"How Can I Change?" by Michael McKinney

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.