Uniquely Unlocked

 

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I had such a sheltered and spoiled background. I breezed through my childhood so fast that it’s hard to remember it. I wanted so badly to grow up and be an adult, a wife, and a mother.

I had a pretty awesome upbringing with loving parents, a big wholesome family, a kind religious community, and I was even a Girl Scout. But is it possible that sometimes things can be too perfect that you miss out on living and experiencing?

I have Stone City Blog on my mind right now. It is a collection of blogs written by men in prison, which I manage. Honestly, I’ve struggled with putting in all those hours helping men who couldn’t give me much in return.

I help men in prison share their voice with the world. At first, I choked on my own voice when telling people this. It wasn’t something I wanted to brag about. I mean, it’s not exactly the same as a volunteer program for hungry children in Africa. These men have their meals, clothes, and shelter provided. I seriously found myself wondering if I was helping the wrong crowd.

 

“You can’t pour from an empty cup. Take care of yourself first.”

 

At one point, I read this quote online and I immediately began to feel that I was giving all my time and energy to these men while neglecting my own needs. Some quotes out there seem positive and inspiring, but its all about how you apply them to your life…and not just applying them to your Facebook wall.

That quote above sounded selfish to me as I read it. I needed some serious perspective and balance in my life.

Deep inside I had a strong feeling to quit everything and focus on me and my marriage. But I forced myself to keep managing this blog. I didn’t fully understand why, but I kept at it…sometimes having bursts of energy, and other times rolling my eyes.

When I was younger I helped others while doing group service projects through my church. Mainly just because everyone else did it, and because there would probably be snacks afterwards. I know, pretty ridiculous.

I was kinda clueless back then. But the good news is that I am looking back at those life lessons. I have learned that service towards others does not include receiving material rewards. It’s honestly about human beings helping human beings, no matter their circumstance.

After I changed my outlook on the situation, I started delighting in the inspiring snacks I received within. I did not realize how much humbling I needed in certain areas of my life. Nor did I ever think I’d discover it the way I have.

Two very different worlds, yet with the same life lessons to experience.

Prison is most often depicted in a dark & gloomy way, and rightfully so. Part of the idea of Stone City Blog is to show a glimpse of how it is on the inside. They are human beings with friends and family, too.

This platform has not only helped these men, it has also unlocked a love inside of me towards serving others. I feel like I am being taught how to be a stronger woman, a better wife, and also learning valuable lessons to help me be a loving mother one day.

Stone City Blog is helping to fill my cup in a unique way. It brings me added perspective, understanding, and knowledge of what it’s like to be on the other side of those bars…a place where it just so happens, my sweet husband is.

Prison is a part of my life now. Instead of fighting that fact, I’ve come to accept it. And I feel so much more peace inside.

 

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Suzie Jennings

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8 thoughts on “Uniquely Unlocked

  1. srogers6682 says:

    I really appreciate your perspective. I am wondering if you are aware of the impact that this blog has had on others. That is probably not something you can measure easily. I have been telling a lot of people about the Stone City Blog and how writing can be something useful and meaningful to those who are incarcerated. Helping people who are incarcerated have a voice AND helping them to find some rehabilitation so they have more positive choices when they are released is a pretty incredible job. Thank you for the work you do, and for your support. I hope you keep your cup full in other ways as well. “Balance” I keep telling myself, balance…

    Sandra Rogers

    Liked by 1 person

    • Suzie M. Jennings says:

      Thank you for your kind comment and for telling people about Stone City Blog. When I first started Stone City Blog, I honestly was not doing it for all those other men…I was doing it for Steven. In the beginning I had no idea of the impact this would bring to incarcerated men…and on the flip side, the impact it would have on professional therapists in this line of study. With time, managing Stone City Blog has brought purpose to my life. It was gradual for me, but very worthwhile once I understood my role. Every now and then I get a “thank you” from one of the bloggers and it touches my heart. Managing Stone City Blog has taught me a great deal about commitment and service. Unlocking this realm of blogging for them, has in turn unlocked meaning in my life. Hope you have a wonderful weekend, Sandra!

      Like

  2. SonniQ says:

    Reblogged this on My Name is Jamie. My Life in Prison and commented:
    I have been following Steven and Suzie for a year. When I feel down about the system it’s good to read about the lives of people who are happy even though he is inside. But most important they understand how important it is to try and help other inmates who have a story to tell and need a voice to say it with. One of the hardest things an inmate needs to overcome is the perception many people have about inmates. They don’t see them as human beings – they deserve whatever punishment the guards give them. They don’t deserve compassion even though many of them aren’t guilty our were given sentences that far exceed what it should be because prisons are a ‘for profit ‘ industry and many businesses depend on slave labor to make the products you buy and have no clue were made by inmates. More and more inmates are getting their stories told. More books are being. The truth of what is happening inside is being told. Steven has published a book that sits on my shelf. You will find it on his blog. Buy it. It’s well worth reading.

    This is why I’m writing Jamie’s story and why I have started a newsletter. I just put out the first issue. You can sign up by leaving your email address at mynameisjamie2@gmail.com. In that issue is a link to an internet radio show that was first assured on April 4th.

    Please follow this to the original blog post and leave any likes on Suzie’s page. Have a great day! Sonni

    Liked by 1 person

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