What up doe? I am bringing you these raw “THOUGHTS” from “BEYOND THE WALL” at Thumb Correctional Facility in Lapeer, Michigan. I’ve done over 22 calendar years on this prison-bit, and I can tell you that these wall closed in on me time and time again. Closing in so tight I couldn’t breathe- George Floyd. Making me feel I’d be better off dead than to not try and stop the pain and get away- Rayshard Brooks.
My mom died 12 years after I entered these gates of hell. During that time, she lived in approximately 17 different places, mostly homeless shelters. We believed that God would bring us back together in this life time but it didn’t happen. My pain isn’t that mom died, but that she never truly lived. I’d left my mom all alone to fend for herself in a cruel world. Not only did I have to deal with the pain of regret but also the pains of prison.
Everyone behind these walls have their own unique horror story to tell. We are all under extreme pressure from the sky-high walls of pain, shame, and despair. No one leaves here without battle scars of war; either on their bodies, their mind, or both. Often times, it feels like family, friends, and society have written us off for dead. Behind these walls, we are constantly devalued, dehumanized, and made to feel less than.
Some days, the oppression would get so thick that negative thoughts karate chopped my mind like Bruce Lee on meth. No matter how hard I tried to better my condition, I couldn’t stop the walls from drowning out success. However, after years of coming up short and self-destructing, I made up my mind to want better. A light bulb went off and I realized that no matter what anyone did or didn’t do for me, I had the power to think “THOUGHTS BEYOND THE WALL”.
Notice that thoughts BEYOND the wall is completely different than thoughts BEHIND the wall. When we only think thoughts that focus on our pain, shame, and despair, we remain in the same condition. But when we use our power to think thoughts BEYOND the wall, we see ourselves in a new light as God intended. That remains true for both those in prison or society. So ask yourself, are you thinking thoughts beyond or behind the wall?
RANDAL LEFEVRE is the curriculum co-creator of HELPING THOSE LEFT BEHIND, and he is currently working toward a social worker degree with MOTT COMMUNITY COLLEGE. Despite having been incarcerated over 30 years in 2 states, he is dedicated to making a difference in this world.
RANDAL LEFEVRE can be reached electronically @jpay.com or via snail mail @Randal LeFevre #289197; Thumb Corr Fac; 3225 John Conley Dr; Lapeer, MI 48846, and be sure to include sender address on the actual letter and the envelope.