I became acquainted with Michael McKinney after my essay “Visiting Prison” was published in Quaker Life magazine. He wrote me via the magazine, and I responded. We have been in touch by letter ever since. Michael is serving a sentence of Life Without Parole, incarcerated in Raiford, Florida. He has spent a number of years in solitary confinement. He writes with difficulty, but with intense conviction on a variety of topics. Here is one of his essays he sent me in 2013. - Robert Moulthrop.
How Can I Change?
by Michael McKinney
How can I change?
For me, it is a matter of telling myself to keep using all the willpower I have to keep making changes in my heart. I need to remember to turn my life over to God and let him lead me wherever he wants me to go.
I can start by doing my own thinking, and not letting others dictate what I should do.
I can pray every day and ask God to help me change my ways.
I can know in my heart that I can change.
I can remember to never say never.
I can work every day to treat people better than they treat me, I can learn how to love the ones who hate me, and be kind to the ones who have hurt me.
I have to humble myself, look within myself, because real change starts from within.
I have to keep my ego in check at all times, learn how to control my emotions and not always react to my feelings.
I need to have more space around my anger, and not let my anger get out of control.
How can I change?
I just need to keep making the change I want to see. Don’t try to change. Just do it. And then everything will fall into place.
I will change because I want to change, because I want to be the person God wants me to be. Because step by step, I see change every day. And I want more.