Tuesday, June 30, 2020

"I'm Counting Down The Hours Now..."

Nearly fifty years ago, a priest I had come across somehow in my work as a prison abolitionist invited me to lunch. I was puzzled by the invitation because I was still in my twenties and thought of being invited to lunch as a "date." I didn't think priests went out on "dates," but here we were, over sandwiches and sodas in a small-town diner, chatting about this and that after he assured me that, "No, indeed, priests don't date," prompting me to ask, "Then why are we here?"

He laughed, responding with a question of his own: "You're trying to close the prisons so the prisoners can all go home...right?"

"Yes," I nodded without a smile, having no idea where he was headed with this.

"Well...when they all go home," he went on, now looking earnestly into my face with real concern in his eyes, "where will you go?"

I don't remember if I tried to answer him or, if so, what the answer was, but as I recall, we parted company shortly after that and I don't remember ever seeing him again. Perhaps he saw asking that question as his priestly duty for some reason (as some version of an attempt to save a woman from herself) or perhaps he was just curious, wondering why I chose this sacrifice instead of marrying God.

I've recalled this question through the years, no closer to an answer than I was back then -- until last week, when I received a JPay email from a prisoner in Angola.

"I have been granted parole," it read. "I entered Angola at 16 and I am now 46. I will call you when I get out."

Monday, June 15, 2020

Get In Where You Fit In When You Stand Up For Your Rights

“Most people think that Great God will come from the sky
and take away everything and make everybody feel high.
But if you know what your life is worth,
you would look for yours on Earth.
Get up, stand up. Stand up for your rights.” ~ Bob Marley

When all else fails, YouTube comes to the rescue for me. I don’t know what I did without it before some saint or entrepreneur or whatever devised it for the rest of us. But this morning, I was struggling my way through my 14th week of hardcore self-quarantine alone, alternately depressed and agitated, when I went to YouTube to find a few meditation videos before I punched somebody in the throat or killed myself.

I found a couple of beautiful videos, posted one to Facebook, and then, as I got ready to post the one above on there, as well, I realized that I miss blogging. Blogging takes more time, more crafting, more thought, more reflection, more passion, more commitment, more of myself. So slowly but surely, as I worked what amounted to two full-time jobs for the past fifteen months, I blogged less and less, throwing up someone else’s work or an occasional video and once in a blue moon, I actually wrote something.

But I’m going to change that. Beginning today.