Heath tells his story. · Prison life

Inside Out Poetry Slam 2016

On January 22, 2017, Inside Out – A Poetry Reading was held before a sold-out crowd at Vino’s in Little Rock, Arkansas. This fundraising effort by decARcerate, (a grassroots community group focused on reducing the prison population in Arkansas through smart legislation and community action) benefitting Pipeline Documentary Film, a feature-length documentary film exploring Arkansas’s “Cradle to Prison… Continue reading Inside Out Poetry Slam 2016

Heath's Case

Omission or Oversight?

On January 18, 1997, just hours after the murders of Joe, Barbara, and Heather Stocks, interviews by investigators are documented to have begun; the first at 7:50 a.m., the last at approximately 8:15 p.m. According to documents of the Arkansas Police Department, Criminal Investigation Division (ASP-DCID), nineteen interviews were held at numerous locations; Arkadelphia Police… Continue reading Omission or Oversight?

Messages from Heath

Christmas Wishes from Heath

I wanted to wish everyone a Merry Christmas, and I hope that you will join me in praying that everyone shows more love this year. This is a time of year when we are called to remember others, celebrate the gift they offer of themselves in our lives, and also seek to give of ourselves to them. It doesn’t mean loading up the area under the Christmas tree, no, it means taking the time to give to each other what we need most to be all that we are meant to.

Even if you don’t believe in what Christians do, celebrating the birth of Christ as the ultimate gift from God, we are all called to love each other enough to give our time and money toward others well-being.

I know that you see the same news every day that I do, it is filled with stories of the world and how much love is missing for so many. Everyone has some idea or opinion about why the world is the way it is, and I know that in our advanced world everyone has the ability to reach out to more and more people easier. But, what I see from a place that is shut out of most of that, is a world where everyone is ever more focused on self.

Social media is about creating and projecting a persona that you wish the world to see and is often more about who you know or what you do than who you are.

           How many times do you find yourself more comfortable texting or emailing someone rather than calling them?

                        How weird do you feel asking someone to meet you somewhere so that you can talk face to face?

We are living in a world where everyone’s awareness is shrinking to what exists on a computer screen or phone, placing the whole world around them beyond their grasp or idea of reality. Virtual reality has become more popular than reality, the created more important than the Creator, and if that doesn’t seem familiar then you might want to stop and look around.

           Where are you today?

                     What matters to your life and what do you live for?

                               How often do you look up from what you are doing online to share with the world to be a part of the world?

Look around you, talk to those you see, hug someone and show them you care, and be mindful of the details of what life breathes. We might all take a moment as Christmas approaches, and ask ourselves who can we love more in our lives. What can we do to decorate the lives of those around us with as much attention and fanfare as we do the fake trees in our homes? What can you gift those people from heart to heart that causes them to light up from within to shine in happiness?

I had someone the other day ask me what I thought about everything that was going on today, and I paused to consider which part mattered most.

We have wars going on, terror attacks, kids getting shot in cars, racial division and hatred, religion is only popular if it is all-inclusive and embraces all, the minority is more important than the majority, and people are killing themselves in record numbers. How many people are seeking to lose themselves in pain meds or if they can’t afford the legal kind going to the illegal ones?

I see a world that is in need of something desperately and, in its absence, all manner of chaos is being used to fill in. We live in a country that was founded by people fleeing religious persecution in Europe, and today knowing God is about as unpopular as you can get. The founding fathers of this country used a moral code to lay out the laws and create its government, yet today more and more God is being cut out of everything. Is it because God is the blame for the state of the world today, or has the world come to see God through the eyes of those looking at believers to see HIM?

If the only God anyone ever comes to know is what they see in you, then what God are they going to see much less believe in? On a good day, I know that God deserves far better than the image I present to the world as a created creature in His image, yet I know enough to know that without His light in me, what light do I have to offer?

Is it me or is the whole world crumbling apart because we have become so focused on the parts that we no longer see the whole? When we remove God from the equation, what do we use as a moral guide for the better of the whole? Do we each engage in battles with others over who is right or wrong, and depending on our mood shame or blame everyone else?

God tells us, through His son, that the whole Bible hinges on two concepts. We are to love God with all our heart, mind, and soul; and we are to love our neighbor as ourselves. Jesus was asked what was most important by the priests that sought to trick and condemn him and He told them our whole lives should be purposed around two things. If you look at those two things, what in my list of woes is possible if everyone spent their days doing just those two things?

You have to love yourself enough to believe you need God, and then seek God’s love as a means of empowering you to love everyone else. We can’t love as we should without God, because what we see on the news is our best. You may disagree with me and that is fine, but I wanted to share with you what I see from the place I stand.

In prison, I am isolated from so much that is a part of your daily life; I don’t have access to the internet or a computer or cell phone. My life is complicated enough as it is seeking to connect, and not lose touch with anyone and the emails I’m able to send have been a God send. No message or letter or email or phone call, however, will ever give us what we need to be happy, and without love and its many affections, we get what we got, which is a world of individuals and groups that are focused on how we are all different, and not striving to see what makes us alike or how we can bridge the gaps.

So, I want to encourage everyone to do some thinking this year, and also set aside time to pray and ask God to guide you.

How can you bless someone in a way that sows love into their life and, by doing that,  in turn, enables them to do the same?

I also encourage you to tell people that you love them, and if they ask “why” you tell them it is what we are all meant to do. We were created to love one another, support and encourage each other, come together as a body with many parts equally important and needed by others to fully achieve what we were meant to.

Please tell everyone that God never wanted us to be apart or to judge others, but He asked us to love as He love us and that is unconditionally. If people don’t want to hear about God, then you do what you have to in order to reflect Him in your every action, word, and idea. Let them see a God that they want to seek out to inspire them to a life of greater meaning.

Let this be the year that you give the most priceless and important gift you can offer, and that is pure love that accepts people as they are and celebrates them for it. It is amazing what people are capable of when you show them you care and, once a heart has been stretched, it never goes back to its former shape.

Please have a Merry Christmas and remember each of you know someone that desperately needs your love. They need you to pull them close and remind them that they are special, and all it takes is you being brave enough to reach out. You can’t reach out if you are only worried about what is right before you, but the more you reach out to others the bigger the world is inside you. I pray you are the gift on someone’s list this year, and you offer them yourself in a way that blesses them continually.

I love you, too.

Heath