Does it have to be a waste of time? I posed this poignant to myself after a recent exchange with a fellow prisoners whom I hold enormous respect. On this particular day, I overheard him lamenting having spent the last 20 years in prison. A recent sentence reduction leaves him with less than two years remaining. However, what caught my attention was his statement that, “all of this time has been wasted. At this point, I was moved to interject my perspective. I stressed to him that the mere fact to being in prison does not mean our time is wasted. We have our humanity and, more important, we remain children of the most high Allah! Several days later he approached me and expressed gratitude for interjecting positive reinforcement. Actually, I was humbled within myself upon considering the profundity of his prior statement. I expressed to him the fact that our classroom conversation has lingered in the forefront of my consciousness ever since. He had apparently done some future introspection of his own regarding the topic. A middle aged, Muslim brother, he had taken refuge in his walk of faith as a mean of viewing his situation from a broader (and more positive) prism.
Consequently, he was able to recognize his imprisonment. Certainly, after serving more than a decade in prison, it is understandable to feel some degree of acrimony. However, bitterness should never be allowed to rule the day indeed, bitterness strips us of the ability to see beyond our present circumstance. It consumes the spirit and casts doubts upon the very foundation of our faith. Rather than viewing my exchange with my fellow prisoner as an isolated incidence, I was force to look within myself. I was compelled to ask myself, am I wasting time in prison? *Certainly the aim of not wasting this time has been in the forefront since my imprisonment.
Therefore, rather than become bitter, I have striven to maintain a positive mental attitude and use this time wisely. On the other hand, many of us are *wasting* this valuable time in our lives with frivolity and vice. Gambling, drugging, obsession with sports, music videos, gang activity, reality shows and BET! And other prison cop shows vices are effectively a waste of time. Even prison, there exists an opportunity to better ones self as a human being. Many institutions offer educational and vocational training programs. This is an excellent opportunity to further your education and acquire jobs skills. It is also a chance to broaden your world view by reading. Furthermore, it is an excellent to establish a physical fitness regimen. Most importantly, it is exigent that we use this time to develop and nurture our spiritual development. If we are conscious of and place emphasis on using this time wisely, we can emerge from prison with the tools necessary to successfully transition to contributing members of society. Whether in prison or the so called “free world,” it is important that we take advantage of every opportunity to learn and grow. Even as a middle aged black men, I still find ample opportunity to learn and grow. Quite often, I encounter profound growth opportunities from unlikely sources. It is very refreshing and humbling to appreciate knowledge and receive life’s lessons even from those who are our junior age wise. Indeed, true knowledge of our creator, and knowledge of ourselves are essentials for a fulfilling life. Attaint and manifestation of this sacred knowledge makes our lives (our time) meaningful to humanity our present state of confinement.
Minister Khalil Shabazz Muhammad
Mr. Dewayne Lee Harris #[ID]
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