Skip to main content

Ottis Johnson: Life After 44 Years In Prison



Ottis Johnson was sent to prison at the age of 25 years old, and was released at 69 years old.


In 1970 a the young Ottis Johnson was convicted of the attempted murder of a police officer. A victim himself of the affects of poverty and lack mentality, which often leads to theft and violent behavior. He served his sentence, and was released in August 2014.


44 Year Sentence



Life in prison was hard. All choices were taken away. The world was passing him by, and the only evidence he had that people were still out there, living life, was the small window that all inmates shared. The one with channels that only the guards could choose from.

Ottis watched styles and major news events, come and go, To get a feel for the events that he watched through a television lens, see this time-line of major US Events just from 1970-1989.

When he went in, Richard Nixon was president. He watched Nixon become the first president in US History to resign from office, through that small black and white window. He watched other presidents come and go; Gerald Ford, Jimmy Carter, Ronald Reagan, George Bush Sr., Bill Clinton, George Bush Jr., and when he got out in 2014, President Barack Obama was in office.

Everything from the falling of the Berlin wall, gulf war, Y2K, and 9-11, were seen from the window of television.

Beyond the television, the only other knowledge he had was that of the guards, and the prisoners with shorter sentences who came and went over the years.

He lost all trace of his extended family, and has no way to contact them now that he is out.

Despite watching his entire life slip away without him, Ottis refused bitterness. He does not feel that society owes him anything. He committed a crime, and he paid his due time. He embraced the experience, and released anger through prayer and meditation.


I try to let that go. Deal with the future instead of dealing with the past.


Post Release Shock



So what shocked him most when he got out? What had changed on the street level from 1970 to 2014?

He was released by bus, and dropped off at Times Square, New York of all places. One of the strangest cities in the world.

There were television advertisements playing on the windows. Not on TV's behind the windows, but ON the windows. In 1970, you would see people walking back and forth inside the store, but not TV's.

Everyone had wires coming out of their ears. He was thinking "What happened? Did everyone join the CIA or become agents or stuff like that?" Because that's all he knew about wires in the ear in 1970.

Ottis laughed, " I was thinking, Why is everyone looking down at their phones? What do they call them... iPhones or something like that? How can you walk like that and not run into things?"

"I remember this, when I first got out. I was gonna make a call, and I seen the price on the pay phone was $1.00 (for 4 minutes), it used to be $0.25 when I went in?" Then he picked up, and found out that nobody even uses them anymore, and most don't work.

Grocery store options had exploded. Choices were limited in the prison system by design, but even with that aside; the choices from 1970 to 2014 were vastly improved. He said his hardest part of shopping is making up his mind. There's just so much. Boxed dinners. Gatorade in many colors. Peanut Butter and Jelly in the same jar.

At least they still had Skippy, that was familiar.



Conclusions:



This one gets to me, having had a brother who went through the prison systems before he died. What's funny is that he and I grew up the in same home, with the same parents. Somehow he would tell people that he "grew up on the streets", while I grew up in middle class suburbia.

It was his choice. He chose to leave behind one life for another. Other's make the choice to leave their hard neighborhoods and pursue a better life.

And yet we all live in various types of prisons. I was just re-reading a post I'd done a while back about Strongholds, which are prisons of the heart and mind. We are all in need of freedom, and freedom more abundantly.

How many things do we have today that we take for granted. What did you go through 10, 15, 30 years ago that God's grace allowed you to overcome? What are you not going through today, because He brought you out? And yet you are still complaining because you don't have everything you want?

Today, just a few days after Thanks Giving, the period of time that greedy shoppers are trampling each other for "stuff", let's go back and Thank God for the moments we have today, and for the things we are no longer burdened by, and the freedom we have gained so far.


Change is scary


Let's be grateful for the small things, like Skippy Peanut Butter, that remind us of the things that haven't changed.

Let's be grateful for the small things, like the Windows Tablet I'm writing this on, that have changed. They remind us of the comforts we have today, that we could not have imagined 20 years ago.


To hear Ottis for yourself:


He was interviewed in this video: My Life After 44 Years In Prison (HERE).




Your Turn: What's your story?


Tell the LIFE community about a story you encountered this week, and what you learned from it. 

Comment on this post, or Hit me up on Twitter @DarrellWolfe , Google +DarrellWolfe, Facebook DarrellGWolfe



Tweet These:
#TellYourStory#BeStillBeLed

By Darrell Wolfe

Storyteller, Creative, INFJIntellection, Ideation, Input, Learner, Achiever





For more book suggestions, see my Amazon Store:



Other Hobby Sties by Darrell:

Comments

Connect With Me

Popular posts from this blog

Freedom From vs Freedom ToBe

For many Freedom is understood through the lense if being free from...Addiction
Pain
Loneliness
Him/Her
The Situation
The Job
Debt
Poverty
Etc.So we follow the rat race seeking whatever we think will make us free. When that doesn't provide the freedom we sought, we seek another fix, and another... An endless cycle of seeking freedom but never being free.What if Freedom has nothing to do with whatever jail you are in, however you've defined your personal jail.What if Freedom is about becoming WHO you were always meant to be... And in that pursuit all the "other" (addiction, pain, the jails) falls off when you aren't even looking...You don't know when you got "free from", you just look back and realize you don't have all the issues you had. You have battles in front of you but you have definitely won some battles too, and you didn't​even notice you had won.It's as though the act of becoming a butterfly was so profound that you have trouble…

I Hate My Birthday... Is that wrong?

“Let the day on which I was born perish, And the night which announced: ‘There is a man-child conceived.’ JOB 3:3 AMPhttp://bible.com/1588/job.3.3.AMP
It sounds melodramatic when I read Job say it; however, this has basically been my complaint for as long as I can remember. Job 3 shows an entire chapter of him wishing he was never born and cursing his birthday. I've always hated my birthday too, often telling people to keep me off of birthday celebration lists and calendars. I've made due with life but wished I'd have left it long ago... That hasn't changed but I'm starting to get the sense that shell is cracking. Maybe, just maybe, I won't hate and despise my birthday in the future, maybe I'll learn to accept that I'm here on Earth and be happy about it? That sounds like a stretch right now. Right now I'm just content with being in a place where I'm feeling maybe being alive isn't all bad... That's a huge step up from my past 36.5 years.…

Logos, JPG's and More

The best Subheader EVER!
Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit. Pellentesque elementum at nibh vel placerat. Curabitur id efficitur dolor. Cras ac nulla elementum, laoreet erat ultrices, hendrerit magna. Duis vestibulum vulputate arcu accumsan consequat. Praesent ornare porta tellus, mollis ultrices ante euismod ut. Cras at augue ac est lacinia laoreet. Cras posuere auctor magna ac auctor. Suspendisse rutrum odio non placerat dictum. 
The best Minor Header EVER! Maecenas mattis ornare urna. In hendrerit lacus ac porta molestie. Etiam hendrerit sem et ante egestas, et imperdiet magna efficitur. Maecenas auctor orci lacus, eu porttitor tortor dictum sit amet. Nam rutrum malesuada dolor in fringilla. Aenean volutpat nunc quis libero dictum dapibus. Vivamus tristique eros eget velit malesuada rhoncus sed auctor tellus.

Quisque ac nibh leo. Vivamus quis arcu vitae nibh feugiat auctor a sit amet velit. Maecenas posuere tempor vehicula. Suspendisse tincidunt nunc a bibendum …

What doesn't kill you makes you stronger????

What doesn't kill you only makes you stronger.Ask a Vet with an amputated limb if they feel stronger now or before the limb was taken... I'd bet before. Injury, all injury, is by definition a lack of perfection. What doesn't kill you, more often than not,  makes you weaker, more timid, more cautious, slower... Not stronger.Sure, we can learn from the past, become more resilient. We can use pressure, under certain circumstances, to build resistance based strengths, like a body builder pushing back on the resistance of the weights... But by no means is the saying: "What doesn't kill you only makes you stronger" an accurate portrayal of Truth, nor should it EVER be spoken to someone in pain.The enemy comes ONLY to steal, kill, and destroy, that's why the pain/attack came, not to make you stronger but to kill you.God's Grace brought you through but He didn't bring you to...God's Grace can heal you too.Selah#LiesAboutGod

DNA Of The Heart | Church Notes

Heart Of The City Church May 6, 2017

DNA Of The Heart: http://bible.com/events/213349

==================================== Local churches mentioned in the Bible:

Antioch, Pisidia: Acts 13:14; Gal 1:2 Antioch, Syria: Acts 11:26 (Paul's home base) Athens: Acts 17:34 Babylon: 1 Peter 5:13; Acts 2:9 Berea: Acts 17:11 Caesarea: Acts 10:1,48 Cenchrea: Rom 16:1 Colossae: Col 1:2 Corinth: Acts 18:1 Crete: Titus 1:5 Cyrene: Acts 11:20 Damascus: Acts 9:19 Derbe: Acts 14:20; Gal 1:2 Ephesus: Acts 18:19 Hierapolis Col 4:13 Iconium: Acts 14:1; Gal 1:2 Jerusalem: Acts 2:5 Joppa: Acts 9:36, 38 Laodicea: Rev 1:11, Col 4:15 Lydda: Acts 9:32 Lystra: Acts 14:6; Gal 1:2 Pergamum: Rev 1:11 Philadelphia: Rev 1:11 Philippi: Acts 16:12 Puteoli, Italy: Acts 28:13-14 Rome: Rom 1:7 Sardis: Rev 1:11 Sharon: Acts 9:35 Smyrna: Rev 1:11 Tarsus: Acts 9:30 Thessalonica: Acts 17:1 Thyatira: Rev 1:11; Acts 16:14 Troas: Acts 20:6-7 

House Of Grace --------------------------- You want grace extended to you? Extend gra…

Topos Transitions

Transitions are rough. I've been through many seasons of my life where I had to make a transition. At each and every stage it was tough. There are always things you miss about the last season, things you are hoping for in the next season, and things you can't wait to be rid of in the season you're leaving behind.Whether you are sensing the winds of change blowing you out of your current situation, you are in the middle of the trip, or the winds are at your back and you settling in to your new spot... Remember this word: ToposTopos is a Greek word and it essentially means:Your strategic position of opportunity and influence.Make your Topos count today, wherever you are.Darrell




What is a Topos? A strategic position of opportunity and influence

What does Topos mean?Topos is a Greek word meaning: "Place, or Opportunity"
Properly:Any portion of space marked off, as it were, from surrounding, space Metaphorically: The condition or station held by one in any company or assemblyopportunity, power, occasion for actingA spot (general in space, but limited by occupancy; whereas chora is a large but participle locality). As used by me: Topos is a strategic position of opportunity and influence
Topos: Your Calling Everyone has a God given calling on this earth. There is something you were created and designed to do. What you are doing now may be "The Calling"; or, it may be the calling for this season of your life. Either way, you are either in your Topos, or you need to find it.

As you read the stories of biblical heros like Noah, Abraham, Joseph, Moses, David, Nehemiah, Peter, and Paul... etc... you find that God put them in the right place to do the right thing at the right time.

They ended up in their Topos, …

Valley Seasons Church Notes

Pastor JO

Heart Of The City Church
June 10, 2017
====================================
Mountains, Valleys & Plains Part 2
null
http://bible.com/events/230949
====================================
• You have to learn to live with and in the valleys.

II Corinthians 11:23-27 NKJV
Are they ministers of Christ?—I speak as a fool—I am more: in labors more abundant, in stripes above measure, in prisons more frequently, in deaths often. From the Jews five times I received forty stripes minus one. Three times I was beaten with rods; once I was stoned; three times I was shipwrecked; a night and a day I have been in the deep; in journeys often, in perils of waters, in perils of robbers, in perils of my  own countrymen, in perils of the Gentiles, in perils in the city, in perils in the wilderness, in perils in the sea, in perils among false brethren; in weariness and toil, in sleeplessness often, in hunger and thirst, in fastings often, in cold and nakedness—
http://bible.com/114/2co.11.23-27.N…

An eye on eternity...

Heart of the City Church

Church Notes from April 29, 2017
Living Life in the Light of Eternity: http://bible.com/events/210278
Guest speaker: Pastor Bob Johnson & his lovely wife, Cindy, with us this weekend from New City Church in Great Falls, Montana!
See Message Here



*These are my notes from church today using the YouVersion live app:

II Corinthians 4:5-16 NKJV For we do not preach ourselves, but Christ Jesus the Lord, and ourselves your bondservants for Jesus’ sake. For it is the God who commanded light to shine out of darkness, who has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ. But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellence of the power may be of God and not of us. We are hard-pressed on every side, yet not crushed; we are perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed— always carrying about in the body the dying of the Lord Jesus, that the life of Jesus …

Now I Lay Me Down to Sleep...

Idaho isn't all it was cracked up to be in my head. We got here with a few arguments along the way, but that's normal trip stuff. Once we arrived, nothing worked. All the apartments were gone, leased between 1 day and 5 minutes before we arrived. We were stuck at a hotel an extra two weeks. We eventually landed a small house with no central air, for more than we planned to pay before moving here, but it was clearly a God given find, so we took it.I'd been contacted over and over for writing contracts, once I got here, those calls vanished. I ended up at an amazing company, one I think I can make a great career with, but at half the pay I was expecting before moving to Idaho (the pay those writers contracts would have paid). We planned to attend a specific church, but once we got here it never clicked, never felt right. We found another, it's clicking, but there's a lot to miss about our home church in Texas. I miss nothing about Texas, except that church.So... Now …

About Me

My photo

Hi! My name is Darrell G. Wolfe. I am a wealth of random information and I make complicated things simple at DarrellWolfe.com.

I have a knack for absorbing information, breaking it down to its root elements, and teaching it to others.

Most importantly, I help purpose-driven people to understand their place in His-Story and provide them the tools they need to fulfill their unique position of opportunity and influence in this world (their Topos).