There's a theme of forgiveness running through my current projects. My play, crafted from the words of former prisoners and performed by them, asks the audience to face their feelings on who deserves a second chance. Are you more worthy than they? And my book shows that an act of forgiveness can turn one life around even after another has been lost.
Forgiveness does not come cheaply in either case. The men have been given another shot at life, and though many have made restitution with their victims and tried to become productive members of society, they find their options limited. Some may say they deserve no more, but what is a sentence that can never be completed? (An alternate subtitle for the play had been "Serving a Life Sentence After Prison.")
And though Kevin forgave the driver who killed his wife, the two men would not become friends, and Marilyn could not be brought back.
There are times when I ask myself if I should be siding with the former criminals. But this world will always be filled with people inclined to do wrong, or the genes to become an addict, or stumbling into a mistake that will follow them the rest of their lives. It is then I decide there is no better person to help than a reformed child molester.
My play features two men who have stabbed and killed. One CSC; a property offender; and another I've never asked. We worked hard at our rehearsal today. We laughed. We poked fun. They practiced a script full of hope, but one that ends sharply in despair. I wrote this because I felt I must, to properly reflect reality. And yet it sickened me to rehearse it.
Second chances is an idealistic phrase; the reality is more complex.
In Grand Rapids? Visit Church of the Servant next Sunday at 6pm for the premiere of "How Long, Lord? A Post-Prison Lament."
My book is finished. Join the mailing list for updates by contacting me at amyATgregscheerDOTcom.
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