Progressive Prison Project
Innocent Spouse & Children Project
One Mississippi, Two Mississippi
By Lori Dooley - Guest Blogger
Hi Jeff and Lynn:
Recently, I had the opportunity to see Les Misérables at a local theater in our community. There are several plots in it, but it is a story of ex-convict, Jean Valjean, who is prisoner number 24601. Although he was not convicted of a white collar crime, he still committed a crime. The story is about redemption and grace. God gives us grace and the ability to redeem ourselves and in that, we should be forgiving to anyone who chooses to redeem themselves. Through my own story, I have learned to be less judgmental of others and realize that we all are sinners and make mistakes. God does not see sin as big or small.
As my family’s story unraveled in 2008, I felt so much shame and walked in silence. I closed the curtains as if to forget the world existed. I cried in the darkness so no one would hear. I kept my head down when I went outside, so hopefully no one would recognize me.
What we seem to forget is that these who are serving their time, just like Evan, for a white-collar crime, are not just a prisoner number. The number overshadows that of a spouse, parent, sibling, friend, mentor, and so much more that their lives have been all about. We seem to forget that because a person falls short of grace for a moment, does not mean they deserve a life sentence. Who are we to say they should not be able to redeem themselves? Should they too be able to live a life of redemption and peace when they are released; especially if they have asked for God’s forgiveness.
Also, I wanted to share a recent disturbing event that my daughter recently encountered. The friend that I went to see in the Les Misérables’ production in the local community theatre also encouraged my daughter to try out for an upcoming production. Since she has been through so much emotion with her father going to prison, I thought this would be a great avenue to get involved in something that she could put a lot of energy into. She is also is not afraid to get up in front of an audience, which is a quality she gets from her father. I found out that the producer and director who is overseeing the production is from New York. My daughter did great at auditions from what I am told. We expected a call back for sure until today. I am still hopeful that the right decision will be made on my daughter’s behalf and not let the unfortunate circumstances affect her for that which she has no control over. There are still those who want to keep what happened to our family alive and our family shame was made public once again to the director and to that of the local community theater. After hearing the news, I felt the need to reach out to the director. In my email, I confirmed the events. I also informed the director about your ministry and forwarded the website address. My hope was to reach out to this director so that she would know what families and children go through and share this wonderful and amazing ministry with her. I hope that she takes the time to look at it. I also wanted her to know that even though I knew she had to do what was best for the production, that my daughter and I would continue our journey with are heads held high.
These days, I choose to live a life without shame. I am not going to be afraid to be who I am, and that is Lori Dooley. There will always be those who make the journey less inviting along the way and choose to be judgmental. There is a quote right now on the community theatre website for the show Les Misérables and it says: “To love another person, is to see the face of God.” I choose to see the face of God in everything I do regardless of my family’s unfortunate circumstances; even if one chooses to judge us, I choose to love!
I wanted you both to know that I am more excited now about sharing my story than ever before. I want to help others in their journey and be an advocate for other families through the process.
We've been speaking with Lori since November 2013 when she responded to one of our blog posts. In her first email to us, she wrote:
We believe that Lori has indeed found her purpose.
Progressive Prison Project/
Innocent Spouse & Children Project
at Christ Church Greenwich 254 East Putnam Avenue
Greenwich, Conecticut 06830
Mailing Address: P.O. Box 1232, Weston, Connecticut 06883
Central Ministry & Office: Weston, Connecticut
Rev. Jeff Grant, JD, M Div, Minister/Director
Lynn Springer, Advocate, Innocent Spouses & Children
George Bresnan, Advocate
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