Monday, August 8, 2011

Pay It Forward: Shannon, the Jail Chaplain

The first murder I covered as a newspaper reporter was in 1990. By happenstance, (or maybe not)  I had interviewed the charming 17-year-old boy, Charles Hardison (shown above), just a few days ago before he was found shot to death in his mother's basement.

The long feature article I was working on about his success as a tennis player and student leader had not yet even been published. After his murder, I was able to visit his home and sit with his mother as she told me more about her son's short life. I never will forget the sound of Adlene Hardison's voice, the sad look in her eyes and the tidiness of her bedroom, where her Bible lay on her nightside table.

I was 27 at the time. As I have grown older, I have come to understand that everyone on this planet suffers in some measure. In fact, you could say we were created to suffer, or at least to never truly feel fulfilled in this life. I have come to believe that the answer to our pleas for understanding, for fulfillment, for meaning, for solace, is Christ.

One person who sees the wounds of Christ every day in her job is a woman named Shannon, who  works as a jail chaplain in Tacoma, Washington. Shannon's blog is called "Finding Grace Within." She posts maybe once or twice a month. Every one of her posts moves me deeply. A post last week, called "Truth in the Margins" is about the writing she finds in the used Bibles of men who have spent time in jail.

I encourage you to read this post and let Shannon know what you think of it.

This post is in response to Holly @ A Life-Size Catholic Blog, who hosts the Pay it Forward feature every Monday on her blog.


  1. Wow how sad for that young boy.

    I will check out her blog.

  2. Allison, thank you for this! I often read your blog--you're much more consistent than I!--to find the quality of reflection I need to stay in the work. Let's pray for each other.