Friday, April 3, 2009


This very hour, this very day one year ago, I was kissing my husband good-bye, fighting tears, and going through the steel doors of the Federal Detention Center at SeaTac near Seattle. It was one of the most traumatic moments of my life. Every thing was stripped from me. I got to keep my glasses, and that was it. But I did still have my body and my mind and my spirit. And I knew I had a choice. I could choose how I would live in that environment and I could choose what I wanted to learn and bring out of that experience.

What a difference a year makes. It's Spring again in Wyoming, with all the heavy wet snows and the budding trees and the tiny green leaves of daffodils waiting patiently for their blanket of whiteness to melt. And I get to look back and reflect on a year unlike any other.

Such joy and such sorrow and such growth. How could I know that when I said good-bye to my Mom sitting in her blue recliner that it would be the last time I would ever see her in her home? The day I was released from jail, she went into the hospital and died 13 days later. And how much joy was felt when almost a year later, my oldest daughter married her love.

But the growth has not been without the pain. I am not comfortable now. I question more, have less patience with the wrongs in the world and wonder, more then ever, where my place in all of it should be.

I continue to try and read the signs. I have a new job, working a few hours a week at a clinic for the homeless. I consider the clients fellow pilgrims, who add joy and hope to my world. I write to prisoners and gather books for them and try not to forget that one out of every 31 adults in this country is in jail. And I returned to Georgia last Fall to continue my commitment to close down the School of the Americas. And I was witness to six new people who came forth and non-violently stood up and challenged injustice. They are currently serving their time in prison.

I am optimistic about this country of ours. I feel that justice and peace are more possible now then ever, and I am confident that this economic crisis will improve. As my 67th birthday approaches, I thank the Spirit for allowing my journey to include a side trip behind those steel doors. There are all kinds of gifts. Who would know that one of the greatest gifts was given to me one year ago this very hour when the doors clanged shut, leaving me locked inside.

Pax Tecum


flowingwithlife said...

I just recently found your blog and for some reason was compelled to subscribe to it. I thought it was because you the Brazil blog. After reading today's blog I now know why.

I went back in time to read why you were incarcerated and researched SOAW to have a better understanding of your decision. You are truly amazing to have taken such a stand and I see you as a role model for all who want to make a difference.

The research renewed memories of when I once I was more politically active and had read of this School that trains terrorist and wrote letters...etc. But then Bush was elected and I became very "disengendered" and walked away from the computer as an activist, saying I was too old and couldn't. Ha...and you are one year older.

I live in Baja and have recently become reactivated. This time against another example of American wealth buying and destroying the ecology of a local cultural site. Tiger Woods is to build a golf course on it. Nothing compared to your mission.
But it does stir my soul.

Thank you for sharing your life with us. I will remember your story.

tarable said...

This was an inspiring post Mom. Thanks for all you do.

The M Show said...

Wow, that's an incredible story! Is there any chance of making headway now with a new administration?

naomi dagen bloom said...

Thank you Joan for being our voice of protest.

yours, naomi in new york city