he came into the program and started to really understand himself and to know how blessed his life could be, even in prison. He has made good friends – friends that he has opened up to; friends that he has told things that he had before kept secret in his deepest soul; friends that he has laughed with, cried with, worked with, hurt with, and in short – friends he has bonded with in ways that he never knew was possible. Now he is adjusting his lifestyle again, adjusting to freedom and you can KNOW that he is thrilled to be home…but it is normal to miss good friends. Hopefully he will get a job quickly and this is usually helpful as he gets used to his new lifestyle.
There will be some of his old friends (before he went to prison) that will expect him to be the “old Jeremiah.” Some of these friends will come to respect the new Jeremiah…others will expect him to act in the old ways and encourage him to do things that he should not do. We know you will help him be strong as he takes his new behaviors into his old life.
We would like to suggest that you be supportive by being alert to his moods and behavior. He wants and need your help as he adjusts. Some of these suggestions may, at first, seem to appear that you are interfering in his life; or you may feel embarrassed or uncomfortable because these subjects seem too personal. However, loving him as you do – we believe that you will help him in these ways:
Ask him what is going on with him and then listen with love and understanding:
If he is acting in secretive ways,
if he is nervous
if he is angry
If he stops taking care of himself in any way
If he becomes excessive in any area
If he looks sad
if YOU feel like there is something wrong with him but you can’t even explain what it is
Please feel free to call on us if we can be of help to your family as Jerimiah comes home to you. We pray your reunion is a joyous one and that the challenges you face in life will be small and manageable.
May God bless all of you.