13 October 2011

Signs, Signs, Everywhere a Sign



About a mile north of the jail, on 4th/5th and Pine Streets, there are signs everywhere. Occupy Seattle has been busy. There are all sorts of negotiations going on (the Mayor is accused of trivializing the basic outrage and turning it into "camping violations") but the mood continues to be fairly upbeat.

Across the street from the jail is the County Administration Building. It is often the backdrop for one of the TV news reporters covering a court case. (City Hall's spot is the next block.) I'm used to seeing those TV folks making their stand in the late afternoon, preparing for the evening news.

Yesterday, though, there was a young woman standing out on that sidewalk with a big bright green sheet of poster board. She tilted it up so it could be read by someone on the upper floors of the jail. On the poster board: CALL ME. When she flipped it over, it read: 
I'M SORRY. -----  I CAN SEE YOU. She stayed for a long time, holding up first one side, then the other. 

I wondered how many people in the jail saw her message, maybe thought it was meant for them, maybe took heart that someone was willing to re-establish contact.

We're looking for signs all the time. I'm still waiting for that billboard that says, "Dear Shannon, do ________________________. Love, God." Wouldn't that just be so much easier? 

Every now and then, I get reminded that I'm looking for outward signs and they just aren't all that visible. I get to hear stories and discover what God is writing in hearts every day. That's sign enough. For today.

05 October 2011

Seen on 4 North

NO WHINING ZONE.

GO CRY
SOMEWHERE ELSE.


I'm reminded of the time a new bishop came to the diocese. Before too many people had had a chance to meet him, the word was already out. "No whining." No matter who he met with, that was his theme.

When he came to our parish, I had a chance to greet him privately. I gave him this button. That he didn't laugh spoke volumes.

 

04 October 2011

In Honor of the Feast Day

It's the feast of St. Francis of Assisi. This painting is thought to be very close to what he actually looked like. It is at eye level in the Lower Basilica of St. Francis in his home town. In the midst of angels and heavenly thrones, you could almost mistake him for another tourist.  Once I thought I caught him rolling his eyes as if to say, "Can you believe all this stuff??"

Francis went off to war a couple of times in his young life, once against a neighboring city, Perugia. He was captured and spent time in prison. It wasn't an easy time.

I think of Francis often at the jail. I meet so many people who were pretty set in their lives: having a good time, certain they were doing the right thing, spoiled, the life of the party. And now they're in jail. The story of "Frenchie from Assisi" comes in handy.

And who knows what saints are being made within these walls today? I know I've met some.

A note: I went to Google thinking to look for a picture of the prison Francis was in. Into the search engine I put "St. Francis AND prison." Here's what came up as the first hit: when St. Francis went to prison

I understand Frank was a wonderful tease...