The Parable of The Economy Inn

The Parable of the Economy Inn (1,163)

May 31st, 2011

One of the aspects of touring is using Monday as a relocation time—to travel to the next destination and set up a headquarters for the week. Yes, we do try to place ourselves in a central position whereas to more easily move among our engagements during the stay. This means we have to seek out lodging.

One of the things you learn as a professional (I mean, a professional at traveling…) is that a motel room is a motel room is a motel room. The more expensive ones do have fluffier towels, larger bars of soap, lotion in addition to shampoo and sometimes eggs offered at the breakfast instead of just toast and cereal. Other than that, folks, most of the time with the large chains you’re just paying for the name and the mint on your pillow. We have a list of things we require for our comfort, and once those are achieved, we just settle into a home life as normal as one can have in the position of a vagabond. Of course, mainly we are conscientious to use the funds and offerings provided by the good folks we meet as prudently and efficiently as possible.

Such was our plan yesterday on our way to Central Illinois to deposit ourselves for the coming seven-day span. We arrived at The Economy Inn. Honestly, the word “economy” neither stimulates my interest nor repulses me, but actually usually ends up meaning very little. In other words, not everything that calls itself a duck can actually quack. And not every business named “Economy” actually is. We checked out the rooms and we ran across the “three strike” principle: Strike 1: It really didn’t look that great. (Actually, you can judge a book by its cover, because every smart person knows that is really how a book is judged.) Strike 2: It was small. (By the way—I am big. Immediate dilemma.) Strike 3: And finally, the internet and phone service was spotty. Understanding baseball, three strikes and you’re out. One of the main problems people have is when they begin to argue with the umpire over the strikes instead of heading to the dugout to make another plan. So even though I was tired and wanted to settle in, this was not our place.

If you’re not afraid of trial, you can embrace adaptation, which, by the grace of God, very often does provide a better choice. Adding a bit of insult to injury, as we headed out of town we got backed up in some sort of traffic jam for a local tractor pull or something, and decided that was not the direction to go, so turned around and headed the other way. We called a motel we had checked out earlier in another community, and launched towards a new destination, even though it was not ideally located.

But first we prayed. May I tell you dear souls that knowing when to pray is the whole secret to prayer? One should not pray when there are still available resources which can be effectively used. We need not pray to God when we haven’t actually evaluated what we already know and what we don’t. And honestly, it is useless to pray to God if you do not plan to pursue and back up that prayer with an active passion to find a better way.

So our prayer was simple: “We have some miles to drive before we get to the next motel, so dear God, if you can show us someplace that is better suited to our traveling needs, we’re watching.”

Yes—that was Jesus’ formula for success. “Watch and pray.”

Did you notice where “watch” comes? “Watch” is in the head, trailed by “pray.” So we watched as we prayed. About twelve miles later, at an exit off the freeway (which, by the way, was the central artery of our weekly existence) was a beautiful motel sitting all by itself, waiting for us. We walked in, struck a deal with the innkeeper, and even ended up with fluffy towels.

It was a good day. A “good day” consists of a four-step process:

· Show up without complaining.

· Have a plan.

· Be prepared for that plan to change.

· Make the adaptation your own.

That’s all there is to it. There are no “chosen people” in the kingdom of God—just people who decide to choose well.

You, too, can escape the perils of The Economy Inn and find your perch, perfectly positioned on the freeway of life. It’s just a matter of accepting the notion that a traffic jam means to go the other way, and while you’re traveling, you might as well include the Father in what you’re doing.

Published in: on May 31, 2011 at 12:46 pm  Leave a Comment  

Say “When”

Say “When” (1,162)

May 30th, 2011

Are you familiar with that? Somebody pours a drink for you and speaks forth: “Say when!”—telling you to inform them when you’ve had enough. Of course, I’ve said “when” before, and had the pourer give me a little more—thinking he or she knew more about my toleration point than I did. It’s similar to trying to get half a glass of tea from a waitress at a restaurant. They almost universally assume that you were incorrect about the amount you desire, and go ahead and “fill it up” anyway.

Here’s the source of my curiosity: “when” does not seem like a cease and desist order. How about “stop!” for instance? Or “enough!?” Try this one: “That should do it!”

“When” just seems unresponsive to the need.

And speaking of unresponsive to the need—I am often introduced on a Sunday morning at a church by the pastor as “something different from their normal worship service.” Really? So conversation, telling stories, music and laughter are “different,” whereas lighting candles, singing hymns, reciting in unison and wearing robes would be normal in human everyday life.

It tickles me. I’m not offended by it—it just amuses me that we think God has a completely different way of looking at human life than we do. We act like we think God would prefer that humans pray instead of talk—right? I guess God likes it when we fast instead of eating. (Good luck with that one, heavenly Father.) God likes it quiet and somber instead of jubilant and a trifle unpredictable.

It sounds like an uncle I had who always found a way to put water on the fire, so everybody thought he was a stick in the mud. Is that who we think God is? Is it required that we file in once a week to appease a Creator who’s supposed to know all about us, but hasn’t figured out that we like to be courted with a bit of entertainment? Talk about being out of touch!

And the names we have for church always interest me greatly also. Sometimes it’s called a “worship service,” which, by the way, is not that different in texture and content from a “funeral service.” Then there are churches that have a “worship experience.” Certainly the addition of some guitars and overhead screens does change the intensity of the surroundings. Or does it? Isn’t worship really about the hearts of the people rather than the caliber of the equipment?

Some churches are “fellowships.” I kind of like that—as long as fellows are actually talking with other fellows and discovering about one another’s lives. In the Catholic Church they call it a mass. That’s kind of cool, because if for some reason the mass doesn’t go well—the candles don’t light or the communion bread is stale—you can call it a “mess.” Or if nobody enjoys it you can call it a “miss.”

On this Memorial Day I do become reflective, but if you’ll pardon me, it’s not to think about dead people. If the story really works out the way we say it does, those who have passed on are probably doing all right for themselves. Memorial Day, to me, is a time to consider what I’m doing, what I see being done around me and determining whether it’s fruitful, if it’s multiplying and if it’s replenishing the earth.

I think it’s a powerful thing. When I was at Alpine Lutheran Church yesterday, I really did feel the spirit of God was there, but I might just disagree with some folks about where I saw it come in. I have nothing against liturgy, form, hymns or any of the ornate decorations associated with the “religious experience.” As far as I’m concerned, whatever toots your horn—blow, baby, blow. As long as we realize that the Sabbath and church was not made for God. The Sabbath and church were made for man. That’s what Jesus said.

So as long as human beings are walking out of the encounter refreshed, renewed, challenged and appreciated, you did a good thing. If people are walking out the same way they came in except one hour sleepier, then there’s something wrong with the proceedings. Then it’s time to say “when.”

In this case, when are we going to wake up and do it better?

Published in: on May 30, 2011 at 1:45 pm  Leave a Comment  

AC Power

AC Power (1,161)

May 29th, 2011

In electricity they call it alternating current, but in human life we also have an AC power. It is an intelligently crafted balance between appreciation and challenge.

The perfect example of this is found over there in the Gospel of Luke, the 17th Chapter, Verse 10, when Jesus explains to his disciples that when they have done all that is commanded of them, they should declare themselves “unprofitable servants.”

You don’t hear that scripture very often. It doesn’t suit the American equation of thinking, but let’s look at it practically. While we are being bombarded by din-formation—the clamoring of how “bad things are”—what is really being damaged are our senses of wonder, gratitude and appreciation. What is the casualty of din-formation? We stop believing that things can improve. We resign ourselves to accept the status quo as the status “no.” We remove the word “improvement” from our lives.

And then, when we’re further inundated by sin-formation, we make the emotional error of comparing our lives to the lives of other people—those we deem worse than us. The end result of that is that we feel no need for self-improvement. We take ourselves as we are and ask others to put up with our mediocre profile.

The way to gain AC power—the energy created by joining appreciation and challenge—is to make improvement the sole purpose of our human journey. Not perfection and certainly not settling for less than what we envisioned.

This happens in two parts. The appreciation factor is “I see improvement.” And I do see improvement. I think much of the bitterness and debate from the last few years is losing its glamour and is becoming annoying instead of appealing. I think the movie industry is finally trying to making motion pictures with heart and soul, using words instead of just flashing images of the carnal carnival. I see improvement in my family as they move away from the childishness of their youth and gradually become stronger men and women. I see improvement in the church because people are growing weary of vain repetition and are beginning to ask questions about personal responsibility. I see improvement in myself, making it possible for me to appreciate the soul that was given to me by God. I am looking for improvement.

And in the process of doing that, I discover that I require improvement. I may notice in passing where others could certainly use a spiritual paint job or emotional buffing, but since I can’t do anything about their lives, I choose to use their weakness to shine a light on my own foible, hoping that as I brush off the dust and rust from my exterior, that my light will shine better for them.

It’s all about improvement. First—seeing improvement. And then, intelligently noticing where I, myself, require improvement.

There are only two things I can control in life—how I see things and what I decide to change in myself. Everything else is din-formation and sin-formation. And when you become an appreciative person who is self-aware enough to notice the changes that need to be made internally before other people end up screaming at you about them, you not only will become a great friend of mankind, but the possibilities of your successful ventures will be enhanced by the prayers and support of others. We become losers by denying the improvement we see in life and by trying to change the world before we’ve taken a really good shot at ourselves.

You want to turn down the noise on din-formation? Start noticing the improvement in the world and speak your appreciation out loud.

You want to cease the craziness of sin-formation? Don’t judge others, but instead, look at the errors you see and apply them over to your own goals for self-improvement.

So when I see Charlie Sheen go off on one of his tirades, I ask myself, “How can I learn to control my own temper and insecurities?”

When I hear about sexual misconduct by our national leaders, I don’t discuss the gory details, but instead, wonder where I have allowed sexual frustration to encumber my own thinking.

When I see young people taking drugs and getting arrested, I stop and say, “Jonathan, you need to do more about your own weakness of being overweight.”

Appreciating your world while internalizing the difficulties that exist around you to create greater improvement is the way we become a friend of earth and become like Jesus, who was the son of man and not an enemy of man.

AC Power. Appreciation blended with challenge to create an ongoing pursuit of improvement. As Jesus said, “when you’ve done your duty, call yourself an unprofitable servant.” Appreciate that the duty was done, but find ways next time to do it better—and even easier.

I don’t want you to be a victim of a society gone mad with din-formation and sin-formation. I dream for all of us to have the AC power of desiring improvement by appreciating what is moving towards excellence and challenging ourselves to even greater heights.

Published in: on May 29, 2011 at 11:27 am  Leave a Comment  


Sin-formation (1,160)

May 28th, 2011

Do I really need to hear all the details of Charlie Sheen’s latest tirade? Do the “Real Housewives of Wherever” actually have any reality to them at all? Is it necessary to follow the story line of John Edward’s illicit affair? Do I need to know what happened to Paris Hilton at the nightclub last night? Does the media require me to receive more information on what Congress is doing in the bedroom than in the committee room?


Americans are obsessed with lurid factoids on what is going on in the personal lives of those people we who are allegedly our superiors. It is one of the most hypocritical times I could ever imagine. Because while we are very careful to bleep out the fifteen or twenty words we have decided are profane, we simultaneously include a description of the unfoldings (minus those particular “bad words”) which is equally distasteful and inappropriate.

If you will allow me a moment, I will give you a very specific example. Because I am a publisher, I will tell you exactly how this process works. For instance, a television writer wants to use the word “pussy.” He can’t use that word, so he considers using the word “vagina.” Now, “vagina” is only acceptable in a medical or clinical context, but that’s not nearly as dark and despicable as the writer requires for his tale, so instead he decides to insert “crotch.” Will you please explain to me why the word “crotch” is any more pleasant to our children’s ears than “pussy?” It takes the mind to the same place, ends up with the same result and allows for a similar resolution! Thus the hypocrisy.

We have television shows that disembowel the human body, exposing blood and organs freely, but this is acceptable. It is not considered sinful. Using bad language? That is prohibited—deemed immoral.

We are nuts.

We are possessed by a demon of preoccupation with sin, while simultaneously portraying repugnance. Therefore no entertainment company can make a living without inserting sex and titillation into its advertising, while other organizations supposedly try to protect us from such indiscretions.

(Case in point: I will tell you bluntly from a position of experience that Christians are not interested in Christian movies. Movies, to believers, are a guilty pleasure and they would rather they not be peppered with scriptural references and moral parables. They are reluctant to admit it, but when the choice is made at the red box, the “redder” the movie, the more likely it will be watched—church-goer or not.)

We are bombarded with sin-formation. It does not make us more informed or preclude us from falling into bad behavior. Instead it makes us cynical and allows us to cut ourselves slack—to become bizarre and sinful ourselves. I am tired of playing the game. There are not fifteen or twenty bad words and everything else is passable.

There is one responsibility: present the truth, including the inception, the process and the conclusion.

I watched a movie yesterday where two grown people take one puff of a marijuana cigarette and suddenly turn into the life of the party. Really?? I didn’t even know you could get “high” on marijuana—everyone I’ve ever seen who smoked marijuana appeared to be playing their lives in slow motion. It dulls the senses in the brain, while only increasing the appetite. Yet the makers of the movie I watched realized that this truth would not create sin-formation—it would not glorify the act of smoking dope, but rather, make it seem undesirable. So they lied. I do not see anything wrong with a movie presenting the entire spectrum of drug use–

The inception: someone gets tempted, so they try it.

The process: it’s expensive, hard to attain, and annoying because it eliminates you from certain social situations where such usage is prohibited.

The conclusion: some form of addiction, either psychological or physical, causes you to be dependent on a substance which no longer provides the same kick it once did.

The media is not going to portray that—it’s not sin-formation. But we—mature, intelligent believers in the essence of life—need to demand that the glory of sin-formation be exposed as hype instead of hope.

I want the camera to follow Charlie Sheen backstage AFTER his tirade—when he comes down from his psychological high and crashes in a heap. I want the reporter to tell me what John Edwards feels like now that his wife is dead and he is alienated from a family he once held dear. I want the lens to go into the bathroom with Paris Hilton as she throws up and turns pale white underneath her Maybelline make-up. I want to see teenagers who are tempted by sex, give into it, and like everybody else in the world, find it dissatisfying, annoying and clumsy.

Sin-formation keeps the populace dissatisfied with their lives because they believe that one more trip to “where the grass is greener” will mow down their inadequacy. It is dastardly and may be the true definition of evil.

In the Arab countries, sin-formation is the propaganda that Americans are all evil because they don’t worship Allah and their chicken is finger-lickin’ good—but meanwhile, we Muslims can treat women like barnyard animals. In America, it is the deceit that the Arabs are evil because they treat women so badly—even as we exploit them on television and the movies by either raping them, killing them or refusing to allow them their rightful, equal place.

Yesterday we talked about din-formation—the cacophony of opinions under the guise of “debate.” But sin-formation is the notion that sin has no wage to it—but can be freely accessed for giggles and gags. In a society that deems itself to be moralistic, we have perfected the craft of the false representation of our actions.

Perhaps we were better off when we didn’t know that John Kennedy was having affairs. He was just a public figure doing public things. I don’t know. But when we know every single detail about every single person given rule over us, where can we develop the respect and faith to pursue a campaign for improvement?

Sin-formation. It is an obsession with vice, accompanied by the voice of disapproval. It makes us hypocritical, cynical and self-righteous instead of introspective and self-aware.

So what is necessary to make human beings work? If we’re being bruised by the media through din-formation—the loud screaming of senseless ideas—and sin-formation—the glorification of sensuality while hypocritically condemning the same—what helps to build strong humans into beings with good hearts, strong souls, sound minds and healthy bodies?

That sounds like a build-up to Sunday’s jonathots, doesn’t it? So let me not disappoint you. I’ll see you then.

Published in: on May 28, 2011 at 3:02 pm  Leave a Comment  


Din-formation (1,159)

May 27th, 2011

Rhythm. In music, it’s the beat, tempo, pacing, and energy—often even a matching of the heartbeat to stimulate excitement.

Harmonics. The pitches that form chords—building a house around a great melody.

And of course, melody. The memorable notes that distinguish one song from another and provide the road to travel on, producing a familiar tune.

Without the melody, music can often be just din. And what is din? An alarming clamor of sound.

We have din in our society. That’s why they call it the news beat. The media pounds out stories in a rapid-fire rhythm designed to alarm us and stimulate our heart rate with ferocity of terror, wonder, confusion and apprehension over that day’s particular events. Occasionally they will have someone come in to comment—to add harmonics—but unfortunately, no melody is provided. There is no example of how we as a nation have overcome our problems in the past, the method used and how that might be put in place now to give hope.

Why the din? Why this distribution of din-formation, which is really just presenting the story in the loudest and most outrageous format possible? It happens because good deeds don’t sell hamburgers. Happy endings don’t make people want to go out and buy cars. Sponsors don’t back projects which fail to receive ratings and human beings often feel the need to be alarmed so they can feign being helpless and therefore not responsible.

Here’s how the news works—what I have dubbed din-formation:

1. Find an outlandish story.

2. Make it seem as normal and commonplace as possible.

3. Get in loud discussions about the controversy surrounding it.

4. Tilt the intensity of the message in the direction that your particular station’s philosophy or political party desires.

5. Increase the volume and drive the point home.

6. Then ask the audience to chime in with their opinions (since you’ve already told them what to think in the first place).

7. Report the din-formation in a poll of your own contrivance.

Meanwhile, the public is not being asked to reason, be logical, think things through or balance what is happening in our society by the element of frequency. In other words, does this happen often enough for us to even be concerned about it? Or is it just loud? Is it just din-formation? Is it just the rhythm of the story with the harmonics of public opinion, with no melody of solution and hope?

And finally, the news organizations, reality shows and entertainment industry take no responsibility whatsoever when the public is frozen in fear and calloused to real emotion.

I call it din-formation—because if you yell loud enough, people may think you’re crazy, but they still will most certainly hear what you have to say and may accidentally take it seriously. The old adage is: “the squeaky wheel gets the grease.” Now it should be: “the squawking media seems to get the ratings.” This is not limited to liberal or conservative, but to anyone who puts money, power and prestige above telling the truth. It seems that no one cares anymore about finding themselves currently accurate and historically honored.

Be careful. When you hear that it’s loud, develop a suspicion about the quality of the message. Listen for the melody. Is there a tunefulness that produces the potential and possibility of solution, or merely a ranting and raving over the problem itself?

Din-formation. It has deafened us to the still, small voice of God. Because after all, God is not in the thunder. He is not in the earthquake. He is not in the tornado. He is in the quiet voice of our own heart, urging us to better ways.

And if din-formation isn’t problem enough, then we come across tomorrow’s subject: sin-formation.

Epilogue: I just wanted to put a short statement at the end of this jonathots, and tell you that last night I was privileged to be in the presence of a wonderful crowd of people at Prince of PeaceLutheranChurch in Freeport, Illinois, sponsored by Pastor Mark. Folks came from all over, even different communities, so we could gather together to talk about good ideas with good consequences. It was really quite simple: Pastor Mark cared enough to do a good job of advertising. The local newspaper did a tremendous job with an article about the evening. The people got excited about doing something other than sitting at home watching the world go by. Janet and I showed up and brought our little dab of “whatever”—seasoned over many years—to distribute to a delightful audience.

And God took off his shoes, plopped down with us and joined in the laughter.

I don’t know. . . I think it was just a little piece of heaven.

Published in: on May 27, 2011 at 2:26 pm  Leave a Comment  


Bruised (1,158)

May 26th, 2011

I have spent the last two months touring through Minnesota, Iowa and Wisconsin—arguably considered to be the heartland of America. I journeyed through these three states back in 2009, but had not returned until April of this year.

There have been changes.

In 2009, even though the country was going through financial upheaval, the folks I met were optimistic, hopeful and resilient. This time I met absolutely wonderful individuals whom I embraced as brothers and sisters, but I found them to be much more cautious … and brittle. I also discovered many bruises.

For you see, in the pursuit of putting forth legislation, political philosophy and social agenda in this nation, we have decided that the best way to handle this seeming progress is to punch the nation in the gut, hoping to awaken society to our particular point of view. We use the media. Whether talk shows or reality programs, the message is to create apprehension so as to stimulate interest. The media is bruising our country with an onslaught of overwrought opinions instead of reporting the facts and adding in a sweet mixture of merciful remembrance of how we have handled similar difficulties in the past with grace and style.

I am meeting people who are suspicious of the possibility of joy and peace of mind because every time they travel on the information superhighway they are “hit and run” by careless reporting. So when I return to the simplicity of faith and loving one another, it is received as trivial—out of step with the sophistication of our present social structure.

· When I talk about Jesus, they merely think of Christ, the Crucified.

· When I talk about laughter, they fear lewdness and frivolity.

· When I speak of brotherhood, they anticipate liberal jargon that is against their conservative interests.

· When I talk about the Bible, their eyes glass over with a sense of pending boredom because they feel they have already heard everything of interest.

· When I mention uniqueness, they cynically contend that “there’s nothing new under the sun.”

They fear revivalism and therefore reject the presence of true emotion in their spiritual journey. They have great trepidation over strangers so they lose many an opportunity to “entertain angels unaware.” They are the same people I met in 2009—except there has been a tremendous accident which has left them traumatized and a trifle bitter.

I share this with you because I believe there is still time for rejuvenation, but I do not think we can go forward until we understand that the “loose canon” of false representation of stories in this country, in an attempt to manipulate the populace towards either a liberal or conservative agenda, is pummeling the psyche of our people.

We are bruised. It tends to make us overly sensitive. It certainly causes us to be resistant to the better changes in our lives. What can we do about this? I think we start by understanding what has brought about this abuse on our citizens.

Would you allow me, over the next couple of days, to discuss it? I promise not to be too outlandish or overly simplistic and I do want to avoid what I see creeping into our media and entertainment—that being a “snarky” attitude. “Snarky” is a British word which means “irritable,” but to me "snarky" is a blending of “snarl” and “tacky.” That is how I would describe our present method of communicating ideas—a bit of snarl mingled with tacky. And it all begins with what I want to talk about tomorrow:


Published in: on May 26, 2011 at 12:47 pm  Leave a Comment  

Straw to Gold

Straw to Gold (1,157)

May 25th, 2011

I was thrilled. I was just twenty-six years old and our group, Soul Purpose, was in Nashville, Tennessee. I had just signed a song with Dottie Rambo and Heartwarming Music and had many of the Nashville executives, record companies and publishers lifting their heads to look in our direction.

It was exciting. Honestly, I was too young to appreciate much of the nuance and importance of the moment. After all, I had grown up believing that life was about a “big break” followed by a brief period of work, which hopefully would culminate with an existence of ease earned from the success of the process.

It is an applicable rendition of The American Dream. None of us can imagine what it’s like to work hard enough to make six million dollars, so we buy lottery tickets. No one is particularly interested in struggling, making two hundred dollars a day to try to save fifty of it to accumulate wealth over a thirty-five year period of time. Although we may end up actually attempting to do that, it certainly is not anyone’s idea of being fruitful.

So back to my story. We were given the distinct honor of performing on the stage of the Grand Old Opry. We were jazzed and giddy, because on top of that invitation came the information that there would be a talent agent there who would be checking us out to see if she was interested in signing us to a contract.

Wow. Two stones with one bird—or something like that. All we had to do was impress her and we would be signed to a contract and whisked away to a life of touring, money, praise, opportunity and comfort.

So we worked very hard to get ready for the show. And honestly, our performance was superb. It was so good that as I walked off stage, this dear lady—this miracle worker for bookings and engagements—grabbed me by the hand and told me that we sounded great and she wanted to meet with us at ten o’clock the next morning in her office, to negotiate the deal.

I couldn’t sleep all night. It was finally here. My ship had come in. Not only had my ship come in, but I was already unloading the cargo, thinking about owning a car that did not require a screw driver to start it.

The next morning the three of us dressed up like little lord and ladies and went to her office. She sat us down and explained the contract to us. We were almost to the point of signing when I posed the question. “Now, ma’am, when are we going to get the schedule of the dates you have for us, so we can get ready for the tour?”

She looked at me, a bit perplexed, and then she suddenly realized that I had totally misunderstood the procedure. With all of her southern charm, she attempted to deflate my balloon without using a pin to pop it. “Listen, sweetie,” she said. “I don’t think you understand how things work. There are no magical tours out there, waiting for groups to come along and fulfill them. All I do is work off the leads and opportunities that you already have. My job is to just make sure that you make a little bit more money at them and that they have all the things waiting for you that you need to create your particular magic.”

I was devastated. Here I’d thought, in my pea-brained logic, that someone was going to come along and solve all my problems, do all the work, bring me all the available potential and all I had to do was stand up there and sing.

She continued, “You see, Jonathan, there is no one that can spin straw into gold. More or less what I do is take the gold you bring me and form it into really nice pieces of jewelry.”

I left sadly—unsigned. For you see, I had no gold, just a barnyard of straw.

I learned a lot that day. And every time I watch a show like American Idol, which takes advantage of young people. portraying they can be turned into overnight successes, only to cut one album that sells enough copies to make an annoying and limited fortune, and finally proclaiming them, a year later, the “ex-Idol”—a very young “has been”—I wonder why people try to be so misleading, and therefore cruel.

Because it is cruel to tell people that the American Dream can be achieved without putting some dumb ideas to sleep. So please learn with me what I found out that day:

1. There is no substitute for hard work.

2. Miracles happen because God sees that you are on the way to living without one.

3. Life is always better when it’s absorbed a little at a time instead of pelting us like torrential rain.

4. And finally, it’s not so bad to just make a living doing what you love to do.

I thought about that last night when I walked out in Platteville, Wisconsin, and the crowd was smaller than we expected. My dear, sweet friends, the crowd will always be smaller than we expect—because our anticipation is always larger than our effort and talent.

Learn to enjoy what’s before you and understand that gold may adorn, but straw makes for a nice bed.

Published in: on May 25, 2011 at 12:48 pm  Leave a Comment  
%d bloggers like this: