I have always been fascinated by criminals. I visited Alcatraz once. I wrote a ten-page paper on Charles Manson during my freshman year of college in an American studies class called The Good Life; it was about utopian societies. (For those who need a further explanation, this class was to study societies and what they considered “the good life”. The groups studied were not condoned by the students.)
I was thrilled to receive this advance reader copy of Lessons from San Quentin. Author Bill Dallas expressed openly his experience and fear living in San Quentin. Dallas went from being a successful real-estate entrepreneur to a prisoner at the oldest and most renown prison in California. It’s the largest and only death row in the United States. Scary stuff. Dallas became a transformed man through his friendships with the “lifers” as they were known, men who were serving life sentences. These lifers led Dallas back to the Lord and gave him hope. He went from being sad and self-pitying to encouraging and full of life.
Dallas shared uplifting stories that carried him through the days and made him realize God had not forsaken him. He told of an inmate, Vy, who was in prison because Vy was a scapegoat to a crime he did not commit. Vy would not turn in the mastermind and after a few years, crossed paths with the mastermind. Vy showed forgiveness. That act of forgiveness taught Dallas and me, the power of letting go. If a man has been robbed of his life and he can show forgiveness, anyone should be able to do the same. This was found in the chapter Find Freedom in Forgiveness and other titles such as Shape Your Attitude, Get Rid of Self-Absorption, and Make Life Simple.
A gem of a book, read it. I will have this book on my shelf as a reminder of my inabilities, what I have yet to learn, and the wonderful life I have.