Taking the Leap… February 29, 2012

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It happens every four years–and I’m not talking about me purchasing socks.

Leap year–the confirmation that our calendar was put together by human committee. (“Oops! We have one extra day! What should we do??”)  Since it is such a special occasion, let me go ahead and take the leap.

In January, 2000, my mother-in-law passed away, leaving behind an inheritance. It was not a lot of money but to us it was a fortune. We wanted to use it wisely. (No one ever gets a large sum of money and says to himself, “How can I squander this as efficiently as possible?”) We took precautions. We took suggestions. We followed the common advice of the day and entered the stock market–and even purchased real estate.

Yes, at forty-eight years of age, I bought and moved into the first home I had ever owned. Up to that point I had rented quite gleefully. And we found a good deal–an amazing deal for the year 2000. I was so thrilled with the house that I set out to become a great “lord of my own manor.” I put in a swimming pool, a circular driveway, a series of attractive deckings and placed a gorgeous gazebo in the front yard–built by good Amish farmers. It was a stunning property.

I simultaneously joined my friend, Janet, in founding a symphony in our town, which ended up doing some amazing things with very little financial benefit coming back our way. Let me clarify that. “Very little,” in this case, is a nice way of saying “none.” And meanwhile, I continued to do what I always have–I traveled the country sharing a message about how God has a reasonable concept for us to be happy. I raised four sons in that house and helped to establish my other two offspring onto paths towards prosperity.

I thought I had it figured out. When I only had one left in high school, I planned to put the house up for sale, redeeming my profits from the investment, paying off all my credit card debt and thereby possessing a nice little nest egg with which to continue my work, as I went back to being a member of “Renters Anonymous.”

But I got talked into waiting until the last son graduated, which placed me in 2007. When he received his diploma, something else came up. I don’t remember exactly what it was, but we basically decided to wait a little longer before selling the house. Once again, I continued to do what I do. I expanded myself by beginning this jonathots column, which is reaching tens of thousands of folks. I started writing a weekly letter to the pastors and church workers I had met, encouraging them in their faith, while giving them a little bit of exhortation and insight.

Then came 2008.

My house, which was once worth more than half a million dollars, was nearly overnight halved in its value. Actually, it ended up not being worth the payoff. So not only did I fail to have enough money to pay off my credit cards through my investment–as it turns out, I didn’t have enough money to pay for the house itself.

I had to make a decision.

Now, I am a firm believer in responsibility–but my first responsibility is to my calling. So I sat down with the bank and told them I was not going to live on the property anymore, and signed it over to a broker who more or less became my free agent to dispose of the house in the best way possible–to cover the indebtedness. And I went out to do what I’m supposed to do.

I got all the belongings that I liked down to a simple unit of travel, and in December 2010, I took off across this country–to see its people, to bless its inhabitants and to learn how to be a better human being myself. Now, the bank, the government and my broker seem to be having great fun figuring out how to trick one another into the best deal possible for each one of them concerning the property once mine. Matter of fact, sometimes when I get little updates, I giggle at their contortions.

Meanwhile, I move down the road. People always ask me, “Where are you guys from?” Well, see … here’s the truth: we have an address in Florida, for mail. But our life is right here–with you.

My needs were always simpler than the requirements that were placed upon me by those who deemed themselves to be more mature than myself. It’s amazing–once you have peace of mind and satisfaction in what you’re doing–how little you actually need.

For I will tell you, it’s not so much about “when life gives you lemons, make lemonade.” That still requires water and sugar. Often, it’s learning how to develop a taste for lemons, while being grateful that you have the freedom, the gifts, the initiative, the talent and the wherewithal to move forward successfully.

I think we’ll become a better country if people are able to tell their stories honestly, without fear. I realize there may be some venture capitalists out there who will hear my story and deem me either a rogue or a vagabond. So be it.

What I have done is simplify my life down to my talent, my passion, my love and seven changes of underclothes. Meanwhile, I get to meet thousands of people and share my heart with them, and maybe just encourage them–that telling the truth without shame and anxiety is the best way …  to take the leap.

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Got a question for Jonathan? Or would you like to receive a personal weekly email? Just click my email address below and let me know what’s on your mind! jonathancring@gmail.com
 
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Below is the first chapter of Jonathan Richard Cring’s stunning novel entitled Preparing a Place for Myself—the story of a journey after death. It is a delicious blend of theology and science fiction that will inspire and entertain. I thought you might enjoy reading it. After you do, if you would like to read the book in its entirety, please click on the link below and go to our tour store. The book is being offered at the special price of $4.99 plus $3.99 shipping–a total of $8.98. Enjoy.

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

Sitting One

 I died today. 

I didn’t expect it to happen.  Then again, I did—well, not really.

No, I certainly didn’t expect it.

I’ve had moments of clarity in my life.  Amazingly enough, many of them were in the midst of a dream. For a brief second I would know the meaning of life or the missing treatment to cure cancer.  And then as quickly as it popped into my mind it was gone. I really don’t recollect dying.  Just this unbelievable sense of clear headedness—like walking into a room newly painted and knowing by the odor and brightness that the color on the wall is so splattering new that you should be careful not to touch it for fear of smearing the design. The greatest revelation of all? 

Twenty-five miles in the sky time ceases to exist.

The planet Pluto takes two hundred and forty-eight years to circle the sun. It doesn’t give a damn. 

The day of my death was the day I became free of the only burden I really ever had.  TIME.

Useless.

Time is fussy.  Time is worry. 

Time is fear.  Time is the culprit causing human-types to recoil from pending generosity. 

There just was never enough time. 

Time would not allow it.  Remember—“if time permits …”

Why if time permits?  Why not if I permit?  Why not if I dream?  Why not if I want?  Why does time get to dictate to me my passage? 

It was time that robbed me of my soulful nature.    It was time that convinced me that my selfishness was needed. 

I didn’t die. The clock in me died, leaving spirit to tick on.  

So why don’t we see the farce of time?  Why do we allow ourselves to fall under the power of the cruel despot?  Yes, time is a relentless master—very little wage for much demand.

I died today. 

Actually … a piece of time named after me was cast away.

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