• John & Vivett Dukes

Dispel The Shame by: Vivett Dukes

I used to be ashamed of my relationship with John, ashamed of our marriage. Not because there was anything internally troubling going on. Quite the contrary. I had found more peace spending time with and getting to know him in that prison visiting room  than I'd ever experienced in my life. The paradox of that still touches me deeply.

 The shame I felt came from my fear of what others would think when they found out that my husband is incarcerated. I even contemplated not wearing my wedding band in hopes of throwing people "off our track". I feel horribly just writing that. It's was such a toxic mindset. I'm so glad I'm not in that mental, emotional, or spiritual space any more. 

I look back in hindsight on that period of this journey that we're on now, and I am so grateful that I evolved from there with the help of God and John. I recall John telling me when I posed the question to him "What do I say when people ask me about you?" with all kinds of angst and apprehension in my voice, that I needed to speak my truth. I needed to care less about what people might think and more about the truth of the love, respect, friendship, admiration, and sincerity of our marriage and partnership, regardless of the circumstances. He told me that only when I embraced the truth wholeheartedly and unabashedly in all areas of my life would I be able to live fully as my optimal authentic self.

The counsel of his wisdom changed me -- once I embraced it. It wasn't overnight; but the more I spoke my truth, the more I witnessed others "confessing" their truths. I began to feel healed and see the same healing render true for others, as well. John was right. He dropped a jewel on me in that conversation that has forever changed me for the better. His counsel, though profound, really wasn't new. 

As a Christian, I was taught that the truth is the pathway to freedom. Somewhere along the line, I'd lost that knowledge. To be honest (no pun intended), I never really learned that truth for myself. I had only heard it and read it. It was John who taught truth to me through the way he lives his life -- in truth and in love. He leads by example. I knew I could trust him because God was leading him.

Today, and everyday, I encourage each of you to speak ya truth -- no matter how ugly or unbecoming or tragic it may be. It's yours. Own it. The lessons in your  truth are there for you to learn, grow, heal -- and share. You're not alone. Love ya. #SpeakYaTruth

Therefore each of you must put off falsehood and speak truthfully to your neighbor, for we are all members of one body. Ephesians 4:25, NIV

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