Day 264 Letters

Today is Tuesday. Today, Matt called to say he received mail from the UK and Germany. He gets pumped to hear from people all over the world.
Matt said he has written 45 letters and cards to send out to those who have written him. I have to admit I am impressed.
It is so critical for continual communication. The world becomes a bit smaller and more intimate.
We touch people across the planet and discover how much we have in common.
The DeHarts are not exceptionalists. We do not believe that Americans are the best above all others.
We believe everyone has a right to this planet and every life is important regardless of where one lives.
I want to give a shout out to those who write the imprisoned. It is a very very good thing that you do.

Peace dear friends..you are important and much loved..😉💝

Day 263 Rain

Today is Monday. Today it rained nearly all day and it is still raining.

It’s Raining…..

It rains on the just and the unjust whenever it rains, indiscriminately it rains

It rains on the window, behind velvet drapes, little princess sleeping in a Cinderella bed

It rains on the child silent under Aleppo rubble as two ragged parents cry out in pain

It rains on the old man lying under cardboard in London’s alleyways unwashed, unfed

It rains on the silver jet of the CEO who flies 5OO miles for a dinner, upscale soiree

It rains on her shiny black skin as she carries a pot of water on her head walking the dusty road

It rains on the red man as he fights another day to keep his existence safe and live free

It rains on the politician greed in his pockets, lies on his lips, soul has already been sold

It rains on the barred windows of a tiny cell, despair is a tsunami that swallows her entirely

It rains on the rich, it rains on the poor, it rains on the merciful, it rains on the cruel

It rains on the lovers, it rains on haters, it rains on the humble, it rains on the proud

It rains on the peacemakers, it rains on the warmongers, it rains on you and it rains on me

It rains.

Please send up thoughts and prayers for a friend of mine who is in that tsunami of despair.  She could use them.

peace my friends….

 

Day 262 Friend

Today is Sunday. Today, Matt called. He seemed upbeat and he talked about being encouraged by a friend he has made there.
When Matt was transferred to maximum security in Lindsay Canada, he was in a section with mostly immigration detainees.
He was surprised to find out that the guys knew all about him. They had heard from an inmate who had eventually been released and had spent some time with Matt that my son was someone to be respected and trusted. They were told that Matt was the “real deal” in terms of being a Christian. They said Matt had a heart for people like Jesus.
Matt met a young man a couple of years younger, who watched out for him. This young man served the food and was the last to get locked into his cell. Whenever there were lockdowns for extended periods of time, this young man would call me to let me know my son was okay.
Matt and his friend spent hours praying together, encouraging the other guys, and playing monopoly.
When Matt was deported, this young man would call me and cry. I sent him funds, wrote him regularly, and I even went to visit him because his mother lived in Alberta; too far to visit.
I had the wonderful privilege of seeing him when he was released. We hugged for a long long time. Paul and I gave him money to help him in the halfway house. He is like another son of mine.
He was my son’s best friend in prison. His name is Harun. He is a handsome Ethiopian with rich dark skin, beautiful long dreds and he is a Muslim.
I love him and I miss him.

Jesus said, “You shall know them by their love.” If you are preaching racism, hatred toward a culture or religious group..then you are following someone but it’s not Jesus.

Peace my friends…

Day 261 Tears

Today is Saturday. Today, I received a message from a friend, who I believe, thought he had offended me. Oh good grief, I was thinking. I don’t get offended that easily. Unless you torture my son or throw him under the bus, I am very forgiving. That is not to say that I don’t grieve and become angry at cruel and callous people who look at others as less than humans so they can justify their hatred and monstrous treatment of those they despise.

My dad, who passed away while Matt was in pretrial detention, was part Cherokee. This is just a fact of his heritage. I remember as a kid going to the Pow Wows in Utah with my grandmother and him. I was always amazed at the singing and the colourful headdresses and beads. I found the dancing and singing exciting. I remember reading about the different tribes and their leaders. I wanted to learn as much as I could.

I understand that there are wicked people in every culture; but, as I was growing up and Westerns were the rage, I could never understand why Native people were portrayed as savage and inhumane. While shows were casting various tribes as blood thirsty murderers, history was telling me that it was the white man who introduced scalping and the US Army soldiers, who tortured, murdered and enslaved Indian men, women and children. Not much has changed today. People eventually react to how they are being treated.

Today, I read a headline of a 62 year old white man who shot a 15 year old black boy. The older man said, “Good riddance. He was just a piece of trash.”

Matt has been in prison with white supremacists. They don’t believe that black people are human. My son says it is the most profoundly disturbing and intolerable attitude that he has ever had to deal with. He likens it to having to plunge one’s face in feces when he listens to the hatred.

A poem: Tears

Today, you picked yourself up again and tried to hold your head high in a white man’s world
Essentially, you did not ask for your skin colour, your gender, your culture
Automatically, you were relegated to the lesser, to the disposable, to the despised
Resistance becomes your way of life as you suffer, you weep, you try to survive
Something powerful and noble emerges from your struggle and some of us are awed.

Peace my friends…my heart is grieved for the young boy who died, my heart is so very heavy for the peaceful human beings at Standing Rock who are being warred upon.

Day 260 After turkey…

Today is Friday. Today, is Black Friday. Today, I stayed home. I have never participated in the rabid spendathon known as Black Friday. I have to admit that makes me quite proud.
Please don’t take offense if you do your Christmas shopping on that day.  Me, I don’t look at Christmas that way and it’s been years since I bought Christmas presents. Instead of spending money on needless “stuff,” I would advocate sharing time with an older person, or babysitting for a young family whose exhausted parents need some alone time, or volunteer at a soup kitchen. Give the gift of time. Share yourself.  I am not against buying gifts; I am against buying stuff for the sake of buying stuff because a holiday or certain time of year dictates that.
I remember having a conversation with a forty something year old mom who lives in on very low wages. She was upset that she could not buy bunches of “stuff” for her teenage children. I asked her why she felt the need to buy things to fill the space around the tree?  If you can’t afford it, then there are you don’t buy it.  What about making that special meal and doing something together as a family?
We’ve been brainwashed in this country to buy buy buy. Most of the stuff we buy, we really don’t need. Much of it is poorly made and ends up polluting our planet.
Matt started reading Adbusters when he was in 8th grade. I learned much from that magazine about corporate pressure to consume. I like the idea of recycling and limiting our compulsive need to buy. This kind of talk is dangerous because corporations are only interested in profit and money is the god of this age.

Imagine if we took the funds we were going spend on Christmas and gave them to a charity or a cause. We could avoid the traffic, the crowded stores, the anxiety of blowing the budget, the “wrong” gift, the surplus of stuff. What if we took that money and bought groceries for a struggling family? What if we used those funds to send a homeless person to a spa? What if we donated to local animal shelter or sponsored a child in a third world country or helped a young person with his/her college tuition?

Is this not what Christmas is all about? Sharing, loving, encouraging, lifting up?

We will buy stuff all through the year because we are consumers. Why not this time of year when it’s expected that we step out and do something incredible, something meaningful instead of buying stuff?

Peace my friends….:)

Day 259 Thank you….

Today is Thursday. Today is Thanksgiving in the US. Today, there are many people sitting down to eat the traditional turkey with family and friends. But, there are as equally as many people who have no place to go, or no family to visit, or no food to eat except by way of the kindness of strangers.

Today, there will be more than several millions of people in jails and prisons across this country who will only get a decent meal if the facility decides to provide it; but, importantly, they will not be with the ones they love. I feel their pain most deeply.

Today, instead of “wishing everyone a happy thanksgiving,” I just want to thank people.

Thank you……………

All of you who read my blog and encourage me to keep writing…you and your comments are jewels

My Canadian Christian friends for taking us in, feeding us, housing us and loving us
Curry’s Art for giving me a job and standing behind my family and all my friends there
Dennis and Shelly for securing our wonderful Canadian lawyers (Lily and Larry) and taking us in when we had to return to the US

Adrian for the brilliant National Post 5 part piece that broke the silence of our case
Bethany and Holger and David for writing Matt’s story
T0p and crew from AnonUKRadio for your continued support and for giving us the opportunity to speak

FreeAnons who have loved us and continue to support us through all of this (love you Sue)
Pamela for all the postcards of love you send to Matt and the encouragement you give me
Nancy for being Matt’s lawyer and my friend. You have given me back faith in lawyers

Ray, my dear Pirate friend who inspires me and watches out for us
Stanley, lawyer, activist and my good friend who lends me his ear, his heart and his expertise
DJ Anonytrace who inspires me to be better than I am and cares so much for my family

Julian, Wikileaks and Courage Foundation…you supported us when no one really would
CanadianGlen for allowing me to speak on your fine radio show
BlackTower Radio for Jake and his great shows
Doug for being a good journalist and friend

AnonymousVideo for your stellar art work and your constant retweeting of my son’s story
All Anons who give such wonderful support…much much love
Matt’s followers who write, send books, dm encouraging words to me and share their love

The little group of Christians in my town who love my family and can’t wait to meet Matt.
Don, Matt’s uncle, who has written him a 10 page letter every single week for over 2 years
All the incarcerated I write for putting up with my “art cards” and allowing me into your life, I truly love you and pray for all of you

Ronda for standing beside me when many of my so called friends ditched me and your unshakeable belief in my son

Jesus, for Your being there, for watching over us, for knocking our socks off when we thought there was no way out of the darkness, You made a way, You shone a light, You keep us going

This is not an exhaustive list. There are so many more and you know who you are. I wish you peace, love and courage. Today, I especially want to say “Thank you.”

Day 258 Listen….

Today is Wednesday. Today, I spent the day listening.

You know, many of us don’t listen anymore. It’s so vital to making informed choices, to keeping relationships healthy, to understanding other people and other points of view. Listening is active. Listening requires that I shut my mouth while you are speaking. Listening is not me formulating an answer in my head before you’ve had the chance to even ask the question. Listening is not me talking over you when i don’t agree with the point you are making and I fail to hear you out. Listening is not me tapping my fingers on the table because I want you to hurry with what you are saying so I can get my chance to vocalize my ideas.
Listening, in my opinion, means that I am looking in your eyes, observing your body language, asking you to clarify if I have missed something either audibly or I have misunderstood.

Today, I read an article that shared what most homeless people want. Obviously, they need the food, the clothing, the money; but, they also want to be listened to. They want to be noticed. They want others to invest some time with them because they are not invisible. They are not sidewalk ornaments, they are people who crave human contact, They have names, they have feelings, they have dreams, they have a story.

Listening seems to validate you as a person to me. Listening says that I feel what you have to say is important. Listening brings me closer to understanding the real you which helps me understand the real me.

As much as social media has been a terrific vehicle for keeping people connected, there is no substitute for physically sharing space. I grab a coffee, you grab whatever you drink and we converse; one talks while the other listens.

I want to be a good listener and I think for the most part I am. Matt is a good listener. He asks questions and he gives others the time to respond. He says it’s amazing how so many people, especially in prison, enjoy being around him. He believes it’s because he stops and listens. He has the keen ability to make people feel important and he is respectful to everyone.

It takes work to listen, because face it, some people are difficult to listen to…:)
Hubris says I don’t have to listen because I already know the answer. Humility says that I still have something to learn, so listen carefully.

Listen. You might just discover something or someone.

Peace dear friends….

Day 257 Suffering made beautiful

Today is Tuesday. Today, I worked on a project for Barrett to send to him once he is released from prison. I’m quite excited about it. I shared with Matt and he was glad that I am creating something for this young journalist who has had to suffer.

Speaking of suffering. It has been my privilege to meet and befriend some very incredible people. People with great hearts, profound depth of spirit, amazing courage, and beautiful humility.

Have you ever heard of the Japanese Art of Kintsugi? When most people would like damages to their broken items to be concealed and hidden by repair making the object look like new, the Japanese art of Kintsugi follows a different philosophy. Rather than disguising the breakage, Kintsugi restores the broken item incorporating the damage into the aesthetic of the restored item, making it part of the object’s history. Kintsugi uses lacquer resin mixed with powdered gold, silver, platinum, copper or bronze, resulting into something more beautiful than the original.

When I saw this, I immediately thought of people, specifically broken people. There is something about the soul of a person who has suffered much in life. There is strength, resilience, and a sense of priority for the higher things in life. I have found that most of the people I have met that have made it through “the fire” are some of the most compassionate people in this world.

I know I talk a great deal about my son, Matt. I mean, after all, this blog is devoted to him. But, Matt has suffered a great deal in his short life as many have. He is such a wiser, more compassionate, merciful and generous person with an easy laugh. He listens and he does not judge people. He tries to connect with everyone where they are at.

When I think of a piece of broken pottery being refashioned with gold, I see my son’s life becoming even more brilliant than it was before.

(To my dear Pirate across the waters, you are like that, too. A beautiful piece of pottery filled with gold…:)

Peace dear friends. We can help people pick of the pieces of their lives and fill them with love.

Day 256 Being a candle in the darkness

Today is Monday. Today, I got my call from Matt. He was sharing some of his thoughts on the music he listens to. He has an mp3 player and he has already accumulated quite a cache of songs. There is something healing about music to the soul, to the mind. He knows that and listens to encouraging songs before he goes to sleep at night.
Today, I reflected on a conversation I had with young lesbian woman the night before. She reached out to me and in the process of doing so, she relayed her fears. Today, I spoke with a friend over a cup of coffee, who also shared her fears with me.
Fear. It is pulsating. I tried to encourage both and let them know that I will stand with them, to focus taking care of themselves and leaning on loving friends for support.
I see a great darkness coming. I see the weak, the poor, those who believe differently and those who look differently being targeted and persecuted even more. I believe many of us will be called to make decisions that will require risk, courage, and our own suffering.
Many now, who have made decisions that are costing them dearly, have stood and are standing up for others.
There is a true nobility and a purity of heart when one human being sacrifices his or her own well being for another, especially a total stranger. It is the best of human character.
I have always loved this quote by Adlai Stevenson: “It is better to light a candle than to curse the darkness.”
Darkness is indeed coming and instead of fearing and cursing it; we must be the candles to light the way for others. We must not give energy to the hatred, but overpower it with love. I’ve watched my son be a candle in very dark places among incredible suffering and I’ve had the privilege of knowing some of the lives he has touched, changed.

I truly wish you peace friends. Light your wick and shine some light;, share your heart.

Day 255 20 hours of visitation with our son

Today is Sunday. Tonight, Paul and I just got home about an hour ago after spending the weekend with Matt. We were all blessed by having time to talk, brainstorm, vent, and share our personal space with each other. What a great visit.

We talked about politics, about our fears for the future, about how we will do this together as a family. We discussed how the three of us can stay fit physically, mentally and spiritually through the incarceration and the impending 10 years as Matt is required to be labelled and put on a registry.

I had the opportunity to talk with some parents of other inmates who have to drive even farther than the 5 hours we have to drive. They can’t visit their loved ones as often as Paul and I do. We purposely give up much to do this, but it is truly worth it.

Matt has decided that he wants to work towards becoming a Human Right’s lawyer. He is a brilliant guy with a fantastic memory, a gift to connect, a talent for narration and a passion to help others. He knows what it is to have his rights ignored, to be tortured, and then to feel so helpless to fight for those rights and fight for justice against his torture.

I don’t know how we will help him achieve his goal; but we will endeavor, nonetheless. We will have to take it a step at a time.

Hope is a strong motivator. Hope is what keeps our hearts and minds focused. Hope says we must not give up. Hope says never despair.

I hope that you have a wonderful evening and peace dear friends…:)