Confessing … December 12th, 2015

 Jonathots Daily Blog

(2754)

XXXII.

I confess so I can heal.

If I deny, I remain sick.

This will be my last installment of “Confessing.”

When I began this category eight months ago, I did so for two distinct reasons:

  1. To clear the air–to simply explain that imperfection does not eliminate me from the game.
  2. To open the door to allow myself to be even more forthcoming in the future.

Over the weeks, I have received many comments. Most people were surprised with my candor.

Yet I will tell you–I learned a long time ago, for every story I can tell about myself, there is always an available bystander who can make it seem worse.

Truth is not an option, but rather, a protection. It allows me a circle of influence which cannot be broken because I’ve already allowed the information to set me free.

So as I close this off, I encourage you to pursue the wisdom of allowing yourself to be transparent.

Of course, I have committed many more than thirty-two sins, but I have given you a great cross-section of my iniquity. Details and names were often changed to protect what innocence remains.

Here is one simple fact: the only way to stay a sinner is to try to believe you’re not sinning.

You can do terrible things and repent, or you can do little stupid things … and look terrible because you didn’t.

 

Confessing Jon

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Confessing … December 5th, 2015

 Jonathots Daily Blog

(2753)

XXXI.

I confess so I can heal.

If I deny, I remain sick.

Three unwise men.

I met them many years ago.

They came my way one at a time, but quickly clumped together because each one was well aware of the exploits of the others, and had gone on many missions together chasing stars.

They had mental problems. This was not my opinion–they had the certificates and hospitalizations to back it up.

Yet I found a place in my heart for each one, and likewise, they were grateful for acceptance, and nestled up close to me.

We worked on Basic Humanity 101: courtesy, respect for women, getting a job, paying your bills, eating well and not putting substances in your body making you Jekyll instead of Hyde.

There was some progress.

Matter of fact, for a few months I felt as if a transforming miracle had swept over the lives of this trio, causing them to sing a new song.

But then it stopped.

I don’t know what it was. The creeping insanity that lingered dragged each one of them down into the pit of despair. Maybe they stopped taking medication. Maybe they saw flaws in me that gave them license to challenge my credibility. I don’t know for sure. But somewhere along the way it became necessary for me to try to salvage their families, their concerns and especially their children.

Yes, eventually these three unwise fellows became my enemies. They didn’t like me anymore. They accused me of being crazy.

My heart was broken because my dream of repairing the breach in their souls was devastated by crumbling results.

I failed. At least, that’s the way I felt.

I took them to the water but they weren’t thirsty enough to drink. So then my mission was to save the children and the wives.

I guess I’m happy to report that the offspring of these three disturbed individuals are no longer under the pressure of being subjected to insanity.

It is a victory.

But I loved these three gentlemen. I still do.

And every day I work a little harder to become understanding, gracious and clear-headed enough to be of value.

But please, don’t tell me that you’re unaware when craziness sets into your friends. Don’t go on television and claim that you were “completely surprised” by the fact that your kin became unkind.

I not only saw that these three guys I worked with had turned a corner, but I was fully aware that they had rejected reasoning in favor of calamity. I had plenty of time to free their kids from danger.

I feel humbled by my lack, encouraged by what I learned, but fully cognizant of the fact that salvation is God’s business … and He is the only one who has the power to truly transform lives.

(Perhaps there is a fourth…)

Confessing The three

 

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Confessing … November 28th, 2015

 Jonathots Daily Blog

(2753)

XXX.

I confess so I can heal.

If I deny, I remain sick.

For the sake of this essay and season of confession, let me refer to it as “Thanksbumping.”

It’s that uncomfortable moment when older folks such as myself decide to openly share some insight with younger folks who absolutely have no interest in the input whatsoever.

It is tricky. It can slip up on you when you merely believe you’re sharing your heart, and almost always is interpreted as intrusion.

I thought I had outsmarted “Thanksbumping” this year by controlling the amount of time I spent with my family, while also promising myself to keep my convictions to my own inner pleasure.

I did really well the first night, but at the second joining together, subjects came up for which I had great passion.

I spoke up.

It did not go well.

I quickly retreated and spent the rest of the evening trying my best to imitate invisibility.

At the Thanksgiving meal the next day I was much better, and had learned my lesson.

But I must apologize to myself, to my Father in heaven and to those who once sat under my tutelage, for accidentally continuing to “tutle.”

Before you become self-righteous and insist that you never do such a thing, let me gently and mercifully explain that our children perceive any intervention which they have not requested as a breach of their territorial waters.

So as I confess this to you–that I did better at “Thanksbumping” this year but am still not without reproach–let me give you three hints to keep you out of this iniquity:

  1. Avoid giving opinions without hearing a question coming your way.
  2. Don’t offer contrary views in a climate where well-established ideas are being revered.
  3. And certainly, don’t attempt to do any sideline parenting.

It may be difficult to succeed at being a bystander when you feel as if you should be included and treasured, but it is the nature of our species.

It is the changing of the guard.

And to have a good Thanksgiving, you must make sure you dodge the “bumping.”

 

confessing chairs

 

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Confessing … November 21st, 2015

 Jonathots Daily Blog

(2753)

XXIX.

I confess so I can heal.

If I deny, I remain sick.

Matt was a minister.

He also was a singer.

He decided he wanted to record what I called a “Twinkie.” It was a 45 R.P.M. record with an A and B side. I called them Twinkies because they were small, delicious and you only had to record two songs to brag about having a record.

Matt came to me because I was only twenty-one years old, sang, played an instrument, had done some vocal arrangements for local gospel quartets, and had written two songs and recorded them, putting out my own Twinkie.

In my little town, I seemed to be a kind of superstar. I enjoyed it. I was a big frog in a cardboard box, content with the air holes provided.

Matt wanted to pay me to produce his record. I said yes.

We had numerous meetings, set a date, and Matt thought that all systems were go.

Here’s the problem: I didn’t do anything.

I didn’t work on the songs, I didn’t hire the musicians, I didn’t even book the studio, although I told him I did.

I lied.

Why? Because I loved the notion of being creative, but despised the footwork.

Matt became a little suspicious. He asked a bunch of questions about the plans. I decided to act offended over his doubt. He immediately backed off.

So Matt arrived at the studio to meet with me on the day I told him we were scheduled, only to discover there was no session planned, and I was nowhere to be found. This was before the time of cell phones and texting, so Matt was stuck with these strangers, hoping I would arrive any minute to straighten things out.

I never arrived.

Matter of fact, I never contacted Matt again.

About six months later, he caught up with me in a shopping mall. I can still remember the chill that went down my spine when he walked up to me and simply asked, “Hey, what happened with the recording session?”

I struggled to make two or three excuses, and he interrupted me and said, “It was really weird. When you didn’t show up, the recording engineer had time available, and he and I sat down together, arranged the music, and I recorded my songs.”

I felt so embarrassed, stupid and strangely affronted. After all, how could Matt make a good record without me?

He didn’t hang around to talk much more.

He just walked away into history.

I learned a lot through that experience, which I continue to still learn.

There is no such thing as talent without integrity. When we attempt to promote it, it ends up being like a lovely sandwich … discovered in a mud puddle.

 

Confessing microphone

 

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Confessing … November 14th, 2015

 Jonathots Daily Blog

(2752)

XXVIII.

I confess so I can heal.

If I deny, I remain sick.

His name was Conley and he had a bad influence on me.

Aw, hogwash. Actually, Conley was successful in finding the bad influence in me.

Ironically, we sang gospel music together–and discovered that when Amazing Grace stopped having such a “sweet sound,” we were quick to rediscover the “wretch” in each of us.

Conley was not an evil person; he was mischievous, comical and deceitful.

So one day when I was driving my old van and entering a thoroughfare, we were joking around–me in the driver’s seat and him lying on a beat-up couch we had inserted into the vehicle. Suddenly there was a huge bump.

Apparently in my oblivion, I ran into a car which was driving in the first lane, which I was trying to enter. I pulled over and so did the car.

Conley grabbed me by the shoulder and said, “Let me do all the talking.”

Seemed good to me.

So Conley got out and began to complain to the driver, whose car we had struck, saying that the poor hapless fellow had changed lanes into us, striking us, and therefore, it was his fault.

I had no idea how Conley could possibly know this, considering that he was lying down in the back of the van, which had no windows on the driver’s side. It did not even occur to me that Conley was making up the story line as he went along.

The police arrived and issued me a citation for changing lanes without safety. I was prepared to pay my ticket and let that be the end of it.

But Conley got a twinkle in his eye, said we should go to court, that he would testify on my behalf and that we would beat the ticket.

So we did.

I didn’t go along with the plan because Conley overwhelmed me with his personality. I was just as much a jerk as he was. I was just wrapped up in a thicker covering of self-righteousness.

So we went to court and Conley testified that he saw the gentleman change lanes into us, therefore creating the accident. Even though the other driver had given a report to the contrary, the judge believed Conley.

My citation was dismissed and we both left the courtroom feeling we beat the system.

So because I was not convicted of the citation, the driver was not able to retrieve his repairs from my insurance company.

I didn’t even feel bad about it.

At that point in my life I had this idea that if you were ingenious enough to lie, then it was the system’s fault for being so stupid.

I wish I could tell you that Conley saw the light and became a more industrious person. Actually, the last time I saw him, he split town, leaving behind a trail of seven bad checks he had written in my community.

I do not blame Conley for my actions.

As I sit here today, I wonder how much “horrible Houdini” is still left in me–prompting me to escape my responsibility, congratulating myself.

I pray that’s dead.

But I want to thank you for allowing me another chance to confess it … and drive a stake through the heart of that demon.

 

Confessing collision

 

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“The best Christmas stories I’ve ever read!”

From the toy shop to the manger, an advent calendar of Christmas stories, beginning on November 30th and ending on Christmas morning.

We need a good Christmas this year.

Mr. Kringle’s Tales will help you make it so.

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Confessing … November 7th, 2015

 Jonathots Daily Blog

(2745)

XXVII.

I confess so I can heal.

If I deny, I remain sick.

I was 23 years old, and already the father of two little boys. I had no regular job and was quickly becoming known for mooching lodging and meals off of friends and relatives.

My saving grace was that all the people of the town knew I had some musical talent.

I had proven this recently by winning a contest, and in so doing, being awarded a recording session with 100 free albums.

I was thrilled.

Every time somebody would ask when I was going to get a job, I explained that I was getting ready for the project. I was blessed to have a music group filled with friends who believed in my writing.

We went to do the record and ended up having a studio engineer who had seen us at the talent contest, and was very excited about working with us.

The first couple of songs went really well, but when we came to the third selection, I went into the booth to record my piano first, before we laid down vocals.

In the process of playing the tune, I hit a really bad note. It was isolated off by itself. I was trying to hit a Db, but my finger slipped and I ended up with a C included. Without going into too much detail, it sounded terrible and it was obvious I had made an error.

When I finished the piece, the engineer waited for me to request another go-through.

I didn’t.

I asked him to play it back and when the foul-sounding note came over the speakers, I pretended I had planned it that way. He even gently took me to the side and asked if I was sure I did not want to go back in to correct the note.

I told him I was fine with it.

Matter of fact, that note remained through the whole session, mix-down, and was pressed onto the final record.

I was so defensive over being a jobless dad that I did not want to admit I had made a mistake.

You see, my sin was not in being young, foolish and without money. My sin was being prideful and defensive about my situation.

I look back on that day in horror.

It is difficult for me to believe that anybody could be so stupid–and then I turn on the television set and listen to grown men and women in politics, defending their mistakes as if they had actually planned them.

Sometimes we hit sour notes.

Our only advantage is to point them out before others discover them, or at least change them … before they become part of the permanent record.

confessing piano

 

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“The best Christmas stories I’ve ever read!”

From the toy shop to the manger, an advent calendar of Christmas stories, beginning on November 30th and ending on Christmas morning.

We need a good Christmas this year.

Mr. Kringle’s Tales will help you make it so.

Buy today.

 

 

Confessing … October 31st, 2015

 Jonathots Daily Blog

(2739)

XXVI.

I confess so I can heal.

If I deny, I remain sick.

Too much of a good thing.

No such creature.

However, there is a possibility of too much of my good thing. An overdose of my definition of “proper” and my code of appropriate behavior.

In my lifespan, I have seen morality change so often that I think we might want to consider writing the list in pencil. Finding what is unchangeable and humanly fulfilling is like searching for the pearl of great price in a desert of my misunderstanding.

Thus my problem with William.

We had the same Mommy and Daddy. I have been trying to confirm that we have the same Father.

I am not a religious man by any stretch of the imagination, but I see no value in traveling through this life making effort to love my neighbor as myself, comfortless from having a Friend who encourages me and believes in the same aspiration.

I really don’t care if He or She is imaginary as long as He or She is attentive.

William checked out of his life too early.

He was an excellent teacher who became despondent because he cared too much. The interesting factor is that after each one of us checks out of our lives, we no longer care about how we treated the “motel room” provided. Yes, there’s a danger of trashing one’s own existence.

About 25 years ago I decided to love William no matter what.

Hell, I was lousy at it. The reason for my failure is that even though I pursued unconditional love, I realized that humanly speaking, once that is determined to be impossible, we become obnoxious to those we intended to bless. Simply put, in the process of loving William, I had too many goddamn ideas on what William should be.

  • I thought it was helpful. It ended up being hurtful.
  • I thought it was ingenious. It was proven ridiculous.
  • I was never condemning. But I cannot truthfully say I was always consoling.

So for about nine months, I walked away from my relationship with William, giving him a chance to breathe air that wasn’t contaminated with my opinion.

The difficulty lies in the fact that William tends to alienate those souls who come his way, so after several months he recontacted me, figuring that a nosy brother was better than leading a faceless life.

So I’m off today to have lunch with him for the first time in over a year. I am scared and not ashamed to admit it.

I don’t want to be an asshole.

I don’t want to tread on his very thin ice, break through and drown us both.

So I confess to you that I am a caring person who realizes that caring is a dangerous thing. It only becomes valubale if the person receiving it has some place to tuck it away.

Confessing Bill

 

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“The best Christmas stories I’ve ever read!”

From the toy shop to the manger, an advent calendar of Christmas stories, beginning on November 30th and ending on Christmas morning.

We need a good Christmas this year.

Mr. Kringle’s Tales will help you make it so.

Buy today.

"Buy

 

 

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