It was the last day of my parole, and I was going completely crazy. The Saturday before I got a call in the middle of the night, it was from the parole office and they were asking why I wasn’t at home. I had an ankle monitor at the time and I was not supposed to leave the house after eight in the evening. The thing was I was in my house. I was actually in my bed asleep not five feet from the receiver box. I tried to tell the lady on the phone that, but she wouldn’t believe me. She said she had called my home number and I hadn’t answered. I asked her what number she called and when she finally told me it was my mother’s work number. My ditzy parole officer had entered in all my contact numbers in the wrong place, so with the monitor malfunctioning and the phone numbers wrong I had no way to prove I was obeying my curfew. The following Monday a warrant was issued for my arrest.
Can you imaging how stressful that was? I had less than one week left on parole and they issue a warrant for me because their equipment was faulty and personal incompetent. (Incompetent was my favorite word for all of the Texas Department of Criminal Justice.) Later, after pleading my case to the regional director he assured me that the warrant would be lifted. First my parole officer had to do some paperwork, but she was off for a few days. So I had to wait for her to get back to work. After she did her part he would have to do something and then pass it on, and so on. When she returned to work she told me she would take care of it as soon as possible, and she would come by on Friday to take the monitor off my leg.
I didn’t leave the house all that week. When Friday came I was dying from anxiety. I had been waiting for this day for ten years, but I had no idea if everything was going to work out or not. If I was arrested the judge could well send me back to prison, and I would have to serve out the time I had already done on parole again in prison. All for a mistake that THEY made! I would miss Thanksgiving and Christmas, my first with my family. Yeah I was stressed out. I tried calling my parole officer to see when she was coming, and if she had gotten the warrant lifted yet, but I couldn’t get her on the phone. I tried all day, but never got a hold of her. I was losing it.
So there I was literally pacing the floor, I noticed a couple of Indian flutes on the bookshelf. My family is very proud of our Indian heritage, and they have paraphernalia all over the house. I had been very interested in the flute as a child, but I never tried to play one. I wondered if they had any videos on YouTube that would teach me how to play. So I picked up one of the flutes and went over to the computer and looked up Indian flute. I got a jumbled response so I put in a more specific search, “how to play native American flute” (fyi: most Native Americans I know still came themselves Indians. If people get confused about which kind of Indian we say “feather, not dot,” [yeah, yeah not the most politically correct thing to say, but who cares]) To my delight dozens of videos appeared! I watched a couple of beginners videos and before you know it I was playing the flute!
I played that flute all day long, and as I played all my stress and anxiety was taken away. There is something about that sound that is a medicine for the soul. For the first time in my life I understood what Indian medicine really is. It isn’t a new age kind of thing like crystal healing, but something that heals the mind and the spirit. The flute is sometimes called a medicine flute (or a love flute.)
That day I discovered a new way to pray. By playing that flute I was pouring out all my worries and troubles out and transforming them into music for God.
Late that night my parole officer finally came by. I cut the monitor off my foot and she took it away forever. I was finally free. (She still hadn’t started the process to get rid of the warrant, so I still didn’t go out much for a while.) For Christmas my grandmother gave me a beautiful flute of my own which I have working into my daily prayers.