Suffering from severe depression, experiencing extreme paranoia, and during a dissociative episode I committed some crimes. Although I don’t remember much of what I did, I took and take full responsibility for my actions. I accepted a plea deal that resulted in a 360-day sentence served in the Hopkins County Jail in Kentucky. These letters are a record of my journey and recovery both mentally and spiritually. They are offered to you as written with only minor editing. It is my prayer that through my experience you may find hope and help.
Began July 1, 2013
It’s 3:30 AM. I’ve been up reading for an hour.
The guys call me, “Shook,” “Chuck,” and “Shuck.” As I mentioned in a previous letter, they’ve nicknamed me, “Shotgun.” Oh joy!
One of the guards said to me, “Maybe God has put you here for a reason.” I didn’t reply. God didn’t put me here. That was my own stupid self. But, like Joseph, I trust God can use me in here.
I heard on of the guys talking about me. He said something about getting close to me because, “that guy knows how to pray.” I have my devotions from 6:00 – 7:00 AM before breakfast. There is no closet for me to go into so I just hide my face in my hands. Yesterday I sniffled a couple of time and one of the guys put a roll of TP in front of me. It was a moment of tenderness and recognition that is few and far between in a place like this.
A rule of thumb on cars is, don’t spend more on repairs than the car is worth. Dave Ramsey says if you buy a new car plan on it lasting 10 years. If you buy a used car – four years. Therefore, my conclusion not his, look for a six – 10-year-old vehicle with less than 100,000 miles on it. If you travel 15,000 miles a year it should give dependable service for six to seven years. Of course, with a 1993 Honda you appear to push the envelope a little more than others. Another way to look at it is to ask yourself if you are spending more per month than a car payment. If so, it’s time to get another car.
Used cars are high right now. Plan on the sticker price being $1,000 – $1,500 above Kelly’s Blue Book. Dealers want to make $2,000 profit on used cars. Start negotiations well below the blue book value. That gives you room to come up. The best price on used cars is from an individual, then a used car lot, and then a new car dealer. New car dealers keep the best used cars to put on their lot and send the rest to auctions. Use Carfax.
I don’t like some of the cartoons and youth programing that are out these days, either. I wouldn’t let my grandchildren watch anything that undermined parenting, used lots of magic, or left no room for God by having an alternate view of the universe. Generally, I was the only conscience in our home, but I wasn’t flawless.
I was the co-leader of a mental health team that focused on disaster relief. We generally came in after the first responders were gone. I learned a lot about grief and grief recovery. The importance of days, seasons, triggers, and other reminders. For you that could be any number of things, but once you identify them you can be more prepared to cope with the fluctuation and occurrence of moods. Perhaps if you keep a grief journal or notebook you might be able to identify patterns.
Thank you for your comfort regarding my family. It hurts. Nothing for Father’s Day. I don’t expect anything for my birthday. It’s as if I died and someone forgot to tell me. After my brother committed his crime he was still my brother. With all A_____ has done, he/she’s still my child.
I have no ill will toward C_____. If she were in need I would try to find a way to help. She will always be my children’s mother. Grudges hurt the person holding them far more than the object of the grudge.
I’ve wondered how you felt about your church. It has been my observation that a person does not become wholly attached to a church until the church has successfully helped that person through a crisis. People come to a church when they feel their “felt” needs are being met. They stay when a “real” need is met.
I have found in my own life that I love peace so much that I had to sacrifice myself and my values to maintain it. That was wrong. I believe in mutual submission. The one who is stronger in a particular area takes the lead in that instance regardless of gender. Neither do I believe that a decision ought to be made in matters of importance without consensus. I wanted and tried to make sure Jesus was the head of my home.
While I pastored my family and I went to church together. But if I wasn’t pastoring we often went in different directions. I filled pulpits a lot and sometimes supply pastored without my family going with me.
I’ve been thinking about my role in the pulpit in the future. I may fill pulpits or supply as a layman. I plan to put out feelers. Skipping the credentialing process will eliminate one more complication for me, I think. What do you think?
I’ve never tried to download anything on my phone except updates. I’m fearful and not all that tech savvy. My daughter has shown me features on my phone I never knew I had months after getting my phone. There was a feature that put Facebook friends’ numbers on your phone. I must have hit, “yes.” There were hundreds of numbers on my phone that I never called. Then I couldn’t figure out how to turn it off and clear out my phone. Oh bother!
I am thankful that, as friends, we can share our souls without fear of offending or running off the other.
About the notes on the back of your last letter. That is not being scatter-brained. That’s just sharing with someone else a mystery. “What in the world are these numbers about?” And, “Who is Paul, Terry, and Bill?”
I’m mailing this letter early because of the holidays.
The LORD be with you.