Words do matter

This is one of those days when everything feels right. When I awoke this morning, it was about 10° – cold for here – but along with that came beautiful clear skies to frame the muted winter light on the  woods behind the house.

On the immediate agenda is to get outside for a quick run. Indoor work includes developing a reflection booklet for our Lenten Day of Reflection this coming Saturday. I have received several suggested quotes, poems, and passages on our selected theme. Our practice has been, for the past five years, to base our theme on a passage from the readings of the following Sunday. It works. The theme this year is robust: 

“Whoever drinks the water I shall give will never thirst.”   [Jn 4:14]

And, coincidentally, we have recently been given a hand-carved woman-at-the-well. The carver is an impoverished resident of Cite Soleil in Haiti. Definitely a center piece for our gathering space. This photo will be on the cover of our booklet as well.


On the home-front, we had a couple of kitchen cabinet hinges lose their plastic cam for spring closure. They simply fatigued and snapped off. In a matter of 20 minutes, or so, I found a source on the Internet (at 7 a.m., of all things)  and ordered 12 hinges. For one thing, we have assured no further breaks now that we have a ready reserve on the way. What did we do before the Internet?

Tomorrow is prison day. Recordkeeping is a must for me. On any given day, I’ll visit with 20-25 men, all of whom will be different from my last visit. During the year, however, the visits usually settle in around 80-100 offenders with several visits with each one. My folder includes seven years of visits on a spreadsheet. By the time I’ve updated the information the evening before I go down there, I’m ready to reconnect and listen.

One may wonder about the term “offender.” That is the term used by the Department of Corrections. I couldn’t agree more. The terms “prisoner” and “inmate” describe states of being. The term “convict” implies that something has been done to him or her. The term “offender” places the label, and the reason for it, where it belongs. Words do matter.

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