Have you ever loved someone, yet didn’t
Understand what “love” really meant
In all honesty it was the depth of her gaze
And that shy smile that had my heart rent

In the 8th grade I thought we were opposite in every way
As a mature man, I now realize that was the first of many mistakes
While I ran the streets, she kept praying for me to do right in God’s eyes

In my ignorance and fear of losing her, I attempted to drag her deeper
into my dark life

It took patience, pain, and time you see
That through blind love we’d…

This is one subject that many will agree; behind every great man stands an even greater woman. I purposely leave Amber and K.J. to finish their own love story. I have fallen victim to blind love. For the sake of respect, I’ll call her, “Cherry”. I loved Cherry but didn’t know that completely at the time. It wasn’t just sexual; the conversations, the time spent together, the incomplete plans, all played a role in this love. Yet Cherry saw in me what I refused to see in myself. She saw the man who could not only better his circumstances but hers also. She loved me with a vision of a life that had nothing to do with poverty, gangs, or the prison system. When I remained in those circumstances, Cherry, blinded by love, chose to stay with me in my mess, even though I was too immature to see the power of love, blinded by emotions that I couldn’t control. Cherry loved me enough to eventually let me go. I’ve learned from that loss. Love can enhance a man, give him responsibilities, make him accountable and provide his life with purpose.

I look at photos of families and realize that we are blinded to what is missing from the family dynamics; it is us, those blinded by love. Today I ask every man who has a woman he loves to hold her a little closer, appreciate her sacrifices and insights. Remain patient while you become the man that she needs you to be. To all my brothers behind bars like K.J., don’t allow the system to destroy you and your family. Because she loves you doesn’t give you the right to abuse that love. Fight for that love, desire that love like you desire freedom. Notice that you have lost liberties, money, and cars, but she remains true. Do not remain blinded to that love.

Amber Ray-Swoopes, happy birthday, I am personally witnessing a good man appreciate your love and I am watching him grow in it. Even though we were once blinded by love doesn’t mean we’ll remain so. I appreciate your example.