Photo Prayer 2021-22 -- Mistaken Identity

Once, in a prison exercise yard, I was mistaken for an inmate. The prisoner, about my age and height — he could have been my brother — approached me as a friend, asking what I was in for. “Just for the afternoon,” I said. “I’m just visiting.” Once the prisoner realized his mistake, he eased away, a bit embarrassed. For a moment though, in this man’s eyes, I was a fellow prisoner and a possible friend. That encounter still comforts me. I now know that even in prison I can expect to find others like me, willing to befriend me. Christians are supposed to visit those in prison. Is this the reason? To learn that they are like us, to see how little separates us from them? Should we visit corporate boardrooms as well?

Photo of Eastern State Penitentiary in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
Photo copyright 2013 and text copyright 2021 by Danny N. Schweers.

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Bill wrote:
Great last line! Thanks.

Pat wrote:
Loved the story. When I worked for Thresholds, I felt a real kinship with some of the women there.

Holly wrote:
I live just blocks from Eastern State! It’s fascinating. Wonderful shot.

Pamela wrote:
Danny, another lovely note. I agree whole heartedly!!

Anne wrote:
Brilliant reflection, Danny!

Helen wrote:
I think I may have more in common with prisoners than the corporate types. Good pic!

Rosemary wrote:
Danny, I’ve looked through many windows (worldwide) onto sunny vistas outside and tried to photograph what I saw. I could never capture the magic of the light. You have. Your photo is hauntingly beautiful. And your words are even more so. Thank you for the thoughts you present this morning. I want to look at that photo for a long time now.

Alice wrote:
Danny: A thought provoking message.

Bernadette wrote:
Yes. The Lord made the sun to shine on all of us and the rain to fall on all of us. We are all God's children. Judge not lest ye be judged.

Lawrence wrote:
Wow, great. Thanks!

Susan wrote:
You've really touched on something deep here. Your challenge to visit boardrooms really caught me off guard, but it is the flip side of the coin, isn't it? I don't like to admit it but I often feel better than or less than depending on the environment in which I initially meet others. And what I say or leave unsaid is affected as well. I'm not fully grown into my true humanity yet!

Stephanie wrote:
I too visited Eastern Pen and was struck by the stark eerieness of the place. You capture that so well in your photograph. There's something intriguing too about the focal point of an open door. Reminiscent of a Wyeth painting. You ask (and answer) why should we visit the incarcerated. As to boardrooms… I have a feeling those doors are a lot more fortified than our prisons. They are protecting power and prisons are only protecting humanity.

James wrote:
In order to see how little separates the board members and the prisoners?

Peggy wrote:
Love the textures and range of tones in your photo today. Love the prayer too especially since I’m working with some lifers to get Life without Parole eliminated in PA. Also working on getting Elder Lifers Released especially Viet Nam Vets. NY and CA have already passed legislation. When I was teaching photography at Henderson High in West Chester, I took my students by train to Eastern State for 13 years . Always visited Reading Terminal Market on our way!

Ernestine wrote:
This is a come to Jesus moment for both of you and more so for the visitor because anyone could be the prisoner at any moment in time. A consciousness moment. Boardrooms can have the same effect or affect.

Marti wrote:
How special! Thanks for sharing, Danny.

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