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How is Restoration like Riding an Ostrich?

April 28, 2011

Post by Susan Mwarabu

The inelegant act of riding an Ostrich is one that requires a sense of humor, adventure and healthy serving of humility. Visualize riding a big wild chicken that doesn’t slow down and you pretty much have the idea.  My own ride is one I don’t plan on repeating anytime soon. For me it was a harrowing experience filled with the danger of being catapulted off unceremoniously. Even when I managed to stay on, I was bounced  and jiggled until it felt like my brain had turned to mash.  My ride was also a real crowd pleaser for those fortunate enough to be on the sidelines.  I did have some help from two not-so-gentle handlers who ran along on either side of me, providing the hope of some human safety should the big bird succeed in getting me off its back.

Ostrich farm in Kitengela

Restoration can be very much like riding an Ostrich.   When going through the journey of recovering your life after an incarceration, a sense of humor, adventure and humility is often times necessary.  The definitions are not designed to fit dictionary meanings but to give a perspective of how one could face a very challenging experience.

  1. Humor:  Laughter has a way of making even the most serious of situations bearable.  A sense of humor makes it easier to get up and face the world and take on challenges. Sometimes thinking of some episode that makes you smile can give you the strength to keep moving.  You could always try picture yourself riding an Ostrich.
  2. Adventure: There’s no doubt that a felony on one’s record creates limits and shuts some doors. But the restoration phase of your life can also be your chance to reinvent yourself. Have you always wanted to get a GED or apply for work in a new field? This is your chance. If the world writes you off, then it might also be offering you a chance to re-write your story. Who do you want to become and how will you get there?
  3. Humility: We all want to be accepted. We all want everyone to think good things of us. The truth is, when you are an ex-offender these and many other worries are part of your existence. In this situation, humility is submitting to the process and letting things run their course. This means not constantly battling with whether people will accept you or not.  Accepting things as they are as you work through the necessary steps towards achieving your goal will help you weather the rejection you might have to experience before the acceptance.   It is the “Get it Done” attitude. Just get out, get the job done and don’t worry too much what people are thinking.

The fact that you will be starting over gives you the chance to reinvent yourself. You might be bounced around, uncomfortable, catapulted out of your path, and you may even have an ever-present audience, always watching to see what happens.

I see Amicus as playing the role of the two handlers, helping you ride  your Restoration Ostrich.  Amicus will run along beside you, providing you with a helping hand when you find yourself leaning too far one way or another, but the Ostrich can only take one passenger and that is you. Should you fall, and you might, looking back and taking the lessons from the experience will help you forge forward so you can create new experiences.

Do you have other ways you might see this journey that could be helpful to someone experiencing it?

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