As a child, I learned at a very early age, to project hatred with a passion, on everyone around me, and also as a means of survival and staying safe from pain and suffering. The end result of this distorted belief system, was that for the next 30 years, I kept myself in bondage to addictions and long-term incarcerations. Up until about 15 years ago, I found myself arrested and incarcerated.
However, in my journey this time I crossed paths with a different type of Correctional Officer. A 72-year-old retired Sheriff's Officer, who was employed part-time as a Correctional Officer. I was assigned to him as a barber. Little did I know that this little guy would become the pivotal force in my life. He became the first person to batter me with kindness, and called me all kinds of weird, strange, alien and bizarre names, such as: admirable, remarkable, and trusting person. Even, once during a potentially explosive confrontation between myself and other inmates, he electronically locked-down the "Unit" and left me inside! When I asked him why he had done this, he simply smiled and replied, "I knew you could handle that situation." My thought was, "Yeah right, as if I'm superman." But he had seen that I had the gift of "negotiating."
Now, this weirdo had faith and trust in me! I remember thinking, "What was wrong with this dude?!" However, those simple acts of empowerment, and allowing me to know and trust myself and understand that I was a valuable person, has had a profound effect on my life.
Today, on a daily basis, I surrender to living life on life's terms. And to the best of my ability, I smile and project love toward others. Today, I'm a licensed & registered addictions therapist/counselor. I co-facilitate meditation retreats in prisons, and I teach a graduate class at a local university. All because another human being had the courage to take a risk with me. I've had no treatment interventions, no burning bushes, or laying on of hands; just a simple loving individual that mirrored (projected) every single exquisite quality that he possessed on another human. My only regret, to this story is that, I have been unable to locate God's little Angel, (his nickname was "BRAT") and bow deeply to him and simply say, "NAMASTE, a thousand times, Mr. Bradburn."
Submitted by Anonymous
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