“What lies behind us and what lies before us are tiny matters compared to what lies within us.”
—- William Morrow
This quote made me think of someone I’ve been working with. She’s going to be released next week, and we met for the last time today.
As we talked in a small visitor’s room, I could see two other women being processed into the jail. The deputies told them to put their money, their bras and other belongings in plastic bags. One girl stood nervous and mute in a faded sweater and jeans. Another, a redhead, sat in a corner chair doing her best to seem in control. She bantered with the deputy to the point where she almost got in trouble, wished another lady a cheerful good luck as she was sent to her cell, and generally carried on like she was at a party.
It made me realize how far the young woman sitting across from me had come. She’s spent nearly two years in detention here at an age when many people are still trying to figure out what they’re going to do with their lives. She’s been shamed, treated well, treated badly, endured discomfort and disappointments and even some happy moments, but most importantly when you talk to her you can tell she’s learned — a lot about the world and herself. I’ve seen it in the way she’s reacted to setbacks and how focused she’s become about her future — and how realistic. She knows she faces challenges. She knows she has a lot of work to do and tough times ahead. But she also has a plan. Multiple plans, in case one doesn’t work out. She’s done the research, asked the questions. She has family and friends to support and inspire her (and realizes how fortunate that makes her). She also has a list of agencies and people she’s met along the way who are willing to help and she plans to take advantage of it.
But most importantly, she seems to have the inner resources and the attitude to move forward with her life now.
I wish her — and everyone in her position — the best of luck. Change never happens overnight, but it is possible. And it’s wonderful to see the transformation.