I wish I’d gone to jail.

Not because I’d committed a crime.  That’s not something I’d do.  Or ever wish I had.

I do, however, wish I had been arrested and sent to jail because I felt strongly enough about something to get in the way.  To protest.  To sit-in.  To stand-up.  To understand the power of one.  To be fiercely out-spoken in favor of, or against, something that was, at least in my mind, an injustice to others.  Or to the land.  Or to the air.

A small article in a college alumni magazine recently caught my attention.  The writer’s daughter had a serious accident many years ago, leaving her a paraplegic for life.  Not one to let that stand in her way, her daughter became an activist with the Americans with Disabilities Act.  Her mother boasts that she went to jail 30 times.

Just once would be good in my mind.  But thirty times???  What a woman.  Imagine the differences she made.

I regret, and have for many years, that as I watched bulldozers raze the land across the street from our house, I didn’t just walk over there and get in their way.  I found out later, much too late, that they didn’t even have a permit for what they did.  I could have made a difference.  Just me.  Just one person.

And maybe, just maybe, if I had gotten lucky, really, really, lucky, I would have been hauled off to jail.

But hold on. As we know, it’s never too late and there’s certainly much to care deeply and passionately about these days. Maybe I’ll get a second chance after all.

Image by John Overmyer/Startribune.com