Overflowing Containment…

Please check out this brief three minute news story and meet me back here…

A dear friend recently sent this clip to me. It’s heartbreaking to watch at first as it depicts the dire challenges many exonerees face after being released from prison. It’s a story about an innocent man’s release from prison after serving 25 years for a crime he did not commit. Jonathan Fleming survived the rigors of prison life and of having been exonerated. But these things are now overshadowed by worries of how to survive on the outside in a much different world. If you’ve ever heard the term “three hot’s and a cot” in reference to the basic needs met while in prison, unfortunately those necessities topped the list of essentials that Fleming lacked. Instilled in him was anxiety about what his future would look like.

Then the story takes a turn and describes the selfless determination of another man, Jeffrey Deskovic. Deskovic walked in similar shoes but manages just fine because of money he won in a lawsuit. Due to his firsthand experience, he formed a foundation called, The Jeffrey Deskovic Foundation for Justice, to help those like himself and Fleming in desperate need of a new start. This foundation was borne out of a need to feel a sense of pride through accomplishment. And it would be a blessing to Fleming.

But I wanted to point out another aspect of this story that’s not so obvious. Something else caught my attention as I watched this clip a second time. I noticed a subtle but definite reaction in the body language of the law enforcement officer in the background who was watching this event unfold. There was an unmistakable acknowledgment of the pain and overflowing joy Fleming exhibited a few feet in front of him. I was struck by the raw realism displayed by this officer as he did his darndest to contain his own emotions. These were two people, on opposite sides of the legal spectrum silently and unknowingly connecting. It’s a powerful image rarely seen.

In my life’s journey I’ve seen outward displays of kindness but seldom in this context. This is indeed encouraging even though I know we have a long way to go before a widespread understanding and acceptance between law enforcement and the wrongfully convicted occurs. Nonetheless, it appears we are getting there…

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