Love is . . . well, the definitions include an endless list of adjectives that all ring true when describing this profound noun. Then again, many would argue that love is an action word, otherwise known as a verb. We all can agree that love does. It is felt, not just heard. It is evident, not just implied. With the ultimate day of celebration of love on the horizon, I wanted to take a minute to discuss the extraordinary love that manifests in the lives of countless inmates across this vast country by family and friends.
Without attempting to provide an exhaustive list of definitions of what I personally believe love is, I would like to assert what I know love to include. Love is commitment. Love is sacrificial. Love is enduring and stubborn. It is bold and yet compassionate at the same time. Love is steady and diligent and selfless. Love has the ability to both heal and hurt; it can also be soothing or seething. But love has the unique power to lift us, carry us, and places us on a sturdy platform above the chaos that exists all around us. Indeed, this is exactly what I see in the parents, girlfriends, wives, siblings, children, and grandparents who support their incarcerated loved ones month after month, year after year.
I’m always in awe when I enter the visiting room and see people of all ages there to visit their confined loved ones. After visiting concludes, I head back to my cell feeling emotionally energized and humbled at the same time that my family would continually make the trip and effort to see me. I can’t help but to also think about the many miles all those visitors had to travel to get there to see their loved ones for only a couple hours, the time they may have had to take off work, the money spent for gas, food, hotel rooms, and the planning that went into making that visit possible. I’m compelled to think about the enormous sacrifice they make to keep money on phone and commissary accounts so their son or daughter, brother or sister, husband or wife, girlfriend or boyfriend can call home and feel loved and buy food items at the commissary that will undoubtedly make their time a bit more bearable.
Many people in society often criticize women for sticking by their men while in prison; but what they fail to realize is that love is tenacious It is not bound by physical circumstance or weakened by peer pressure . . . so they’re wasting their breath! What I find most tragic, however, is the judgement and shame families face when their son or daughter find themselves in this dreaded situation. Yet, love will not be intimidated or reduced to silence–no! Love rises to the occasion time and again. It has stood the test of time and conquered the most trying battles humans have faced throughout mankind’s existence.
I understand that remaining loyal to your incarcerated loved ones through this most difficult time is no easy feat. I’d imagine many of you feel mentally, emotionally, and physically exhausted at times as you have spent sleepless nights worrying about your loved ones in such a hostile dwelling or simply missing them more than you thought was humanly possible during birthdays and other important holidays. But what I want to encourage you to do in these moments of vulnerability is to take a minute to acknowledge the power of love . . . the same love that has carried you thus far; the same love that keeps your incarcerated loved one strong and optimistic day in and day out. Understand you are human and will have overwhelming moments of pain and weakness that will inevitably soak your pillow . . . and that’s perfectly okay. In fact, it’s therapeutic! That’s another thing that love does–it makes you feel.
Although this Valentine’s Day may not be spent ideally with your loved one, please take solace in knowing what you’re exhibiting on a daily basis is EXACTLY what this holiday is all about–love. We on the inside could not be as optimistic, grounded, resilient, and determined to overcome our circumstance if it were not for your unwavering love and support. Thank you to all of who make tremendous sacrifices on a routine basis to show their love and make their incarcerated loved one’s time in prison much more manageable. You are all angels, and this is without question YOUR day! We acknowledge you, celebrate you, and love you! Happy Valentine’s Day.
Martin Lockett is serving a 17 1/2 year sentence for a tragic car accident. Martin has substantially turned his life around by completing his Bachelor’s Degree in Sociology, published his first book and is currently working on his Masters in Psychology. Martin plans to counsel at risk youth when he is released. He hopes his insight, thoughts and experiences from prison will help those who have a loved one incarcerated or someone facing prison time. To read more about Martin, CLICK HERE
PLEASE LEAVE FEEDBACK/COMMENTS for Martin: If you enjoyed this blog, please take a few moments to share your comments. All comments will be passed along to him. Remember, a few words of encouragement for someone in prison can go a long way, make their day and make a difference. Thanks a bunch!! 🙂 IMT