The “Ish” Family … October 12, 2012

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Live from October 1st filming

The movie wrapped up, completed with a beautiful spirit and great energy. It was a little script I had written called $6 Man–about a homeless fellow who was trying to maintain the custody of his daughter while also assisting other fellow-street-dwellers, instructing them in converting abandoned dumpsters into shelter. When I first wrote the screenplay and passed it around, everybody was thrilled, but once the movie was shot, some nay-sayers arrived who suggested that the whole project was going to fail because the ending of the story was a bit distasteful and didn’t present a Hollywood-style conclusion. Matter of fact, even people who were in the film, participated in the production and backed the project were completely overtaken by the criticism and were totally convinced that the ending should be revised.Why? Because we have this notion that good things should bring about great results. There’s no foundation in it. If goodness always resulted in earthly reward, then rich people would be some of the most virtuous individuals walking on the planet. But if God were to suddenly shine a spotlight on the most righteous human being, it would probably not beam down on Wall Street.

Goodness has a reward because it gives us the confidence to not be afraid to tell the truth.

I thought I was doing a good thing by rising from my discomfort, getting a wheel chair and heading off to do my gig in Sycamore, Ohio. Matter of fact, the process of renting the chair, learning how to use it and loading it in the van all went extremely smoothly.

And then … here came the “Ish” family. The Ish family consists of a threesome who always show up whenever you have the audacity to pursue something which is considered to be abnormal. May I introduce you to this trio?

  • First there is Foolish.
  • Please welcome to the party … Childish.
  • And then, a little less verbal and very nervous, is Skittish.

When I left yesterday afternoon, my journey of faith–to overcome my physical limitations with my legs and continue my work–was immediately greeted by obstacles from this trinity of fussiness.

First of all, the road to our journey decided to just end, taking us on a detour which may not have completely encircled the globe, but surely was only one turn short of that. (Thank you, Foolishness.)

We arrived at the church to be assisted by some wonderful human beings, but we were still completely inept in using the wheelchair and getting in and out of the doors of the church. (A big shout-out to Childish.)

In addition, the sanctuary only had two aisles to get to the front of the church–neither of which were exactly wheelchair accessible. (Enter, stage right: Skittish.)

And then, to completely discourage our odyssey of faith, only eleven people showed up for the gig, making us feel ridiculous for going through the exertion of pursuing it–for only such a small number. (There’s another “ish” in there somewhere, but I can’t identify it.)

On top of all that, I had not truly factored in how humiliating it would be as a man, to be rolled into the room in a wheelchair to do what I have done for forty years? (I guess that’s the threesome, collaborating.)

So when the program was over and I was awaiting Jan, who was loading equipment with some of our new, kind friends, I happened to look in a pane of glass to see a reflection of myself. God, I looked pathetic. If possible, in that seated position, I looked fatter than ever.

I was discouraged.

Foolish came over and spoke in my ear. “Do you see how ridiculous this is? You’re getting older, you’re fat, you have diabetes. Give it up. It’s not worth it.”

Without missing a beat, Childish jumped in. “Aren’t you tired of hurting? You need to go someplace and play. This isn’t fun anymore. Maybe it seemed like a good idea, but now the other kids on the playground are laughing at you.”

Before I could take a deep breath of faith, Skittish was in my other ear. “Isn’t this scary? What if there’s something SERIOUSLY wrong with you? I know you’re getting around, but there’s always the possibility that you have something like Legionnaire’s Disease,–an unknown virus from the deep jungles of Africa, and it’s attacking the back of your thighs and will eat your whole body away…”

They are quite a tag team. They take faith and try to make it look stupid. They are worshippers of conventional wisdom, which only works if you’re at a convention and everybody there is willing to call it wisdom.

I took another glance at my image in the glass before me, laughed, and instead of waiting to be pushed to the van, I rolled myself to the door to make my own escape in my own way. Unfortunately, due to the fact that I have no expertise with the wheelchair, I got one of the metal pieces caught on the door frame and couldn’t go forward or backward. So now, I was not only stuck in a wheelchair, but I was hooked to the framework of the church like a helpless marlin.

Needless to say, Foolish, Childish and Skittish laughed in glee, having their points well-established through my efforts.

But I welcomed a spirit of relaxation into my soul, took a look at my dilemma, and in no time at all, through pursuing calm instead of frantic, I dislodged myself, rolled out into the parking lot on my own, opened up the back doors of the van from my seated position, turned myself around the corner and over to my van door, locked the wheels of the chair like a true professional, and climbed up into my seat.

I did it.

It was a beautiful fall night, life was going on and I succeeded in surviving the trepidation of a wheelchair in front of eleven people in Sycamore, Ohio.

I did not get a Hollywood ending last night. The exertion felt exhilarating at the time, but I paid the price upon returning, with a sense of exhaustion. I wake up this morning grateful to those in Sycamore who helped me so dearly and showed up to see my present leap (or perhaps better stated, crawl) of faith.

Faith is the substance of things hoped for. What am I hoping for? That’s simple. Two things:

1. I am hoping that I will learn through this painful experience that I am addicted to food and must put myself on guard for the rest of my life, to make sure that my weight is always heading downwards instead of climbing for the stars.

2. I am hoping that this process will not kill me.

I am not denying reality. As you can see, I am hoping for something substantial.

So on Day Two of my little journey, I cannot report to you that I have a Hollywood ending which would please all of the spectators milling around. But as in the case of my movie, $6 Man, there is a way that life works–and a procedure–and the more you learn to honor the truth of the matter instead of trying to make everything easy and acceptable, the greater the chance you have of being present when a miracle actually happens.

The producers of jonathots would humbly request a yearly subscription donation of $10 for this wonderful, inspirational opportunity

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One CommentLeave a comment

  1. What a great play on words, using your inner emotions to explain the utter defeat of yourself, yet rising ( metaphorically) and making us audience member at the UMC like the lost shepards and even bringing up the fact that even with such a small number, you still spread your seed. I will tell you my brother, if anyone was inspired by your performance, it was I. Never, in my life had I seen a man, who, as you said had seen the reality of a man, unable to walk, yet able to spread a message so clear as a ringing harmonious bell, and so eloquently. I will be on here spurratically, enjoying your readings and sharing my points with your intellectual self, and cannot wait for the day in which I, myself write my first screenplay.

    Like


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