After nearly 32 years of incarceration, the Maryland Parole Board unanimously recommended that Governor Larry Hogan parole me. With the recommendation, the governor had three options: grant, deny, or be inactive. Once the governor favored the later, after 180 days of inactivity, the decision of the parole board became definite.
On December 20, 2021, I was formally notified by the parole board that my parole was official in accordance with Correctional Services Article 7-301. I was ecstatic to say the least.
Scripture has taught me to rejoice in hope, preserver in affliction, and be in constant prayer. These virtues provided me the mental capacity to endure overwhelming odds.
I shut my eyes, then lowered my head momentarily, and thanked Jesus with every fiber in my body. It felt like a thousand-pound weight was lifted off my shoulders.
Since then, I’ve reflected on the impact the past three decades has had on my life. Considering all that I have experienced – both positive and negative, one poignant question comes to mind: What lessons have I learned?
The first lesson that I learned: One should establish a spiritual foundation. The initial phase of any construction is the creation of a solid base on which the building rests. The same can be said of our lives. To achieve a balanced existence, a foundation consisting of moral uprightness, decency, and self-respect is a prerequisite.
My past foundation was influenced by a culture that shamelessly embraces promiscuity, over indulgence, and winning at all cost. So, I decided to place my faith in the teachings of Jesus Christ. Scripture has taught me to rejoice in hope, preserver in affliction, and be in constant prayer. These virtues provided me the mental capacity to endure overwhelming odds.
The second lesson: Nurturing relationships are important. Family is what I longed for the most while in prison. I dreaded the holidays. They were the worst days. On holidays bitterness and resentment seized my soul as I laid in my cell, my mind plagued with memories of all the fun I once enjoyed with my family and friends.
Decades behind concrete walls and barb-wired fences deprived me of everything loving relationships pour into others. I eagerly utilized every method afforded me to remain connected to my siblings, parents, and friends such as phone calls, greeting cards, letters, and visits.