I could not escape the still, silent voice that gnawed at the core of my soul. It followed me wherever I went. At times the voice grew louder and at other times milder, but the voice always delivered the same message: "What are you going to do with your life?"
I tried to silence this still, nagging voice through a variety of illegal activities and soon become so consumed with a life filled with drugs and crime that I foolishly thought I had finally escaped that voice. I partied, traveled to exotic islands, opened a few businesses, and basically lived life by my own rules. All seemed to be going great until I was arrested and convicted as being the kingpin of a major drug distribution network. I was sentenced to life in prison with the possibility of parole after seven years. I was also stripped of my worldly possessions (cars, homes, businesses, jewelry, etc.). It was during this sentence that the voice returned. The message remained the same: "What are you going to do with your life?"
Then I learned of New York Theological Seminary's Certificate in Ministry program. It was in the dark chambers of a Sing Sing prison cell that I finally was able to identify the nagging voice that had haunted me for the majority of my adult life. After serving 12 years in prison and living a life of basic destruction, I've now learned to listen to that voice. I can still hear that silent voice, but the message has changed. It now says, "Julio, my son, continue to do my work." Julio Medina
JULIO MEDINA completed the Certificate in Ministry program and the NYTS master's program at Sing Sing. He was released from prison in October 1996 and now serves as a senior counselor at Reality House, a nonprofit substance treatment facility in Harlem.