February 15, 2008

Evil Weed

This photograph has not been retouched or modified in any way. I was observing the destruction of some illegal drugs this morning and this is the last photograph taken before I left the scene. While looking through the photographs this afternoon with a co-worker he noticed the image in the flames. I have often looked at photographs that supposedly contain strange images with a great deal of skepticism, but not this one. I took this photograph and I am stunned by what it seems to contain. I have no doubt that there are creatures that inhabit our world with us that we cannot see. The Holy Scriptures are full of stories of visits to our reality by heavenly creatures.

I am NOT saying that this is some otherwordly creature but I will go out on the proverbial limb and say that this looks to me very much like some sort of skeletal creature either in or fleeing from the flames.

Witnessing the destruction of so much cocaine and marijuana was a sad yet joyful experience. Glad because we are able to take so much of this poison out of our community and out of the hands, bodies and minds of our children, our neighbors and even our friends. And yet sad because there is so much available here in our little corner of the deep South. It took the better part of two hours to burn it all. And a few months down the road we'll do the same thing again. We stand in the breech only to see the walls crumbling around us. So many families split asunder. So many lives ruined.

Every year I have the honor to speak to several classes of students who are graduating from the D.A.R.E. program. I try to emphasize to these fifth graders that most of the people in our county jail are there because of some tie to drugs or alcohol. Either from stealing and burglarizing to feed a habit, or from beating and/or abusing an innocent (and sometimes not so innocent) bystander.

Recently I have taken an orange jail jumpsuit and a set of leg irons with me as a visual aid. I tell them that this lovely orange one-piece jumpsuit will be their duds and the leg irons will be their bling-bling. It always gets a laugh but I think it also makes the point. Sadly I know that in some cases I am preaching to the choir. Some of these children are already intimately familiar with what drug and alcohol abuse does to a family.

As for the figure in the flames, it may just be a photographic fluke. Most likely it's just an interesting conversation piece. But I know that the destructive demon that hides in the marijuana, the cocaine and all their kin is all too real, all too ready to burn all who dare to accept their seductive embrace.

Lord have mercy, Lord have mercy, Lord have mercy.

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