Journal Entry: Brian Peter Zater-05/25/2024

Journal Entry

It’s Saturday. The 25th of May, 2024. The first day of a three-day weekend. The lead-up to Memorial Day. I wouldn’t have known if not for the local chatter about what the holiday meal will be. There are no holidays in prison. There are only different meals.

In two months, three days I’ll wake up to my 8,767th day in prison. Einstein said, “Not everything that can be counted counts. And not everything that counts can be counted.” I make the days count. So I count them.

Two months, three days will be 24 years. None wasted. Each day a small investment toward a better tomorrow. It took a series of broken steps to walk into this place. It’ll take a series of fixed steps to walk out.

I’ve heard it said, ‘It’s not how you start the race that matters. It’s how you finish.” But for me how I started matters. I caused others harm. I’d been one of those hurt people who’d hurt people. But I’m committed to make amends. Remorse in action. Each harm committed to give birth to a million healings.

The hurts I caused don’t go away. Nor should they. But they spring healings eternal.

I’m committed to finish the race strong. I will not be remembered for the worst things I’ve ever done. And so I awake early each morning. I make my bunk and coffee. I read the sign on my bulletin board–a gift from a student and friend: “What are you going to do with your life today?” And the now familiar fire burns. It demands that today not be wasted. That it counts. That it be invested.

I must make amends. I will know redemption.

I’m not a bad person trying to learn how to be good. I was a broken person trying to learn how to put the pieces back together again. And the journey has lead me to discover tools I share with my fellow bound. Together we work to break free of our self-imposed chains of limitations. To realize our full potentials as human beings. To self actualize.

To be free without I must first achieve freedom within.

This week I’ve worked hard to finish legal briefs and letters toward helping others realize a long-overdue early return to society. Freedom without. I’ve also taught the personal-development and reentry-preparation classes that I developed. Freedom within.

But on this first of a three-day weekend I know what I’m going to do with my life. How I will invest this 8,733rd day in prison. I’m going to edit the re-publication of my book, The Tree of Life, Sowing Your Seeds of Destiny. A fixed step on a path toward the goal of it being published and donated to prisons through the U.S. before my 24th anniversary in prison, two months, three days from now.