A Bookmark … December 18, 2011

(1,365)
 
 
 
I am a child of God
The heavens reverberate with a shudder of grief when I am in tears
The angels from a million pinnacles give a shout when I find joy
For I am part of a universal plan
A determining factor in His Almighty decision
Whether I fly by night or drive by day
All of heaven is hushed and brought to action
When I am in need …
 
This is a poem I wrote on a Greyhound bus when I was twenty years old, on my way to meet up with a friend who was in need. I had a can of Vienna sausages stuck in my pocket, two containers of Zesta crackers and a can of Diet coke–with exactly $1.25 in my wallet for other incidental expenses. I didn’t care. After all, I liked Vienna sausages. I also didn’t care that I had $1.25 in my pocket.  And truthfully, I still don’t.
 
I wake up this morning sixty years of age–my birthday.
 
Sixty is significant. First of all, you’re no longer fifty, which is that in-between number, where you’re not quite an “old codger,” even though you’ve passed any possibility for male model or stud. Sixty is the gateway drug to Medicare, or perhaps that would be better phrased, the gateway Medicare to free drugs. There are sixty seconds in a minute, sixty minutes in an hour. Sixty is three twenties, six tens, four fifteens, twelve fives … and now I’m just getting ridiculous.
 
The reason I shared the verse with you at the beginning of this essay is that I could have written it today and it would have been just as fresh and true. I still believe it. I still believe that I am a son of God–not in the sense that I must be careful handling my water glass, lest it gain alcoholic proportions, but a son of God because I am included in the mind of my Creator and Father.
 
Everybody in our generation is concerned about “liberal” and “conservative,” right and left–but honestly, my friends, I’ve always prayed for a straight, plain path and avoided the drastic turns based on society’s pressure to conform.
 
In the 1960’s, when I was  teenager, it was posh to cast a jaundiced eye towards civil rights and social reform while rallying around the American flag about Vietnam. It just never made sense to me to go halfway around the world to kill off the people in a small country in the name of democracy when we hadn’t yet given full rights to all of our citizens.
 
In the 1970’s, it was all about partying and lavishing oneself with platitudes of perfection and dancing the night away. Since I knew I wasn’t perfect and wasn’t a very good dancer, I chose to work on my personality, principles and trying to practice what I preached.
 
In the 1980’s, while the religious community was becoming obsessed with social issues, I continued to expound upon the notion that since God does not look on the outward appearance buts looks on the heart, we should spend more time working on our own internals and not so much about our own morality falling into the majority.
 
Likewise, in the 90’s and even coming into the 2000’s, I just could never become a “signer on the dotted line” of the Contract with America–to be self-obsessed.
 
You see, it’s because I know how limited my faculties are, how fragile my talents and how weak my resolve that I find the will and determination to avoid movements that extol the great panorama of potential in the individual. What I mean is, the problem with self-esteem is that it easily loses its steam and always has to be boiled up again, leaving us totally self-involved, with no awareness of our true self or the needs of others.
 
Today I am sixty years old.
  • Starting at my feet, they feel about seventy-five.
  • My ankles are hangin’ in there at about fifty-two.
  • My knees are about ninety-one.
  • My hips maintain a really cool forty.
  • My waist … well, let’s not go there.
  • My heart is a mystery, but certainly has more creaks than it used to.
  • My face has a myriad of ages, depending on how much sleep I get.
  • My eyes are a split vote–the right one an octogenarian, and the left one, still floating around thirty-five.
 My emotions are daily cleansed so they’re like a newborn.
My soul is always attempting to be as old as God but as young as a child.
And my brain … well, my brain is still twenty years old, riding on that bus, believing that God cares …  about me.
 
Don’t be so concerned about the right and the left. Look at where you want to go–and steer your life straight ahead. Because after we’re gone, no one is going to discuss our faults, only our good points. If we don’t leave behind much of a record of righteousness, we probably won’t be mentioned at all. What I want people to remember is that I started out doing something and on the morning I passed, I was still doing it.
 
So let me call sixty a bookmark. I have fewer chapters to write than those that have already been edited. But that means I have the complete capability of going for a great twist in the end.

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Here comes Christmas! For your listening pleasure, below is Manger Medley, Jonathan’s arrangement of Away in the Manger, which closes with him singing his gorgeous song, Messiah.  Looking forward to the holidays with you!

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To see books written by Jonathan, click the link below! You can peruse and order if you like!

http://www.janethan.com/tour_store.htm

Published in: on December 18, 2011 at 1:22 pm  Comments (1)  
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One CommentLeave a comment

  1. Congratulations on reaching 60, Jon! And a wishing you a very HAPPY BIRTHDAY! I knew it was your birthday but didn’t realize ’til now what a significant one it is!!
    Hang in there!! You’ve many more to go!!

    Like


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