one day I hope grace and love and mercy will prevail

grace can come in so many ways
on days such as these
much like love

in the reaching of a hand
as the words “I forgive” pour forth
freely and quickly

in the vehemence of a child
who doesn’t understand why killing
would ever be okay
and says that the folks in that big city
must be out of their minds
except for the ones who run that doll store
“because it really is lovely though”

in a cup of coffee and a muffin
gifted over the miles
to lift a spirit and share light
in the darkness

in the signs held by hands
that are weary
from the weight of worry
but still join together
in prayerful petitions and praises

in the messages sent by family
and friends
with encouragement
and permission to shed tears
and be angry
and then to move on…..
as on is the only place left to go
and make all of this mean
something

love and grace can be found
in all of these small moments
and so many more
and when I look back on this day,
I hope that I remember those
the most

that love and grace
joined together
and erased the lines between people
and we all held hands and
hoped that love would win
and grace would triumph
and mercy would be granted

love to all

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Complacent-see

Dear Kelly,

They say the way to a Mama’s heart is through her children.  Or maybe I’m the only one who says that.  Anyway, tonight I’m writing to you because you have made a powerful difference in my daughter’s life.

My oldest, now a junior in college, attended the vigil for your planned execution last March.  I’m not sure what either of us were expecting, but we left there changed people.  We arrived as people who believe in redemption not revenge, but when we left our stories had intertwined with yours.  As I stood under the bright lights out on that cold dark evening, I faced the prison where I had no idea what you were going through.  I had no idea what to pray, so I stood watching.  Waiting.  Letting my heart pour out everything it was feeling and watching.  Hoping that you could feel God with you.  And know that you are loved.  By God and so many of us whom you have never met.

While I stood there, focused, straining to catch a glimpse or an idea of what was going on in the building beyond the trees, my daughter sat in the camp chair we brought and she searched for information on her phone.  These smart phones are pretty amazing what they can do.  She dug and she was able to tell me what appeals were going on as we stood there.  And then…..

she kept clicking.

I asked her what she was doing.

“Looking up law schools.”

That night changed her, Kelly.  I saw an adult emerge that night.  She was decided as we left the prison grounds and she has not looked back.  She did what she had to and changed her majors to what law schools look for and what she is passionate about.  Psychology and–you should know–Religious Studies.  She is now an intern at a law firm and has been studying for the LSAT much of the summer.

She recently read that a disproportionate number of death penalty cases come from the county where she is in school and where a law school is also located.  That decided it.  She wants to study law there and then become a defense attorney there as well.

All because of you.

Thank you, Kelly.

Tonight my heart is heavy.  You are scheduled to be executed by the state tomorrow evening, September 29, at 7 p.m.  The Parole board has agreed to another clemency hearing at 11 in the morning.  I pray, I PRAY with my fingers crossed and my eyes closed and brow furrowed and with everything in me that they will commute your sentence to life in prison.  That is what I hope will happen.  My head and heart hurt too much when I contemplate what it means if they don’t.

See, I became complacent.  Right before your scheduled execution in March, I made calls and sent emails and shared posts and tweeted articles, and I was so overjoyed that the drugs were cloudy and there was an anti-death penalty movement growing very strong across our nation that I let it slide.  I shared a story or two every now and then.  I paid attention when there was an article about the cloudy drugs.  I listened and I read, but spring and then summer came and went, and I was not prepared for the news of your new execution date.

I’m sorry.

Kelly, I hope you can feel the energy from where you are–the furor and the drive of all the people who care for you and about you.  Those of us whom you’ve met and touched directly and those whom you have not.

You are loved.

You have made a difference.

It is my belief that you have so many more lives to touch, and that you will continue to make a difference in the lives of people who are broken and lost and just need someone to say, “I’m here.”

It is my belief that your children who love you so very much deserve to have you a part of their lives for many, many years to come.

It is my belief that one day we will see an end to the killing as punishment.  That the death penalty will be abolished for always.

I just hope I am right.

The thing that I remember so strongly from that day in March, your second execution date as the snow prevented your first one from happening as scheduled, was that the day held the promise of spring.  I had so hoped you were able to go out and feel the warm sun and the gentle breeze on your face.  That you knew that winter was fading and spring was coming.

And here we are again, on the precipice of seasons changing.  Only I hope that summer is not the only season ending.  I hope that the season of government executions and hatred and people standing divided will end as well.  I hope that you will be here to see the leaves change, to hear the Christmas carols sung by those with great voices and those with great spirit.  I hope you will ring in the New Year, knowing your season of fear and worry and time on death row is over.

I hope for all of the good things.

And I hope that one year in the near future, my daughter’s wish will come true.  That she will be able to meet you face to face and tell you about how you changed her life.  How your story being intertwined with hers for a moment set her on the path of fighting for fair trials and justice for all.  But mostly so she can smile and tell you, “Thank you.”  And you can see the light in her eyes that you helped put there.

Redemption is a beautiful story, Kelly.  And our people are fighting to choose redemption over revenge.

I can only imagine what tonight is like for you.  For your children.  This is inhumane, in my opinion, this torture of not knowing.

Oh, all the not knowing.  Neither you nor the people who love you deserve the reality and fear and worry and waiting of this night.

I’m sorry, Kelly.  I became complacent.  I’ve spent the past ten days trying to remedy that, and make up for all the days I didn’t speak up and say, “This is NOT okay.  Not in my name.”

I am asking God once again to be with you this night.  That perhaps you will get some rest and have peace in your heart.  And the same for your children and your Sisters and all of those who care.  May the peace that passes all understanding be with all of you and all of us, who join you in the worry and the waiting.

Thank you, Kelly.  For not letting who you were define who you were to become.  For letting your story bring so much hope and heart to all of us.

And for reminding us that grace abounds and love ultimately wins.

Holding you in the light,

Tara

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If anyone would like to speak out against the scheduled execution, please read below about the ways you can still make a difference:  

(from the #Kellyonmymind Facebook page)

CALL the GA Board of Pardons and Paroles and ask for mercy for Kelly. They’re considering Kelly’s petition and a call will make a big difference. Call, tweet, post. please! Less than 20 hours to save Kelly’s life so please call and ask others to call. Then tweet and post them too! Let’s do whatever we can to stand with Kelly! 

GA Board of Pardons & Paroles
CALL TODAY (404) 656-4661 (press “0” then “4”)
Clemency_Info@pap.state.ga.us
www.facebook.com/GAParoleBoard
Twitter: @GA_ParoleBoard

Hands and Hearts Joined Together

Note:  This is not a news report filled with facts about last night’s vigil.  This is simply my story of what I experienced and what I understood to have happened.  The news articles are about the facts.  This is about my heart.  

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Yesterday started like any other.  Breakfast, math, spelling…..and then the text came from the Fella.

He said there was a vigil going to be held at 6 p.m. at the prison where Kelly Gissendaner was to be executed.

Having already seen the announcement on Facebook, I knew, but I wondered where he was going with this.

“I think you should go.”

And with those five words he turned my day and my world upside down.  I offered many excuses as to why I shouldn’t (carpooling children, the drive, not wanting him to have to leave work early…..) And still he said, “Go.”  He even texted Aub, home from college for Spring Break, and offered the idea to her.

As we talked and after I talked with my Aunt, I started warming up to the idea.  And then, in a moment, I found myself wanting to go.  To be there with others who were concerned–passionate even–about justice and mercy and finding a place for them to co-exist peacefully.

As I was cleaning out my vehicle–a job that always needs doing, I soaked in the spring-like air.  It was…..downright warm.  The littles were literally romping in the backyard as was Miss Sophie, so happy not to have frozen fingers and toes and noses.  It was wonderful.

And in the midst of that, I stopped and wondered if Kelly would be allowed to breathe in the beautiful fresh air, if she would know that winter was slowly losing its grip on the world, and that maybe spring would win.  Again.  As she does every year.  And hopefully sooner rather than later.  I just hoped Kelly could feel it and know.  And I cried.

Aub and I met the Fella on our way out of town.  He took the littles and headed out on the adventures that Monday usually brings.

It took a surprisingly short time for us to get to the prison in Jackson.  I was glad I had read the directions on Facebook as to what to bring and do.  We no sooner had turned in than they directed us to turn before the guard’s gate into a pasture/open field to our left.  Having pulled out our IDs as we were told, we handed them over to an officer who copied down our names and my tag number.  There were law enforcement officers, dressed in full protective gear from what it looked like, all over the place.  As I drove to park where directed, Aub and I were quiet.  The officer who guided me into the spot to park under the trees next to the roped off area told us to gather all we wanted to take with us.  We would not be allowed to return to our vehicles unless we were leaving the grounds.  He also had me open all doors and the hatch on the back.  The drug dogs searched our vehicle.

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Aub and I carried our water, our chairs, and phones with us around to enter the roped off area.  On the outside of the roped off area that was closest to the road, the press had already started gathering.

My eyes were immediately drawn to a group of women gathered close.  They were calling out, “Kelly saved me!”  “Kelly is my friend!”  “Kelly told me to get out and never come back there.  And I did what she said.  I haven’t been back in there since.”

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The Struggle Sisters.

The women who have served time and been encouraged by Kelly.  Coming together to support her, even if as close as they could get to their friend was out there in the middle of that field.  Looking back towards the woods that hid the facility from our eyes.

Five minutes in and I was already so overwhelmed with emotions, my eyes flooded.

Y’all.  The story we’ve all been following.  The people we’ve heard about whom Kelly touched and helped.  The woman we’ve been praying for.

All of that is real.  So very real.  And in that moment, my heart broke even more.  This was no story, this was someone’s life.

And while I knew that it was real, it hit me in that moment like never before.

About that time, a woman (whom Aub and I are pretty sure was one of Kelly’s attorneys) lifted her cell phone in the air.  “Hey everybody! I have Kelly on the phone and she’s listening.  How about a round of ‘This Little Light of Mine’?”

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Oh my heart. The tears really fell then.  We all sang together, our eyes and hearts and energy focused on that cell phone and the woman listening on the other end.  Several of her friends called out, “I love you Kelly!”  “Thank you Kelly!”  “I’m still here, Kelly!”  “We’re still praying, Kelly!”

The woman with the phone laughed as the singing faded and said, “Maybe one more time in tune?”  We all laughed and sang one more round.

We had been there less than ten minutes.

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Immediately following the phone call, the woman gathered herself and went to a van that had pulled up.  She was told she couldn’t take her notepad with her I guess, as she walked back and handed it to someone.  She got in the van and it pulled away.  She was going to meet Kelly, I believe.

We stood and got our bearings.  There were different groups of people gathering.  There were many clerical collars, mostly but not all Episcopal priests.  Their Bishop was there too.  There were students whom we believe were from Candler at Emory.  There were the Struggle Sisters, loud and passionate and loving.  “This is not right!” one called out.

I agree.

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There were a few older men and women–people who have been doing this for years.  One older man brought a stack of signs that different people carried throughout the night.  They have been attending the vigils for one about to be executed for a long time.  “Since they started back the death penalty in 1976,” she said.  She is 70 years old and very interesting.  She pointed to another roped off area that I hadn’t really noticed.  “That’s where the folks who support capital punishment can gather,” Miss S told us.  “Way back when the Klan would show up in full garb and stand over there.  Oh they didn’t cover their faces, but they were here. ”

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The area for those in favor of capital punishment. The interesting thing is that for all of the negative comments I have read with regards to clemency and mercy, not a soul came and stood over there the entire night. Not a single person.

 

Wow.

We gathered in a circle a little before 7 p.m., the scheduled execution time, and we held hands.  We sang “Amazing Grace” and “This Little Light of Mine” and said the Lord’s Prayer together.  Then a prayer was offered by a minister from Tennessee.  When asked if anyone else wanted to pray, one of the Struggle Sisters said yes.  She prayed briefly for her friend and those standing there, but then she began to pray for the ones behind the bars.  The ones who knew Kelly and loved her and were going to feel very lost in prison without her.  “Please let them find peace.  And comfort.  And please let them not riot.  Please let them be okay.”  And then at almost exactly seven, the rain began to fall.   Just as it should be.

I can’t even.

I have thought of the message this gives about rehabilitation and redemption and grace to the world, but I hadn’t thought about the ones who day after day are imprisoned and were looking to Kelly, thinking that’s what it looks like to be okay in here.  That’s what we are supposed to do.  And then to know she’s been executed?  Despite all of her efforts to become a better person?

No.  I can see darkness all over that.

We then gathered close in together and we were told what was going on.

Would the execution happen at exactly 7 p.m.?  No.  We later found out there were three appeals being sent up through the court system, so no, thankfully it did not happen at 7 p.m.

How would we know?  There were a couple of people who had folks contacting them.  They shared with the rest of us.  I don’t know who they were communicating with, but we were getting good information that the news sources didn’t have apparently.  When we got it.  And as far as it being “done” and “over,” one priest shrugged sadly and said, “The witnesses will come back. And then we’ll know it’s over.”

Because of those words, every vehicle that came up that road, lights shining in the darkness as it emerged from the area behind the woods, we all slowed our steps, took in our breath, and waited.  And still no witnesses.

Word came in that the appeal had gone to the Georgia Supreme Court.  At that time we were unclear what the exact appeals were, but eventually we were.  Aub was really good at looking up things on her phone to understand what was going on.

When word came down that the 11th circuit had denied the appeals and it was now going to the US Supreme Court, shoulders sagged a little bit.  The news articles will tell you it was fifty out there last night, but don’t you believe them.  I can’t give you a number, but it was COLD.  My toes were numb and it was obvious about the time the sky grew dark that my girl and I had not dressed warm enough.

At one point I offered my chair to one of the Sisters.  She and another friend and Aub were sitting there together.  Aub heard one say to a friend on the phone, “This ground is cold.  Reminds me of my bed in lockup.  But I can see the sky, and it is beautiful!”  And she proceeded to go into great detail and describe the sky.  Aub was blown away.  Imagine not being able to see the sky whenever you wanted to.  Something so many of us take for granted.  Heartbreaking.

We heard a man who works with At Risk Youth talking about bringing young people to meet Kelly.  She would talk with them and then say, “I don’t ever want to see you again.”  Kelly is all about wanting folks to realize they are better than being behind bars.  She wants them to stay out.  He laughed at the memory of her heartfelt words.

He also talked about Kelly’s daughter at the Parole Board Clemency hearing last week.  Her daughter stood up and said she was proud to say she is Kelly Gissendaner’s daughter.  That she was proud of the person her Mama has become.

Bless it.  Again, the tears.

Walking to keep warm and to quiet my soul.

Walking to keep warm and to quiet my soul.  This is my shadow cast as I walked.  

Looking out toward the prison behind the woods, where she sat and waited to know if she would die that night.

Looking out toward the prison behind the woods, where she sat and waited to know if she would die that night.

As the night got later, I decided to walk around as some were doing.  It served to warm up my body and to quiet my mind.  As I walked around and around and I looked out toward the jail where Kelly was sitting, waiting for others to decide her fate–one.more.time–these words went through my mind.

My sister waits but I can do nothing, and so I walk.  

My sister waits.  

And so I walk.

It was a hard and thin place to be.  Caring and wanting to know answers and not quite sure how this was going to go.  As I wondered around and while Aub was listening to the Sister describe the sky, I met and talked with an amazing priest who is shining so much light in this world.  As we talked my stomach dropped.  It seems to me, as I listened to her and others that night, and with all I’m reading, that this is very political.  Sentencing, executions, death penalty, clemency, and all of it.   It seems to be about who is in charge and what suits them at the moment.  I don’t mean to be cynical, but it feels that way.  It was also very disconcerting to hear that in addition to the execution scheduled last night, there had been one last month.  Another was scheduled for next Tuesday and another for the 24th.

I’m sorry.  WHAT?!

“Have there always been this many?  This frequency?” I asked.  I couldn’t believe it because how did I not know this was going on.  In my very own home state.  I was assured that no, something seems to be in the air, and some were pondering that maybe it has something to do with a case coming before the Supreme Court in the next couple of months.  I haven’t really read up enough on it yet, so I won’t get into that here, but let me assure you, again–see how politics can govern so much of this?

Aub came up to join us, and we talked some more until we saw some vehicles moving again.  Lights shining in our eyes from across the driveway.  We saw someone get out.

Folks were murmuring.  People were guessing.  “I think it’s the witnesses.”

Oh. NO.

A man said, “Well I thought I saw the hearse go that way a little bit ago, so maybe yeah.  Maybe we didn’t hear and it’s already over.”

The emotions were overwhelming.  And then the words passed through the crowd gathered, a little smaller than the one that had started out the evening, but not by much–

NOT TONIGHT.  

We didn’t know the why’s or what’s, but we knew the who.  Kelly.  Kelly was still alive.

Good news.  GREAT NEWS.

Aub heard one of the sisters point at another van and say, “Who’s in that van?  Is it Kelly?”

We can’t be sure.  But surely at some point, she would leave the prison in Jackson and be transported back to Arrendelle, the women’s facility.  Maybe that was Kelly.

The Department of Corrections gave a 25 second statement that had all of the media scrambling.  The spokesperson never came any closer to our group.  As we knew we couldn’t leave the rope area and come back in and as fast as it all happened, none of our group was able to go and hear what was said.  However it didn’t take long to know something had happened with the drugs.  Thankful.  Like last week with the snow that kept them from transporting Kelly down to Jackson for the execution as scheduled, I was so thankful for those cloudy drugs.  Kelly would live to see another day.

We saw someone headed our way and I wondered if he were going to share what had happened with us.  He did not.  He asked us to gather our things and get in our vehicles, so we could leave in an orderly fashion.

I was so thankful and uncertain and blown away, that I just did what he asked and didn’t wonder why he didn’t give a statement to us until later on.

That was the fastest drive home I’ve ever had.  The hour plus trip only seemed like fifteen minutes.

Miracles can do that to a person, I guess.

Surreal.

I am so thankful that the Fella not only encouraged us to go but that he also helped make it happen.  It was a beautiful and emotional night.  I met some of the most wonderful people last night.  They shared freely, their stories, their smiles, their hope and fears.  And we were together.  Hands and hearts joined together with one hope.  That Kelly’s life would be spared.  I’m also grateful for a safe journey and a great traveling partner.  She’s going places this one.  If you could have seen her wheels turning as she read the information she could find on the appeals, you most likely would have been impressed too.  I’m so proud of her.

I woke up this morning anxious for the news.  Was it already scheduled?  Or worse, had it already happened?  No and no.  Early this afternoon, a statement was issued that not only has Kelly’s execution been postponed, but so has the one of the man scheduled for next week–postponed indefinitely.

That made me smile for the rest of the afternoon.

Last night was beautiful.  People of all walks of life joining together in song and in message and in support of another.  If that isn’t a picture of what this life should be about–I don’t know what is.

Giving thanks and love to all.

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Columba pacis

This evening as my Aub and I gathered together in a circle of 100 or more people gathered at the Vigil, I looked down in the midst of the singing, and I saw this leaf there on the ground in front of me.  It intrigued me and comforted me.  As prayers were said for the one inside the building hidden by the woods, awaiting to know if her life was about to end or not, I focused my heart on the prayer and my eyes on the leaf.  As prayers were said for the ones who know and love her and would grieve for her both inside and outside of the building with the bars, I focused my heart on the prayer and my eyes on the leaf.

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At first I thought it was a cross, but as I looked a little longer, I realized it was a dove.  Of peace.

And my heart and soul breathed a sigh of release.

And a prayer for grace and mercy.

Tonight I am thankful for a life that is still being lived, a story still being told, and for the souls who shared their stories and hopes with us as we stood in the cold and hoped and prayed and laughed and cried together.  I am thankful for weather delays and cloudy medicines and the chance that hearts could still be changed and justice and mercy can go hand in hand to continue the life of one who cares, who has saved lives herself, and who has told folks they were better than their circumstances.  Of one who loves.

As for what tomorrow will bring, I focus my heart on the prayers and my eyes on the dove.  On peace.  And grace.  And mercy.

And I know that whatever story comes next, in the end, Love Wins.  It just has to.

Love to all.

 

 

 

Other Thoughts:  The Sanctity of Life and the Miracle of Grace

 

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The Sanctity of Life and the Miracle of Grace

In September 2011 I heard a name I’d not heard before.  I heard it on the radio, saw it on Facebook.

Troy Davis.

This young man only three weeks older than I am was convicted for the August 19, 1989 murder of Mark MacPhail, a police officer in Savannah, Georgia.  His execution was scheduled for September 21.  That day my heart was very heavy.  He had been denied clemency, but his execution did not happen at 7 p.m. as scheduled.  The Supreme Court was reviewing his case.

I sat on the edge of the bed in my dimly lit room.  My children were all asleep, the youngest piled in next to me.  The Fella was out of town for work and had been for quite some time.  I was alone, fervently praying for someone to save this man’s life, all the while fearing the worst.

In that moment, I realized that I did not, if I ever had before, have the stomach for capital punishment.

See, life and how very precious it is had just been impressed upon me greater than ever before.

My Daddy, my very much-loved Daddy, had just been admitted to Hospice only a few days earlier.

Life was precious.  And dwindling.

And in the quiet of the night, I begged God to step in, for someone to save a life that did not have to be ended.  Not like my Daddy’s.  His body had already given him a death sentence and clemency had been denied.

But for Troy Davis?  It could have been very different.

Only it was not to be.

The Supreme Court came back and denied a stay of execution.  And at 10:53 p.m. on September 21, 2011, Troy Davis was given a lethal injection.  Fifteen minutes later he was pronounced dead.

I can hardly type it without feeling sick.

I don’t want to argue the validity of capital punishment.  I don’t want to argue guilt or innocence.  I won’t even argue that if the function of prisons is to rehabilitate and change lives, why aren’t we rewarding those who do work towards that goal?

I am here to simply say, all lives matter.

If one says he or she is pro-life, doesn’t that mean pro-all life?

Earlier this past week, my sister-in-love shared the story of Kelly Gissendaner, who was scheduled to be executed on this past Wednesday night at 7 p.m. here in Georgia.  Kelly was convicted of plotting the murder of her husband.  The man who actually killed him is serving 25 years and will be up for parole in a few years.  I felt sick when I read the story my SIL shared for two reasons–the fact that I live here and this was the first I had heard of the story, and the fact that it was, once again, the willing ending of a life that didn’t have to be.

All that day my heart was heavy.  When the word came that the execution had been rescheduled for Monday, March 2, at 7 p.m. because of the inclement weather, I gave thanks.  I’ve never been so happy about snow in my life.

I’ve been piecing together Kelly’s story.  It is a heartbreaking and inspiring one, one of second chances and redemption.

I’m not going to talk about the certificate she earned while incarcerated.  You can read about that here.

I’m not going to talk about the women whose lives she touched and changed because of who she has become.  Her sisterfriends (and they call themselves that–oh my heart) do that so beautifully here.

I’m not going to share her words with you right now.  I hope you’ll watch this video and hear them for yourselves.

I’m not even going to talk about how unfair I think it is that the man who actually murdered Kelly’s husband, Doug, will be out of prison in 8 years because he took the plea deal first and testified against Kelly.  You can read about that here and find a link to copies of her request for clemency.

What I am going to say is that life is precious.  I know this.  For. A. Fact.  Like so many of us, I’ve had the lives of those I love taken away by disease and I. Am. Still. Heartbroken.   Because of that, I cannot be okay with inviting death in and ending a life like this.

I just can’t.

I was conversing with my wise writer friend, Lisa at My So Called Glamorous Life, about Kelly. Lisa lives out of state, and she shared this with me today:

“I had not heard of this case before I heard a radio dj mocking the prisoner because of her last meal order. I think that’s indicative of how people dismiss the value of a life.”

So tonight, as I stay up very late to finish this because time is of the essence, I’m not asking for anyone to do anything except–

PLEASE DO NOT DISMISS THE VALUE OF A LIFE.

All lives.  Yours.  Mine.  Kelly’s.  Everyone’s.

If you read her case, and think she deserves to die, then okay.  If you can be okay with it, then I have to respect that.  I hope you can respect that I cannot.

But if you read her case, and your heart cries out for things to be different, here are a couple of places you can go.  There is a Facebook page I just found that has a list of suggestions for helping here.  If you are a member of the clergy or know someone who is, you can sign this petition here.  (Out of state clergy are also encouraged to sign.)  At this point, it is my understanding that Governor Deal is the one who can step in and stop the execution.  I have emailed him twice, only to get no response, and I tried calling the number listed “in case of time sensitive matters,” and not only did I not get an answer but there also was no option to leave a message.  Simply no answer at all.  Here is the place to send him messages or call.  The video above also gives more contact information and ways to tag the Governor and the Parole Board if you are active on Social Media.

Thank you for reading this.  I am ashamed I was hesitant to write this at first.  I respect folks’ rights to their own opinions.  I don’t like to get into political rants, which is why I haven’t taken this to Facebook.  But my heart has been heavy about this–this is about life, the life of a woman who is my age.  Whose childhood and past led her to make some really bad choices and do some really, really bad things.  This evening I saw this on Love Wins Ministries‘ Facebook page, and I knew I had to write this.  Now.

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Because if I believe in redemption and grace, I have to believe in it for everyone.  And that’s why I’m writing tonight.  Because I do believe in grace.  And love.  And the sanctity of life.  Oh bless it, I know how precious it is.  That is why my thoughts and heavy heart have led me to write what I have the past two nights.

And I decided that I could not go to bed Monday night, whether the execution happens or not, if I didn’t speak up and ask for help.  Help in sending out the message that dismissing the value of a life, any life, is NOT OKAY.

Kelly Gissendaner after finishing her Theology degree through courses offered at the prison

Kelly Gissendaner in 2011 after graduating from the Theology program offered at the prison

May we all find ourselves filled with the peace that Kelly has found, and may a miracle come and give this story of redemption what it really deserves–grace.

Love to all.