Surviving the System

by Suzy Mellen
When the judge sentenced me, I thought he said 25-to-Life. After a few months of being in prison, one of my roommates read my face sheet. She said to me, Mellen, you were sentenced to LIFE WITHOUT THE POSSIBILITY OF PAROLE. I said, What does that mean?? She explained to me that I would never go home. That I would die in prison. I was in a state of shock then, just as I was throughout my trial.
I could have become bitter, paralyzed, and powerless to the point of being crippled because of the shock of getting convicted of a horrible crime with which I had no connection. The suffering and pain attacked me emotionally. How could this have happened to me? I was desperate for an answer.  That is when God became so real to me. When I was stripped from my life, my family and my home and left with NOTHING, I realized that God was all I needed. It’s been one long journey and a very painful one. The tendency is to want to give up especially when your thoughts are, I cant do it anymore!
That’s when I started learning about myself. My spirit within gave me strength, and yes, even JOY to keep going. Something inside moved me. I became motivated to turn everything negative into something positive and powerful. Prison wanted to break me. That is when I embraced the life system that tried to destroy me. I made my life sentence my friend, as opposed to my enemy.
In my wildest dreams, I could never imagine God would use me in such a way. I might be in prison, but prison is NOT in me! We only have one journey in this life, so I want to make it count and make a difference to help others that are facing life sentences!
Written for my lifer’s group