The Shadow Of Death

Psalm 23:4  Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil; For You are with me; Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me.”

Dearly Beloved:  May God’s grace, peace, love, joy and will to live be ever upon you.  As many of my loyal readers know, I am currently housed at the max prison here in Massachusetts.  Recently, former New England Patriot, Aaron Hernandez, took his own life.  I never met Aaron.  We were housed in different areas, but his reputation preceded him.  He was a larger than life character with a magnetic personality.  He was well known for his generosity and his faith in God.  He was referred to by those who knew him as “Double A”.  Even though I never met Aaron, his death had a profound affect on me.  Like Aaron, I am serving a life sentence.  Thoughts of ending my own life used to loom in my mind as well.  My love for my children and family kept me sane and helped me to realize how much pain it would cause them.  Most importantly, though, my faith in Jesus has led me to realize that I still have purpose.  God has plans for me.  Still, I can’t help but feel Aaron’s pain.  I can’t help but understand his decision.  I don’t know whether or not Aaron was guilty or innocent.  It is not my place to judge him nor is it right to believe the media hype.  Being a man serving a life sentence for crimes that I did not commit has both humbled me and opened my eyes.  I am no longer so quick to judge.  I know that even though there are threads of truth in the news, a lot of it is nothing more than sensationalized spin designed to boost ratings and commercial revenues through advertisements.  I find it both disgusting and distasteful that this facility and the media have attempted to suggest that Aaron was gay.  The D.O.C. is using disinformation to cover up the fact that they are partially responsible for Aaron’s death.

As I am writing this, the prison is on lock-down.  They are searching every inch of the prison for drugs and weapons – which is nothing more than an attempt to convince the public that they are doing their jobs.  The truth is, they are not.  There are not enough mental health services here.  I am a Christian and in the past year that I have been here, I have never been able to attend protestant church services due to lack of availability – something which I am sure Aaron dealt with as well.  Maybe Aaron would still be alive if he had a support system available to him in here.  Maybe instead of doing oppressive and humiliating searches, which are demeaning and degrading, they should try to provide us with more services.  I don’t believe that Aaron killed himself because he was secretly gay or was on drugs.  I believe that he was a very hurt man in need of help that is unavailable here.  The truth is that the tax payers are receiving very little in return for the huge inflated salaries that the administration here is bilking them for.  Because of his fame, Aaron’s death has cast a spotlight on them and they are desperately trying to do damage control.

Part of GOD’s plan for me is to provide a voice for those who are unwilling or unable to speak out.  The LORD put it on my heart to speak up about this and thus I am.  It is no accident that I am here witnessing these events unfold; nor is it a coincidence that this site exists here and now.  This is all part of GOD’s plan.

I am known for my faith here.  So, the subject of suicide and going to hell, automatically, has come up a few times.  I don’t know how GOD feels about suicide.  I would think that the commandment “Thou shalt not kill” may apply to ones self as well.  Ultimately, only GOD knows for sure.  It is clear that Aaron was in a lot of pain, mentally and spiritually.  It is my belief that we serve a merciful GOD who would take such into consideration. Aaron had his bible opened to John 3:16  “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.”  I would like to believe that he was sorry and truthfully repented.  I would like to believe that his soul was forgiven and accepted into the kingdom.  I would like to believe that he is at peace with the LORD.  People who engage in criminal behavior are often deeply hurting inside.  Hurt people, hurt people.  Healed people, help people.  LORD knows that I pray our society will learn that and improve correctional and penal institutions.  Once we grasp that concept, we can truly make a difference in criminal thinking and behavior.  Once we learn that all souls matter and that they can be redeemed, we can truly learn how to love each other.  Please pray for the hurting, including yourself; for we all harbor pain.  To the victims of violence everywhere, I am praying for you and wish you peace and understanding.  To the loved ones of Aaron Hernandez, I am so sorry for your loss and I wish GOD’s peace and mercy be upon you.  To the administration here and in all prisons: we need mental and spiritual healing and growth, not oppression and restraint.  We need love and acceptance, not hate and disenfranchisement.  We need mentors and advisers, not pepper spray and aggression.

May GOD show you the way.  I LOVE all of you very much and may GOD bless and keep you!  May you seek and find love and forgiveness!  May you not be devoured by the shadow of death!  AMEN!

Psalm 23
The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want.
He makes me to lie down in green pastures; He leads me beside the still waters.
He restores my soul; He leads me in the paths of righteousness For His name’s sake.
Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil;
For You are with me; Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me.
You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies; You anoint my head with oil;
My cup runs over.  Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me All the days of my life;
And I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.

Love in Christ,
Randall (a man whose faith in Jesus carries him)