Don’t Plant What You Won’t Eat … March 10, 2012

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It’s all about finding the right tree.

Every Wednesday morning, I slip away for three hours–just to have some time with paper, pen and my soul, to muse over ideas, feelings and consider the situation and ongoing progress of one mortal named Jonathan Richard Cring. I climb into my van and drive to a shopping area with a parking lot, find a nice tree and park beneath. I open the windows a little bit to allow air in to refresh my brain, and more importantly, I welcome my thoughts in the spirit that is within me–to show me some of the highlights of my heart, and perhaps even expose some foolishness in my mind.

While so perched last Wednesday, a young Hispanic man came and stood next to my vehicle. I thought he was about to ask me for some sort of assistance, when instead, he bellowed to another fellow across the parking lot, asking that gentleman for sixty cents for bus fare. The man refused. I turned around to look and saw that the individual he had beckoned to was also Hispanic. Thinking I was going to be next in line, I reached in my wallet to provide some immediate help to my friend. But instead of asking me, he turned on his heel and quickly walked away, disappearing into the horizon.

It perturbed me. It didn’t take me long to realize that the reason this fine ,young man resisted asking me was that he had literally sized me up as a fat older white guy, who was probably going to give him more grief than change. I moved from perturbed to pissed. There’s no other word for it. It just made me angry that we live in a society where boxes are provided and it is expected that the good citizenry will climb within the enclosure, discover their assigned seating and occupy space.

I don’t work that way. I was frustrated that a political, religious and social structure in this country forbade this young Hispanic man from feeling the liberty of sponging off of all races equally. I mean, if you’re going to beg, why become picky? So I was a little angry at him, too.

It’s so ridiculous that we continue to subsist in a less than productive environment, surrendering to the “standards” around us without ever stomping our feet and refusing to participate in the farce. I am not a fat older white man; I just resemble one. I am not a conservative–I am not a liberal; I am not religious just because I love Jesus. But how can you communicate that in a marketplace that works off of five-second sound bites and subsists on You Tube videos?

In the midst of the brawl taking place in my brain, the young man reappeared in the near distance, walking away from me at an angle towards a nearby store. He was about twenty-five yards away, but certainly going a different direction. I had to do something to break the spell. I rolled down my window and  yelled. “Hey! Com’mere!” I motioned with my hand for him to come my way.

He stopped, peered at me–and I know a hundred different scenarios must have run through his mind about what this invitation might mean. So I motioned again, and this time he slowly and cautiously ambled my way. He arrived about five feet from my door, not willing to come any closer, and said, “What do you want?”

“Did you need some help?” I asked.

The mere word “shock” would not describe the expression that crossed his face. He still was not convinced that my motivations were pure, but was so overwhelmed by curiosity that he tentatively replied, “Uh … yeah. I need sixty cents for the bus.”

So I reached into my wallet, pulled out two one dollar bills and handed them his way. “Here’s sixty cents for the bus and a little something to buy a drink to make the ride more refreshing.”

He stared at the money for a long moment, as if wondering if it were going to explode. Then he gingerly reached, took the two one dollar bills and said, with a bit of tear in his voice, “Thank you.”

I punctuated. “Hey, listen. You came by me and asked a guy across the parking lot for money because … well, I guess because he looked like you. I guess we old fat white guys can be intimidating and maybe a little bit cranky. But every once in a while, keep in mind that God is wearing a mask that doesn’t resembles what we think.”

I don’t think he totally understood, but the two dollars in his hand helped to clarify the point. He thanked me again and was off about his business.

I am tired of living in a society that sizes up the world around it and decides how everything should be. Here, let me say it aloud:

  • I don’t know how everything should be.
  • I don’t know whether what I think is right or wrong.
  • I don’t know if half the things I believe will sustain the test of time.
  • I don’t want to be mistreated, so I try never to do anything that resembles or is motivated by a foul attitude.
  • Here you go–I don’t plant what I won’t eat. It’s foolish. If you hate corn, don’t plant corn. And if you hate to be judged by other people, do yourself a favor and never judge anyone.
  • If you hate scrutiny, stop scrutinizing.
  • If you despise boring conversations, cease to contribute your boring, repetitive notions.
  • Don’t preach what you can’t prove. Stop using the Bible–or any other book of morality–to justify why you believe in things that you basically don’t even follow yourself.
  • Don’t teach what you don’t observe. There’s nothing more hypocritical than an English instructor using bad grammar.
  • And finally, don’t take what you haven’t given. If you’re known to be a stingy sort, always make sure you have prepared for rainy days with good provision, because you sure don’t deserve to ask anyone for anything. But if there is the possibility that you might become vulnerable, then it’s a good idea to sow two bucks to an Hispanic kid who thinks you’re just an old fat white guy.

There is nothing more simple in life than merely treating other people the way we want to be treated. And there is nothing more complicated than trying to apply two sets of rules–one for yourself and another for those who pass by.

It was a good Wednesday morning. I didn’t jot as many things down on my paper as I inscribed into my heart, reaffirming once again:

Don’t plant what you won’t eat.

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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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