by guest blogger, Michael Steinhardt
Sometimes the time between Sundays seems like months apart in terms of trying to sustain my spiritual energy. Lately, I have tried looking around during the week for reminders of the last Sunday’s scripture message, my Catholicism, my spirituality, and God’s plan for my life. The result has been amazing; there are reminders all over! Take a look at the picture on this page; does it look familiar? If it does, it’s because it is the current sign posted weekly by Lakeside Supply, Inc. on the south side of I-94 in Waukesha.
Here are a couple of others that appeared the past few weeks:
“Exposure to the SON may prevent BURNING?”
“He who ANGERS you CONTROLS you!”
The literary form they often comprise is an adage, i.e., “a saying often in metaphorical form that embodies a common observation or experience.” Roadside signs are but one example and they come in all kinds of shapes, sizes and places. They don’t replace prayer and biblical readings, but they help me to stay on track and maintain my spiritual energy between Sundays.
I am old enough to remember Burma-Shave signs in the 40s and 50s along the highway that did the same thing, but have since given way to the electronic world and new age advertising that floods our modern day culture. Not more effective necessarily, but more plentiful!
Another place I find pearls of wisdom is in the morning paper. For example, I recently underlined a great quote in a Milwaukee Journal Sentinel op-ed piece where the writer quoted French philosopher Charles Peguy, namely, “Life holds only one tragedy, ultimately: not to have become a saint.” It may be a little heavy and too long for a poster outside Lakeside Supply, Inc., but it grabbed my attention and stuck with me so much that I clipped it out and pasted it to my computer.
The cartoon page is another spot I now check regularly. One of my favorites is Bob Thaves’ Frank and Ernest. He recently had the two buddies meeting their maker at the pearly gates who sadly reminded them “…but I do have these nice participation trophies for you.” Apparently, this came after being told they didn’t get the grand prize, i.e., eternal life! Dan Piraro’s Bizarro is another great source. Depicting a debate moderator and a group of candidates, he posed this question “As a gubernatorial candidate, what kind of guber would you be?” All adages don’t have to be spiritual; sometimes just a smile is enough!
Many of these reminders are founded in biblical writing and borrowed, restated, paraphrased, and updated with modern day vernacular. For example, “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge; wisdom and instruction fools despise” which comes from Proverbs 1:7 might have been the source of Gen. Colin Powell’s, “Get mad, then get over it.”
Have you seen things of the ilk I’m talking about that got you to thinking about bigger issues than the traffic or the weather or the Packers 53-man roster? Share them with your friends. It can be a modern day method of evangelization.