Friday, May 27, 2011

Moments of grace

The only real prison is fear, and the only real freedom is freedom from fear. Aung San Suu Kyi
I visited the other day with a man who spent 23 years in prison for a sex-related murder he didn't commit. He was 16 when he went to prison. 39 when he was released though it would be another five years before he was exonerated and cleared of the murder for which he spent so many years behind bars.

He is not a bitter man.

He is not twisted nor hell-bent on revenge.

He is kind. Caring. Gentle.

I asked him, "How have you kept your... freshness."

"I like that word," he replied before going on to tell me of his struggle to find the light and how now, having found it, he will not, cannot step into the darkness again.

He has a philosophy for it -- the fire philosophy. "Every day you have to put something into the fire that will fuel your dreams. Keep putting things into the fire, no matter what, and eventually you'll get the future you dream of."

I am in awe.

For this man, giving people the opportunity to experience moments of grace is a calling, a quest, a necessity. "We all need to experience moments where we know we are special," he told me. And he is committed, read that, compelled, to help others find their moments.

And he does. Help others. It's in his DNA.

Not the DNA that was found in the semen on the dead woman's clothing. That belonged to another man who eventually was convicted and imprisoned for that brutal murder along with several other sex offences.

His DNA is one of truth and justice. Of helping his fellow human being find those moments of grace where they know -- they have significance, they are significant. They count.

He helps people shine and being in his presence I felt the glow of greatness. Of significance. Of truth and beauty of the human spirit in flight.

I am in awe.

And I am humbled by this gentle man who has found that state of grace to give back so that others can receive.

Here's to you David Milgaard. You are a true Canadian hero and I thank you for the light you shine with such grace and ease you illuminate the path for all of us to follow.


Hope said...

yes, for sure! a truly inspiration man!

thank you for sharing this, Louise!

Fi said...

Thank you for sharing David's story - how incredibly strong of this man. Not sure I could be as giving or even as forgiving in the same situation

Cheryl said...

Reading this is a gift, our moment of grace. Thank you.

Anonymous said...


great piece/peace talk


Maureen said...

Your strength as a writer always come through in pieces like this. You give humanity to individuals others never see.

Reading that timeline is chilling. To be able to express such hope and belief after more than two decades behind bars is to leave one in awe.

How did you come to meet with Milgaard?

S. Etole said...

that is true grace ...

Patricia said...

Everyday put something in to fuel the fire... priceless and true.

Anne Lang Bundy said...

There is no explanation for why supreme hardship makes some people bitter and some people better--no explanation but God's grace.

What a fitting post for Glynn to highlight.