Today I turned 60 years old. Seeing that in writing is surreal. Life is going by fast and while my body is definitely 60 years old, my mind still thinks it is in its 30’s. Healing is going slowly but as I wrote yesterday, very glad to be home recuperating and not at the prison camp. There is much to write and journal and have been spending time creating a BIO to highlight my life’s work (so far) I completed a detailed release plan and will be refining this as the day that I’m released draws near.
I have my post release life mapped out and I’m genuinely excited about what the future will look like.
A good friend of mine Ken Funk called today. We speak every year on December 4th. I met Ken when we were volunteers on a medical Mission to Laroya, Peru in 2005. We were bunk mates for two weeks and worked side by side In the clinic and became instant friends. Ken is from Canada, and we share the same birthday although He is 19 years older than I am. We made a pact that no matter where life takes us, we will always call each other on our birthday. I have traveled to the west coast many times to visit, and Ken came with me to mainland China in 2012 when I was a keynote speaker at the Green Roof Congress in Beijing. Talking with him today brought back a flood of memories. Out of the many stories I can share about our time in Peru, there is one that sticks out as a defining moment of clarity.
There was a young woman, maybe 17 or 18 years old, who came to the clinic to see if she could get surgery to repair a large hole in the roof of her mouth that she was born with. She arrived at the clinic on the next to last day and there was not enough time to get her surgery. She traveled for a Few days and broke down when she was told the news. Ken and I became her advocates and found A doctor that would do the surgery close to her hometown. The cost of the surgery was $250 and Ken Paid the doctor directly. What we gave her was so much more than fixing her cleft palate, we gave her dignity and respect. About a month later the girl reached out to us and sent a picture of her repaired palate. That was a good day.
On our conversation today Ken told me he was going on his 21st medical mission to Bangladesh in January. I would love nothing more to be going and our talk today inspired me to get back to the point that I can give back in this way. What I am going through is the polar opposite of Kens world and the world I should be participating in. This gives me great resolve and I’m looking forward to the post incarceration years of my life. I have a feeling that the best is yet to come.
Grateful for Ken’s unweaving support of our friendship. He is accepting me as the person he knows I am and not by a snapshot in time where I made a really bad and life altering decision.