I fear my words will be inadequate to describe the abiding peace and happiness that I’ve felt this week. Nevertheless, I’m going to attempt to share these experiences, because they are sacred to me and I want to capture them. I have a great deal of love for you who read my blog.  You have been my support, and you’ve done a great service to share this journey with me. Monday will be August 8th and it was August 8th 2014 that I pleaded guilty at the Salt Lake City federal courthouse. After a harrowing experience getting a mental evaluation, I finally gave up my will to fight.  As I reflect back to the helpless feelings that I had during that time, I clearly remember the fear and vulnerability that I felt, as well as my compromised mental state. My desire now is to love and comfort the person that was in that courtroom, to tell her how much her Father in Heaven loves her, that she was never alone. To my prosecutors: You who represent the United States of America, and argued I was too unstable to be released from jail after I was abused; I read a quote recently that reminds me of my situation at that time. It said, “There are things which must cause you to lose your reason, or you have none to lose. An abnormal reaction to an abnormal situation is normal behavior.” I felt incredible powerlessness standing in a courtroom listening to my behavior being described as unreasonable after what I went through, but today I’m at peace, which is certainly a gift from my Father in Heaven!

A few days ago a woman came to me and asked for my help. She was getting ready to leave prison and told me how happy and grateful she was. I said, “You must be so excited! What a wonderful time in your life.” She said, “Yes, I am happy. But, I did a lot of time in prison for a crime that I didn’t commit.” She told me, “The feds couldn’t find anything wrong with what I did, but they charged me with deliberate indifference anyway. They said I should have known something bad was going to happen.” They charged her with something minor, but I guess it still carried prison time? I said, “Then you are one of the lucky ones!” She looked at me kind of strange and said, “How do you figure that I’m lucky?” I said, “History is filled with great people who have been wrongfully imprisoned, so you are in good company.” She smiled and said, “I guess you could see it that way?” I told her, ” Personally, I made a lot of mistakes, but there were also things with my case that were unfair. I’ve asked God to help me forgive the people that hurt me, and in the process I’ve found forgiveness for myself.” I told my new friend that she should be honored to walk among those who have been able to forgive their abusers. I asked her if she was happy now, and she told me, “Yes, I can honestly say that I’m happy.” I said, “Then you are a blessed woman! Leaving prison happy, joyous, and free is a great accomplishment!” She said, “I like what you just said, what’s your name?” I told her, “My name is Portia, and I’m glad I was able to meet you before you left.” She smiled and said, “I’m glad I got to meet you too, where are you from Portia?” I told her, “I’m from Utah, but I’ve been in jail or prison all over the country:)” She laughed and said,” If you’re from Utah you must be a Mormon, I’ve never met a Mormon I didn’t like. You guys have those Temples that look so beautiful, every time I see your temple in DC it makes me feel something, something inside of me.” I said, “Yes, I’m a Mormon, and our Temples are sacred, that’s why you feel the way you do when you see them.” We ended our meeting, but she left an impression on me. I thought, “How proud and honored I am to be a Mormon!”

As painful as it’s been to be in prison, I probably wouldn’t change it.  At times I feel like I’m walking on sacred ground. We are all God’s children, but I think he has special blessings reserved for those who have suffered as some of the women in prison have. Many of the women in prison have lived with indignities that very few can imagine. I shared a little bit last week about the peace I have found each morning as I sit in nature and pray; when I sit in silence and meditate, I feel a profound love that connects all of us. There’s a power that we can’t see, but it’s as real as anything you can touch. The power is tangible, and it works through love. I’ve been through some pretty serious struggles in my life, but I can feel myself being healed through a love that is indescribable; I feel a joy and solace that’s all encompassing. Our Father in Heaven spoke worlds into existence, his power created the heavens and earth. He can heal us, He will heal us! Whatever challenge you are facing right now, wherever you’re at on your own journey, please don’t give up!  You can be healed every wit! It is so worth the fight! The struggle is for our good, and the pain will be worth it in the end! It’s at times like this that I feel privileged to be in federal prison, and I am grateful to have all of you to share it with. I want to share a prayer I found recently. I read it each morning as I sit and meditate, thank you all for sharing this journey with me, I look forward to the day that we will meet again.

Lord, make me a channel of thy peace-that where there is hatred, I may bring love-that where there is wrong, I may bring the spirit of forgiveness-that where there is discord, I may bring harmony-that where there is error, I may bring truth-that where there is doubt, I may bring faith-that where there is despair, I may bring hope-that where there are shadows, I may bring light-that where there is sadness, I may bring joy. Lord, grant that I may seek to comfort, rather than to be comforted-to understand, rather than to be understood-to love, than to be loved. For it is by forgetting self that one finds, it is by forgiving that one is forgiven, it is by dying that one awakens to eternal life. Amen