Day 62 (COVID-19 Quarantine) – Easter Week Six
Signs, Signs, Everywhere Signs…
Several years ago I read an awesome book by Leonard Sweet, Nudge (2010), and for the first time, heard the word semiotics.
Semiotics is the study of signs and sign-using behavior. One of its founders, the Swiss linguist Ferdinand de Saussure, defined it as the study of “the life of signs within society.” Based on “semiosis,” semiotics is the relationship between a sign, an object, and a meaning. The sign represents the object, or referent, in the mind of an interpreter. “Interpretant” refers to a sign that serves as the representation of an object. Signs can be verbal (words) or nonverbal. (from C.S. Pierce, Selected Writings, 1958).
I realize that might be a mouthful of words, but everything everywhere is telling a story all the time. Hyperbole? Maybe… Maybe not.
During the great COVID-19 Quarantine of 2020, I have taken up a new discipline. I try to get out in the early mornings for walking. The fresh morning air is good for me and because of the quarantine and social distancing requirements; going to my favorite gym is not permissible. I use the walking time to practice an aspect of mindfulness. One of the “life postures” I hold to is the belief that God is always speaking. The ways that God might choose to communicate with me are myriad; some are subtle and other ways not so subtle. God is the Great Communicator and I am the humble receiver. Therefore, understanding that there is always a message to be received, I should stand ready for said message and live with a posture that “pays attention to how I listen.”
I write all this to explain, while on my walks, I am looking…listening…hearing with my eyes, nose, and heart, as well as with my ears. I am parsing all things, as best as I am able, through my intellect and through my “heart.” I am allowing my emotions to play an interpretative role. I give permission to my memories and experiences to listen and give voice to this conversation and witness of signs and their subsequent translation.
I took some photos of my walk from yesterday morning. I don’t intend to shed light on my interpretations of these signs. I share them to encourage you, the reader, to look and interpret more broadly in the world that you live, move, and breathe.
I find myself on some occasions, not seeing or hearing anything when I walk. When this occurs, I immediately recognize the reason for the “silence” is my distraction or lack of attention. I recall one of my takeaways from the book, The Practice of the Presence of God by Brother Lawrence, was that we can live in and take with us everywhere we go, the active presence of God. He is always with us and dwells within us. When my heart and attention is turned to God actively, I hear from Him in a thousand times a thousand different ways. When I am not actively “tuned in” to God, I rarely hear from Him at all. This is a simple and profound truth. I want to live always and forever, tuned in. For me, this is the essence of praying without ceasing and living in the sacrament of the present moment. Kairos… God time. The time of perfection, peace, and union with God.