Three Things (I Didn’t Do)

Three Things (I Didn’t Do) (1,259)

September 4, 2011

If the only thing necessary to procure employment at the dummy corporation is to provide proof of foolish deeds, I could start work tomorrow. Yes, indeed, I have acquired much ridiculous in the pursuit of the sublime On the way to the unethical, I have trounced upon morality, passing through sin, to arrive, amazingly unharmed, in the land of futile attempts.

Having achieved the status, I can tell you of a certainty that the only thing the human races shares in common is failure. It crosses gender, color, social status, political parties and denominations. It is not that I wear my iniquity as a badge of honor, but rather, as a free pass granted to the amusement park of God’s mysterious grace.

But on this Sabbath morning, what I celebrate are the three things I didn’t do—because as precarious as my deeds have often left me on the slippery slope of scaling the mountain of effort, I am particularly and humbly proud of the three things I didn’t do.

If I had actually enacted any one of these three things, I would have found myself mercifully forgiven by a bewildered God and permanently ostracized by a community of fellow-travelers. I am so glad I didn’t. I am so happy that in some moment of either strength or fortunate fear, I avoided these three desperate and duplicitous actions. For after all, human beings do occasionally forgive, but they never forget. That is an attribute only found in the bosom of the Divine. And because people don’t forget, we end up wearing more remnants of our past than any one of us might wish to don.

These three would have been crosses beyond my bearing.

But you see, the beauty is, I don’t have to. The glory of my existence lies in the jubilant revelation that this morning I am able to write this essay to you—friends I have collected from all over the world—because you don’t have to deal with three pieces of my idiocy that would certainly cause you to avoid me. I don’t know how I escaped these three dangers. I don’t know whether, if they were presented to me today, I would give in to the temptation. But I didn’t—and have no intention of going anywhere near the doorstep of their possibility. I am cured of curiosity. I am without need of proving my prowess. I am overjoyed that even though I have a speckled past, it is not permanently blotted and stained.

You know the wonderful thing about redemption? You don’t have to keep doing it over and over again. Oh, it may be a nice thing—to renew your vows or to confirm your status from time to time, but once you have escaped the wrath of judgment, you no longer need to worry about the hounds tracking you down in the nearby swamp.

I am free—and today, I am mainly liberated because there are three things I didn’t do. There is this glorious group of actions which were avoided by me, allowing me to walk in mercy because I obtained it.

Do you feel the same way? In the midst of your pending despair or dipping self-esteem, can you stop for one blessed moment and tip your glass to the universe and say “thank you that I was not party to that particular brand of insanity?”

For you see, I don’t feel self-righteous. As I told you, given the opportunity again, I might just go as a docile sheep to the slaughter. This is why I refuse to place myself in such danger. But it does afford me a chance to believe that we mortals are not nearly as dastardly and devilish as the theologians believe, nor as destitute of smarts as society might theorize.

We have possibility. And it is that possibility I revel in this morning—because repentance does provide absolution. And the root of the word “absolution” is absolve. And “absolve,” to me, sounds very much like “dissolve.” And when the penitent are granted reprieve, their evil disappears in an ocean of God’s gentle tide.

But every once in a while we can, for a brief moment, be grateful that we didn’t need to bother our heavenly Father with our latest prank. No, we just succeeded in not doing it. And I am so happy to report to the family of man today that there are three things I didn’t do and because I didn’t, it has made all the difference—and allows me to stride with a bit of cautious confidence towards the blessed horizon.

And you know the most wonderful thing about the whole process?

I don’t ever have to tell you what the three things are.

Published in: on September 4, 2011 at 9:38 am  Leave a Comment  

The Stress Test

The Stress Test (1,258)

September 3, 2011

She contacted me, requesting to be a friend of mine on Facebook. I had to pause for a long time to remember who she was since it had been nearly thirty years since our last encounter. I was a bit bewildered by her request since thirty years ago, when we walked the same turf, she didn’t particularly care for me. She was a very religious person, who straightened an already narrow path and was a bit disgruntled with some of my more expansive interpretations of God’s mind. Bluntly, she considered me to be a bit of a heretic. So I wondered why she selected to become my friend at this point in her journey.

I agreed to include her on Facebook (since I really don’t pay that much attention to it anyway…) She immediately sent me a note, telling me that she had suffered a stroke two and a half years ago and that her brother, also an acquaintance of mine, had experienced similar difficulties. She also informed me that those faithful adherents to her particular rendition of the gospel that cloister in her conclave were prophesying that she was going to get much better, and return to normalcy.

When I finished reading the message, I started to think about the paths we choose. You see, I am a fat man, and certainly, at my age, would be considered by most individuals to be a prime candidate for a stroke of my own. Who knows? Maybe tomorrow. But not today.

It isn’t that I’m the picture of health. It isn’t that I’ve taken excellent care of myself, eliminating all the hazards to the human heart and brain. So what is my secret? I just don’t believe in stress.

This is also why I don’t believe in religion—because I don’t think standing faithful to a code of Biblical expectations really keeps folks from stress. No, stress manifests itself in three areas: (1) money, (2) trials and tribulations, and (3) enemies. And if you don’t have the correct perspective on this trio of adversities, you will quickly fall back into the same pattern as everyone else and therefore receive the same results. Because most people are frightened to death of poverty, resentful of trials and tribulations and distracted by their enemies. The result is stress.

Here’s the key—I don’t just believe in God. On the other hand, there are some people who believe in God as some sort of universal creator or cosmic force—and that’s about it for them. Secondly, I haven’t just accepted Jesus “as my personal savior.” No. Instead, I find that the quality of a Jesonian experience is acquired through the words Jesus spoke and the philosophy he left behind—which by the grace of God I am trying to incorporate and make my own.

But finally, I also do one other thing that lots of other believing types seem to either ignore or avoid. I honor nature. I respect science; I think mathematics works. I would be part of the horde which contends that humans are supposed to discover new ways to do new things.

Because just believing in God may occasionally leave you in awe of a sunset or sunrise, but perplex you as to why this force has any relevance in your own life. And “accepting Jesus as a savior” may have some heavenly implications, but without infusing the body of his work and the essence of his mindset into your daily walk, you will find yourself a bit orphaned on earth. And certainly, failing to admire and give homage to nature is denying some of God’s best endeavors.

So I don’t believe in stress.

When it comes to money, I follow the philosophy of “take no thought for what you shall eat or drink because God know you have need of this and will provide you opportunity to earn your way.”

Concerning trials and tribulations, they are such sporadic occurrences that when they do pop up, I choose to “be of good cheer” about them, because they are just as likely to dissipate or disappear by the end of the day.

And, as regarding enemies, I find the best way to get even is to love them because of course, the last thing in the world they would expect is a big dose of my affection.

I realized that my old friend—who is really just a passing shadow, not even an acquaintance—had reaped the benefits of her own philosophy and allowed stress to enter her life and affect her well-being. I’m not better than her. God knows, she supersedes me in many realms.

I just don’t do stress.

And the reason I don’t is because I remain steadfast to the real trinity:

· God, who is my Father and creator

· Jesus, who is my elder brother and example; and

· Nature, who is my mother and teacher.

Once you find your peace with all three of these entities, stress seems unnecessary.

I will continue to communicate with my old friend because who knows? Maybe I can help her remove some of the angst from her life. Yes, I will stay in contact with heras long as my heretical ways don’t begin to cause her more stress.


Published in: on September 4, 2011 at 1:02 am  Leave a Comment  
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