Thanks to a good friend, who arranged it through her work, I had the privilege of writing a weekly letter to a young prisoner during the month of May. I felt truly honored to be able to do this. The letters are below.

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           Several years ago,  Delycia and I saw the movie “The Book Thief”, and, in the midst of our sighs and silent tears, I think we both saw something very special in this film. I was particularly struck by this phrase, said by one of the characters: “Words are life.” I thought, yes, words are life — and love and goodness and strength and everything else. Words work wonders every hour, every moment, all across the earth. Words start all friendships, and all fights. Without words, there would be neither love affairs nor wars. Words are like diamonds and bombs, like coats to keeps us warm and ropes to whip us with. In a great book, it says that in the beginning was the word, meaning, maybe, that at the start of everything, words wait with their mighty power. In the film, Liesel Meminger understands this, and therefore steals books in order to come into contact with this power. She touches her books like they’re time bombs of inspiration and wisdom, which, for those of us who love them, they are. 

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To sit with stillness with the night outside
is one way to observe the deep and wide 
empire of kindness in this puzzling world.
Mankind seems sometimes gone off track and swirled
with disarray, but kindness keeps its silent law. 
The gentleness of simple love will draw
the worst of hatred toward a place of peace,
and gentle words can make an uproar cease,
like evening softly ends the noise of day,
and kindness, life’s beloved king, holds sway. 

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