Journal Entry: John Dalaly-11/01/2023-Parable of Talents

Journal Entry

Journal Entry for November 1, 2023

At the end of this month, I will surrender to serve a sentence in federal prison. I’m scared, but I’m also determined to make the most of this time. I want to use it to reflect on my past mistakes and to learn how to be a better person.

I owe this commitment to my beloved wife Vivian, to our three daughters, Dina, Jenan, Katrina, and our eight grandchildren. I must show them that despite the challenges ahead, I will use every day to prepare. Life is about preparation, about seeing the best outcome, and working through challenges. 

I’ve learned these lessons through my Catholic faith. God has blessed me with 71 years of life, and I must prove worthy of the many blessings I’ve received. Rather than dwelling on the challenges and crisis, I focus on the journey ahead.

In preparation for this journey, I turn to God and wisdom from the Holy Bible. Today, the  parable of the talents inspires me. In the parable, a master gives his servants different amounts of money to invest. When he returns, he is pleased with the servants who have used their money wisely and multiplied it. However, the master became angry with the servant who buried his money and failed to put resources to work.

We all may have different takeaways from this parable. In my view, the parable reminds us that God blesses each of us with resources. Those resources are all around us. To honor God, we must make the highest and best use of those resources, and we must deploy our talents every day. If we do not, we fail to honor God.

I see myself as the servant who strives to make the most of the talents that God has given. Although I do not have a formal education beyond a high school diploma, I have many other resources. I have critical thinking skills, and I have a responsibility to use them. I’ve learned to create opportunities by observing and building great relationships. Those relationships have taken me to countries across the world. They have led me from a life of modest means to a life of wealth, through bankruptcy, and back to success. 

When we’re willing to accept the challenges that God brings, opportunities open. When we fail to seize those opportunities, we lose more.

I regret the shame that I have brought upon my family and community by the bad decisions that led me to prison. Those decisions do not reflect my true character. My true character will reveal that I am a man who faces challenges and overcomes them. I have overcome challenges many times. In this instance, despite facing the challenge of separation from Vivian and our children, I will use this time to work and make amends.

While serving my sentence in prison, I will develop talents and help others who want to join me in serving God for the greater good. We will strive to reach our full potential, as law-abiding, contributing citizens. I aspire to live as a servant who multiplies his talents and pleases God.

Here are some specific things that I want to do in prison to follow the guidance from the parable of the talents:

  • I want to study and learn new things. I want to expand my knowledge and develop my skills. I’m particularly interested in learning more about business and finance, but also contributing to the lives of others.
  • I want to make a positive impact on the world, even if it’s just in a small way. I will write every day to record what I’m learning and how I’m creating opportunities from the talents I have. As a job creator, I am confident that I can teach people in the prison community how to prepare for success upon release. I’m also interested in volunteering with prison ministries, helping to bring hope and spiritual guidance to other people serving time.
  • I want to grow spiritually. I want to deepen my relationship with God and to live a life that is pleasing to Him. I’m planning to attend church services and Bible study groups in prison. I’m also going to spend time in prayer and meditation, and walking to improve my health.

I do not expect it to be easy. After all, I am going to prison, and not to a resort. I will miss my wife, my daughters, my grandchildren. But I’m determined to make the most of this time and to use it to become a better person. Nothing happens without a reason. I believe that God has a plan for my life, even in prison. I’m trusting Him to guide me and to help me to fulfill His purpose for my life.

I’m not sure how long I’ll be in prison, but I’m committed to using this time to grow and to become a better person. I want to be serve God and work toward making a positive impact on the world.

I’m grateful for the opportunity to start fresh. Thank You, Lord, for Your grace and mercy. Amen.