Jonathan likes signs. When he was younger, he collected them. He displayed them all over his bedroom, and those that wouldn’t fit in his room, he stored in the barn. I am not talking about the paper signs found at Home Depot. No, Jonathan collected big metal street signs. Some were almost as tall as he was–stop signs, yield signs, road crossing signs. He even acquired a few road barricades with flashing yellow beacons and a couple of traffic lights.
One time, while we were living in Black Forest, he was out on a stroll by himself (unbeknownst to me, of course). He came across a stop sign, post and all, lying in a ditch beside the road. He was about eleven at the time, not quite five feet tall and slightly built. Nonetheless, he decided to drag the sign, which with its post was taller than he and weighed about 50-60 pounds. As the little guy tugged and pulled his new-found treasure down the dirt road, a police officer pulled alongside. He knew who Jonathan was and where he belonged. And because he didn’t have the heart to discourage Jonathan’s quest, he offered his assistance.
I still remember that day when the police officer pulled up to our house in the woods with a sign balancing precariously as it hung out one window of his patrol car with its pole sticking out the window on the opposite side. Jonathan jumped out of the the front seat smiling gleefully as the officer helped him pull his sign from the car.
“Here’s your little man,” he said to me. I smiled sheepishly, embarrassed that I’d been unaware of Jonathan’s absence and that Jonathan had been caught doing something I was sure was illegal.
The officer assured me that no one would be coming by for that old sign and that Jonathan had done everyone a favor. Then off he drove and into the barn Jonathan’s sign went.
Jonathan’s walls are no longer decorated with signs and traffic lights. And we’ve since cleaned out the barn of his awkward stash. But signs still get his attention. He knows they serve an important purpose. He checks them out as we come across them on our hiking trails. He studies them, and then signals their meaning to me, making sure I understand.
I’m glad Jonathan heeds the signs along the way in life. They protect him from unseen dangers. He encourages me to heed them as well. I think he is trying to protect me from harm and to keep me on the right path.