Well, my friend, not much good news this time:
Three dear friends of mine died, one right after another. My wife of 20 years filed for divorce. I have to win my appeal by February or I’ll be procedurally barred forever. We had to pause our legal fight because we couldn’t raise enough money. It’s almost Christmas, and I’ve lost contact with both of my children.
Sorry to dump on you. But it’s honest. You have always been so full of hope, kindness, and encouragement. I thought you should know what’s happening.
3 FRIENDS DIED
When my 3 friends died out there, I really felt just how short and precious life and relationships are. Knowing it in your head and feeling it in your heart are worlds apart. I felt this. But God seemed to whisper to me “Fear not. Time only runs out on bad things. Because all that is good, and pure, and lovely is timeless and eternal.”
Peace comes from taking God at His word, and trusting the path He set for our lives. My mother told me “What God allows, God redeems.” She is right. Even if it’s subconscious, we can’t hate what happens to us without also hating the God who allowed it. If we truly love and trust God, we have to purposely accept life as a whole — receive the delights along with the sufferings. Nevertheless, when I do get out, I want to make it a point to attend more weddings than funerals. Little private personal goals like that help make our lives more meaningful. Don’t you think?
Here’s what I wrote when my friend Art died, since I could not be at his funeral:
I just got the sad news that Art Rothe died of a sudden heart attack yesterday.
Art and Becky Rothe had been close friends of my parents since they were all newlyweds back in the 1970’s. Their oldest son, Levi, was born around the same time I was. We were babies in the church nursery together. Then we rode our bikes together, fished in the same pond together, and grew up side by side. When my family moved to Alaska, Levi followed with us a few years later, and lived in my and Marti’s basement until he got married. I performed Levi’s wedding ceremony. Levi is like one of my brothers. And his dad, Art, was an icon of my childhood.
Art had many good qualities. But what stood out the most about him was his love. The natural and authentic kindness he exuded was so powerful it could stare down all the seething demons of Hell without flinching. That’s what Art taught me; That if there is enough love in your heart, there won’t be any room for fear. He was the living and breathing proof of the verse “perfect love casts out all fear.”
When I was a boy of perhaps 6 years old, I was sleeping over at Levi’s house. I rolled over and fell out of Levi’s top bunk in the middle of the night and gashed my eye on the sharp corner of an open dresser drawer. (I still have the scar.) No sooner had I heard the crash of my own fall in the dark, than Art had dashed in, scooped me up in his arms, and was stopping the bleeding. I’ll never forget the sound of his voice that night, and the sight of my blood on his hands. He said five simple words, “Schaeffer, we love you buddy.”
Last month I called my father’s phone while he was at a church reunion down in Colorado. Art and Becky were there. I had not heard Art’s voice since I’d been thrown in prison almost 12 years ago. As I was talking to my dad, I heard Art’s laugh in the background. My heart leapt at this familiar sound. It reached into this dungeon and reminded me of who I am and where I belong. “Art is here” said my father. Knowing that it would violate prison rules to pass the phone around the room to people not on my approved contact list, my father was simply quiet for a moment. In the background, Art said five simple words, “Schaeffer, we love you buddy.” Art’s voice came out of the ether of time and space, and with those five simple words brought me full-circle back to that night in the bunk bed when he came to rescue to comfort me.
I am told that Art sat down on the edge of his bed moments before the heart attack. It must have hit him like the crash in the night hit me when I was 6 years old and rolled out of Levi’s bunk bed. If I had been there, I would have taken Art in my arms and spoken those same five simple words as he passed, “Art, we love you buddy.”
— Schaeffer Cox
~~ MY WIFE OF 20 YEARS FILED FOR DIVORCE ~~
You have no idea how hard it is for me to even write this paragraph. (Or maybe some of you do.) I don’t want to tell anyone this. It’s that disheartening. I’m stuck in a loop, wishing it wasn’t true. But it won’t go away. This year would have been our 20 year wedding anniversary. If I hadn’t been served divorce papers.
I absolutely loved that girl with all my heart. She was so pretty and smart and capable. We really did have an amazing life together. More than anything, I just wanted to be a good husband, give her a happy wonderful life, and bless her every way I could. I did a pretty good job — till the FEDs sent me to prison, and it dragged on for years. I think rather than endure the hardship of all this, she’s trying to erase the pain by erasing me. She quit answering the phone. Letters get no response. It’s just an abyss of silent nothingness. Not even an echo. It’s humiliating to think you were worth fighting for, then find out you weren’t. There is nothing quite like the feeling of being dumped by someone you adore. But that’s the least of my worries. What about the kids? They didn’t just want their father back; they wanted their family restored. Now what? They still need their dad back. But their mother has moved on. Her mind’s made up. I wish I had some sage insightful thing to say here, but I just don’t. My parents stayed married. Their parents stayed married. My brothers stayed married. I know how to stay married. I have no idea at all how to be divorced. What advice do you have? I’m listening.
~~ BARRED FROM APPEALS AFTER FEBRUARY ~~
Last time around, we couldn’t raise enough money to keep fighting. I can’t even tell you how hopeless and scary that felt. Especially with the added urgency of losing contact with my kids around the same time. Now, come February, we have to either win, or give up the fight. If you have been meaning to donate, now’s the last chance. It’s urgent. Could you afford $150?
Back in the 1990’s the Clinton Administration signed a bill called the Anti-terrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act, or “AEDPA.” It states that after your direct appeal, you only have a 12 month window to over turn your case. After that, it’s set in stone and you aren’t allowed to challenge it. Even if you bring in clear and convincing proof of your innocence, the court will point to the AEDPA and say “We aren’t even going to look at it. You had your chance. It’s too late. Get out.”
I’ve seen innocent people serve LIFE — or be executed! — because they were a few month’s late producing the proof of their innocence. And they were innocent! This is a HORRIBLY unjust set of court rules. It sacrifices human beings on the alter of “process.” But it’s how they operate. And my time window closes in February!! If $150 is too much, could you perhaps afford $99? Even $10 would make a difference right now.
If we don’t reach our goal, and make that window in the next couple months, you might not hear from me for a while. I’ll have no choice but to put my head down and do the time. But if we DO reach our goal, you’ll get a postcard saying I’m out, with my new phone number so you can call me!
The good news is that the general public are finally seeing the FBI for what they are. With the way they keep going after Trump and any other patriotic conservatives who love America, how could anyone NOT see the corruption?
These days the CRIME is being a conservative; the PUNISHMENT is the FBI fabricating a false narrative about you. You see it in the raid on Trump’s house. They did the EXACT same thing to me. EXACTLY! The FBI won’t go after known criminals. But they’ll spend billions of YOUR tax dollars to marginalize, villainize, terrorize, and criminalize God-fearing conservatives.
The Deep State’s so-called “investigations” are all drumroll and no magic trick. They never do accuse you of an actual crime. They just insinuate that you’re a bad person. Then it’s off to prison you go. The only thing they have to prove is that you aren’t one of their own. Which, decidedly, I am not! Neither is most of the country!
Fortunately, witnessing this unfold on the national stage has caused some good people within the government to wake up. I can’t share details — because they might suffer retaliation — but there are some righteous people at the very highest levels of government who know the injustice that’s been done to me and have made it their personal mission to help me get out of prison. They have the evidence that will get me home, and they have been giving it to us.
But we can’t afford the lawyers to follow up on this golden opportunity we’ve been given by these honest insiders.
We fell short of the $6,800 we had to raise. When the pandemic hit, everyone had their own situations to worry about. Donations dried up, and we had to put things on hold. We are basically out of funds. And now we are right up against the AEDPA-end-of-the-road. This is it. It’s do or die.
If we can’t win right now, the fight is over.
If half of us stretched and were able to give $150, we could make it. If EVERYONE gave just $10 we could make it. What’s doable for you right now? Is $21 within reach?
Because of your help, we have accomplished a lot. Thanks to you, we got my time cut in half. Thanks to you, Trump knows about my case. (I even hear he signed my pardon, only to have an insubordinate bureaucrat refuse to process the batch of pardons it was in.) Thanks to you, I got moved out of the secret black-site prison. Thanks to you, this injustice has already been reduced to something survivable.
Every time we fight, we get a small victory. It’s encouraging. But the kids don’t comprehend all that. They just know they need their father back RIGHT NOW. Would you be the savior and put $39 towards that cause?
~~ $1 BILL CHRISTMAS CARD FOR MY CHILDREN ~~
Would you help me send a Christmas gift to my son and daughter? I’ve enclosed a card with a $1 bill in it. Would you please put a second $1 bill with it, and send it, so that Seth and Bri can open it up and both have a dollar? If I could afford to send you two dollars, I’d have sent you two. But that’s all I have. If enough people reply, Seth and Bri will have a nice Christmas, and know their father is thinking of them, and still trying to get home. I can’t be there for them. But you can. Would you please?
My son, Seth, is getting older. Maybe he will buy his own cell phone plan with the Christmas money. That way I can call him. He doesn’t want presents; he wants his dad back.
One of the last things Bri said to me was; “Nothing seems to go right when you don’t have a dad. I wish you were here!”
There won’t be any more chances to make a difference after this letter. Would you like to make a $100 difference? Or a $89 difference? Or $10, or $110 difference?
At this point, the timing is more important than the amount. Early on, big donations made a BIG difference. Right now at the end, it’s timely donations that will make the big difference. This is the end of the fight.
The final punch. The final act of kindness. Can you end with a $150 punch? A $150 act of kind mercy?
With your help, we are making progress towards a worthy goal. My heart is overcome with gratitude. Thank you so much. I know we have had some big wins. Please don’t think I’m not grateful, or have lost sight of that. But the fight is over if we don’t win by February. Can you splurge and donate $150 in this final hour? The opportunity won’t come around again.
I love you with the love that only comes from having been through Hell together. Thank you for staying in this foxhole with me.
Would you send this card with $2 in it to my children in time for Christmas? And, a donation to help me keep fighting? Please?