New York Times, Eli Hager September 13, 2017
From Prison to Ph.D.: The Redemption and Rejection of Michelle Jones
My reflections on this article.
The leaves of the trees fall and whither and die. Not so with fallen people. Some people fall and whither but fight not to die. Without assistance and little sustenance, one can rise by will from the ashes. A public past refuses to be forgotten, but a fortified will must needs overcome that refusal and that past. While belief in redemption needs each us to participate, belief in oneself to redeem thyself remains the most important factor. Perfect fruit can die on the vine if caretakers neglect it. That fruit may serve its purpose if responsible people simply serve their calling. The fruit serves only then its purpose. If fate somehow provides manna for the fallen in the form of abundant grace, then sweet be the results. One who has fallen can never satisfy the relentless critiques. Fear of being associated with controversy lurks enough to dampen soft support.
Early crimes against the fallen hardly count for anything. Incessant abuse further corrupts the tender corrupted. That horror begets horror should not horrify those who witness. Where do the sentiments which raise the living dead to life originate? Where does commitment to right wrongs which can never be righted seed and grow? Where those sentiments come from remains a mystery, but the steps to achievement are simple. One step then another, and endless and eternal and undeterred. Examine where one is presently. Find others who have been there and what happened to them. Accept that what is present is also past. Express it. Rewards sit invisible at the end of blind journeys in faith. The alone find company and competition. One adjusts solely by self and will. Judgements remain, but they must remain in the past. Punishment, it its purest form, lies in itself. If publicly served, guilt already recorded must be let go by all.
A fresh start. Courage. A second chance. Each of these may manifest in supporters, but must emerge from the fallen. None deserve anything from life, yet life serves pain and its opposite to each every day. Let past pain be future strength. Being an eyewitness to life’s pitfalls provides a foot path out of them. Honest and full narration means much to investors, but most to the scrutinized. Others may hijack a career, but they cannot derail the dream. Don’t make a crime a focus, make it a fulcrum. Realize the dark place people place the fallen and don’t forget it either. Stay interest in the world and be cosmically connected. Coming to means awakening to a world that was always there but that has changed its accoutrements. Adapt and take the steps. Expect curiosity. Expect to have to prove. Teach them resourcefulness is strength and nothing will ever be taken for granted. Presumptions and underestimates lay before. Experience and exceptional await.