“You have to die a few times before you can really live,” – Charles Bukowski. Truly, anyone who has suffered a loss of all things has a good understanding of this quote by Charles Bukowski but especially for anyone who has been incarcerated for a long periods of time – it means a lot. Not only has the offender died a few times, but he dies daily – to friends, to family, to the simple comforts of life. The cliché becomes reality: it’s the simple things in life that matter. A walk in the woods, listening to the thunder, sitting on a front porch – these things become as unreachable to us as life is to the dead. Of course, aren’t these the very elements of life? These simple pleasures remind us of who we are. When we lose these “simple things” we cease to be alive in any real sense of the word. In essence, we have died to the world and it to us.
I have died many times in my life. My soul no longer knows the pleasures of simply being alive. It has gotten to the point in my existence that the only way I can truly feel alive again is by having these simple pleasures restored. As Ebenezer Scrooge discovered, I have also learned not to take these things for granted anymore. Unfortunately, what it took the old miser to learn in one night, it has taken me three decades.