Catchy (Sitting 45) Preyor … April 22nd, 2018

Jonathots Daily Blog

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Matthew was pissed off, even more than his normal level of perpetual pissed.

He loved Las Vegas, but more the seedy side than the commercial side. So every once in a while, one of the large casinos would bring in some new pop star who was breaking records on the charts, out-doing the last new pop star who had outdone her predecessor.

The latest one was named “Loozeal.” She was all of seventeen years old, with more attitude than talent, but the young humans loved her–especially the girls.

Las Vegas was infested with females who had women’s bodies and child’s minds. It was annoying on so many fronts that Matthew tried to avoid the strip, hanging out in his room, drinking and experimenting with delicacies yet untried from the well-traveled room service menu.

But on Saturday night, he had a meeting at one of the casinos, so he was forced to drive into the middle of the melee known as the “Loozeal Appeal.”

Kids were everywhere.

Matthew hated children. Even though most grownups were childish, at least they occasionally made the effort to think about something other than their cell phone and own desires. He planned his meeting to get into town and out of town before the crazed hordes of little girls headed for the concert.

There was the smell of youth in the air. He despised it–a blending of cheap perfume, bubble-gum and just a hint of halitosis. Yuk. Gone was the true sniff of Las Vegas–fishy-smelling buffets with that whiff of urine and whiskey in the aroma.

He decided to take a short-cut. It was twilight, and he turned down an alley which was familiar to him–a way he escaped the strip without encountering so many tourists. He pressed on the gas pedal to zoom to safety.

About halfway down the narrow thoroughfare, he saw a huge garbage dumpster, and just as he was upon it–about to pass it–a young girl stepped out from behind it. He smacked her with his car, throwing her into the air. She landed on the hood, cracking his windshield.

Every kind of horror he’d ever experienced in his life descended on his soul as he realized what he had done. She lay bleeding, her face pressed onto his windshield.

For a brief second he thought about trying to escape. After all, that’s what he did best. When things became too difficult or uncomfortable, Matthew always became an emotional Houdini, disappearing at will.

His thoughts were brief, but long enough that he was ashamed of himself as he grabbed his phone and dialed 911. It took about four minutes for help to arrive, but it seemed like an hour. The girl was motionless. He was afraid to reach across the windshield to take her pulse, assist in any way, or even to move her. So he just stared at her face, which was gashed and bloody.

The EMT’s arrived and carefully removed her from the hood as the police began to take his statement. Matthew was so incoherent that they decided to take a breathalyzer, and even though he had taken one drink at his meeting, he was still well beneath the intoxicated number.

Matthew answered questions for what seemed like a solid hour as the girl was hurried away to the local hospital. His car was impounded as evidence, and Matthew was checked over by the EMT’s, to make sure he was sound.

The police reassured him that it seemed to be an accident, but told him to stay close in case they required additional input.

It was surreal.

All of a sudden he was standing alone in the alley, staring down at a tiny puddle of blood which had not yet congealed.

He walked back up to the strip, hailed a taxi and asked the driver what hospital was nearest to them. He asked him to take him there.

Arriving at the emergency parking lot, Matthew got out, paid the man and then stepped inside. He knew nothing at all about the girl, so he questioned the lady at the emergency room desk. She recalled the young lady coming through, but refused to give Matthew any information since he was not related to the patient.

Glancing down at her computer, Matthew saw that the young woman had been taken to surgery on the fourth floor. He made his way there–to the surgical waiting room, and charmed the nurse at the desk. He said he had witnessed the accident, and wanted to make sure the girl was going to be fine and would she keep him updated on the details?

Matthew sat for hours. Every once in a while he dozed off, then shook himself back to attention, ashamed that sleep would try to relieve his guilt.

What in the hell was she doing in that alley?

What in the hell was he doing in that alley?

Why was he driving so fast?

He realized he would never be able to say he was driving fast again, lest he be charged with reckless endangerment.

He looked at his watch and saw that three hours had elapsed. Simultaneously, a doctor came out of the operating room and whispered to the nurse. She motioned to Matthew to come over. The doctor apparently assumed that Matthew was a member of the family, and spoke to him.

“How are you related to Carrissa?”

Matthew paused for just a moment, then said, “I’m her uncle.”

The surgeon nodded his head. “So are you Mr. Jones?”

Matthew wasn’t sure if the surgeon was testing him or tricking him, but quickly responded, “Yes. Matthew Jones.”

The surgeon awkwardly shook his hand and said, “Well, Mr. Jones, here’s the situation. Carrissa has numerous broken bones, but that is secondary to the fact that being tossed in the air and landing on the windshield has given her severe brain trauma. We’ve drilled a hole in her skull to relieve the pressure, but she’s presently in a coma. And before you ask, I don’t know how long she’ll be in that state, or if she’ll ever recover. But I can tell you that the next 48 hours will speak volumes. If you have any other questions, my name is Dr. Zendquist.”

Matthew nodded his head and patted the surgeon on the shoulder. “Thank you for all you’ve done,” he said, his voice choking with tears.

Matthew got the room number for Carrissa, and headed down the hall, arriving at the door of 313. The room was still. Encircled by a curtain was a hospital bed. Matthew looked right and left, then pulled back the curtain. Lying on the bed was a damaged young girl, who looked even smaller than she had appeared sprawled on his windshield. She was covered in gauze and bandages, tubes coming out of her arms, legs and nose, and a ventilator nearby was noisily inhaling and exhaling her life. It was so ugly.

Realizing he was still alone, with no one anywhere in earshot, Matthew did something he had not done since he was a boy.

He prayed.

Not a polite prayer. Not a memorized one from a book of religious order. No.

One from his heart.

“God. The God of Jubal, Soos, Jo-Jay and Jesus. This is just screwed. I need your help. This girl needs your help. Please do something.”

Matthew left the room, stopping off at the nurses station to establish his “uncle” routine, and discovered that Carrissa Jones was from Iowa, and that her parents had been contacted, but wouldn’t be there until the next day.

Out of the clear blue sky, Matthew asked if he could stay in the room with Carrissa until they arrived.

“All night?” asked the nurse.

“If you wouldn’t mind,” Matthew replied.

She provided a small cot, blankets and a pillow. Matthew settled himself in for a vigil, waiting to see what his prayer would summon.

He stayed awake for a long time, taking the opportunity to examine life. What had brought him to this silent room, watching over a very damaged little girl?

He realized he wasn’t technically at fault. At the scene the police had surmised that Carrissa had come to the trash dumpster behind the casino where her pop idol had performed, hoping to find cups, discarded posters or anything that she could take as a souvenir of her time in Vegas, seeing Loozeal. It was a bizarre series of events ending in a tragedy.

About four o’clock in the morning, Matthew, having dozed off, was awakened by the arrival of nurses and a doctor. He was sent out of the room as these agents of mercy tried to revive Carrissa, who had gone into heart failure.

After ten or fifteen minutes, they came out of the room, a couple of them in tears. The doctor took Matthew’s hands and said, “She’s gone.”

He patted Matthew on the shoulder and said, “I know this is hard to understand, but maybe it’s better this way.”

As they walked away, he stared at the lifeless body of a little girl who just wanted a souvenir.

Maybe it’s better this way?

He turned and ran down the hallway, startling the staff, jumped into the open elevator, down to the main lobby and out the door, not stopping for a second to speak to anyone. He ran into the street and hailed a cab.

He took the cab back to his lodging, raced to his room, slammed the door, turned out the lights and whispered across the dark room, “Fucking shit. My prayer killed her.”

He turned on the light next to his bed, grabbed a bottle of Jack Daniels he kept nearby, and guzzled until he passed out.

The next morning, he awoke to a knock at his door. He thought he was dreaming, still under the influence of his old friend, Jack. The knocking persisted, so he struggled to his feet, stumbled to the door and opened it.

Standing before him was a well-dressed man in his early forties, his face exuding neither joy nor displeasure. He reached out to stabilize Matthew, who was wobbling.

“You must be Matthew Ransley,” he said matter-of-factly.

Matthew suddenly was engulfed by the memories of the previous day’s horror.

“I would give anything not to be,” he replied.

The gentleman helped Matthew walk back into the room and find a seat on the bed.

“My name is Carlin Canaby,” he said. “And you are in trouble.”

“What do you mean?” asked Matthew.

Carlin sat down on the bed next to him, put his arm around his shoulder and said, “You killed a girl with your car. And even though it wasn’t your fault, your life is so screwed up that it wouldn’t take an attorney much effort at all to prove that you’re responsible.”

“I am responsible,” said Matthew.

“Hush,” said Carlin. “Don’t be talking that way. You do your confessing to God. But you and I need to work on your story.”

Matthew leaned back and took another look at the stranger, disconcerted. “Who are you again?”

“I’m Carlin Canaby. I’m head of an organization called ‘Liary.’”

Liary?” questioned Matthew.

“Yes,” said Carlin. “Let’s take it one step at a time.”

“Are you an attorney?” inquired Matthew.

“Hell, no,” said Carlin. “I’m a consultant.”

Matthew struggled to his feet and walked to the other side of the room. “A consultant? I don’t think I need a consultant. I need an attorney.”

Carlin stood up and came over to Matthew’s side. “You will require an attorney, but you need to consult with someone before you ever go to one.”

“Do I know you?” asked Matthew.

“No,” answered Carlin. “I was sent here by a friend. And before you ask, I’ll tell you about the friend later. What I want to know is what you think about the accident.”

Matthew sank to his knees and said, “I killed a young girl. Twice. Once with my car, and the second time, with my prayer.”

 

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G-Poppers … January 6th, 2017

 Jonathots Daily Blog

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Jon close up

Awakened in the middle of the night, G-Pop took an extra moment or two to ponder a question.

Actually, the inquiry in his mind was the by-product of a whole series of conversations and interactions over the holiday season.

He realized, looking at friends and relatives, that each one had acquired a profile based upon their opinion about Earth’s origins.

It’s really rather simple: Is Earth cosmic or is it comic?

Does the path we choose take us into a realm of greater understanding because we accept that there was some sort of Great Architect who laid foundations for future building, or is it all just jumbled atoms colliding into one another to generate mutations which gradually move us forward in tiny increments?

A third option is that it’s both–in other words, mutations which the Great Architect scribbled into the blueprints.

But here’s the difference–without believing in a cosmic intelligence, we are bound by luck or controlled by destiny.

If I’m manipulated by destiny, what in the hell would I care about my own personal attitude or sense of motivation?

And if it’s all luck, I’m just waiting to tumble into one bucket or another.

Yet if it is cosmic–if there’s a way things work and a function to the fiction–then even limited mortals such as ourselves could learn a note or two to participate in the concert band.

This was brought to G-Pop’s mind last night when viewing a project by loved ones, and wondering what prompted these souls to envision a world so out of control, so beyond redemption, that even the “good” characters in their little movie were inflicted with disaster.

Do we have any control toward our own happiness?Because if we don’t, three score and ten years is much too long to endure.

And if we do, then the entire focus of our educational system, our spiritual upbringing and our moral code should be to discover the messages built into the eco-structure which foretell of possibilities.

Is it cosmic? In other words, was there an energy that initiated energy here on Earth?

Is it comic? Is it a collision of haphazard events, with me being the latest accident?

Or was this Master of Wisdom able to blur and blend the two possibilities together–cosmic and comic–to confound the wise and stimulate the simple?

It’s a very important question.

It informs us whether we can master any of our future, or whether we’re at the mercy of the latest splatter.

As G-Pop was thinking, he realized that the difference between the words “cosmic” and “comic” is a single “S.”

Perhaps the “S” stands for Savior.

For in the cosmic world, we struggle and fall short–and find our ultimate peace in accepting grace from our Creator through the Savior.

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Confessing … November 14th, 2015

 Jonathots Daily Blog

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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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Little Red Marble… May 20, 2013

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blood marbleShe gently slipped it into my hand.

It was a little red marble. She whispered in my ear, telling me it represented one single drop of the blood of Jesus.

Honestly, those kinds of representations of religious artifacts usually leave me cold, or even occasionally” creeped out.” But the combination of her sincerity and a sweet revelation in my soul moved me.

It is an abomination that in our society, blood has become so frivolous. We now have shows about vampires, doctor and police escapades where blood flows freely, and gore and violence represented repetitively in front of our eyes on a daily basis.

But it really isn’t true and there is no reality to it. The Bible tells us that blood is life. That’s true. If you’ve ever been at the scene of an accident and witnessed blood pouring out of a human being, you immediately realize that their life is draining away. Just because that same sensation does not communicate quite as vividly on the silver screen, DVD, blue ray or photographs does not take away the reality of blood loss.

One drop of the blood of Jesus means that there were many, many pints that flowed from him that day when he gave his life. Having once needed a blood transfusion myself, and having four pints pumped into my veins, I can tell you that the absence of that gift rendered me dizzy, with blurred vision, thirsty and nearly out of my head. Why? Because I didn’t have enough blood.

I do not know what it will take for us to realize that the pictures that come to us from Syria, Iraq, Afghanistan and points all over the world–where we see blood draining from human bodies–are warnings to us of the temporal nature of human life and the commonality of us all.

Two thousand years ago, a just and righteous man hung on a cross because other men forgot how valuable human life and blood truly was. Even though I may not focus on his death very often (because Jesus, himself, requested that we honor his words) I was moved yesterday in that moment, when the lady handed me a symbolic drop of his life force.

We will never become civilized again until we honor life by refusing to portray the shedding of blood as entertainment.

And we will never become spiritual if we fail to recognize the redemption, salvation and healing that comes through one drop of the blood of Jesus . . . even when it is shown to us in a little red marble.

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This … February 1, 2012

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This threatened to be more than she could bear. Her husband was killed–struck down in the street on his motorcycle, leaving her stricken. This was life without a companion. This was life devoid of repair. This was life minus a second chance. And now she had found out, this was also life deprived of justice–for the perpetrator of the accident was granted leniency instead of responsibility. This was painful. Not that she wanted revenge, or even an accounting of deeds. This just seemed to demand a sense of direction or purpose–or at least, meaning.
 
This generated some anger in her. She was ashamed of her anger. Being a good, Christian woman, she felt the need to forgive, even though the seeds of that emotion had not found any rich soil in her heart. This left her wounded.
 
She shared with those around her, and we, as people, did what we often do in these kind of situation. We comforted. We suggested. We offered an ear. We presented the possibility of our prayers. And we even pointed to some scriptural concepts of comfort. But even as these overtures were put forth, everyone knew how lame they were in comparison to her pain.
 
Actually, how inconsiderate it can be to bring up a God who was present at the accident, and even though He is bound by His doctrine of free will, still–He stood by and allowed her loving man to die. Yes, there is a time when even God wishes to shrink back into the shadows and not be a source of further anguish to us. For after all, prayers seem vacant of possibility in the stark reality of loneliness. Scriptures are similar to giving a box of powdered milk to a man dying of thirst. Without water, the powder can’t make fluid, and if you had water, why would you need the powdered milk?
 
This is not what she needed. This was not the answer.
 
In the midst of tragedy, three steps have to be achieved, and each one of them seems more impossible than the other:
 
1. Find yourself. Life will, unfortunately, go on–and the most valuable thing you can do is find out who you are and where you are in accordance with what you’ve done, and place yourself on the map of the landscape of life. This is hard. It demands that we envision ourselves without someone we love.
2. Find people who will let you grieve and who will listen without commenting. Grief was never meant to be alleviated by spiritual counseling or prayer. It is a process by which we replace our anger, frustration and disbelief–first with reality and then with a willingness to move on.
3. And finally, don’t stop doing what keeps you sane. The worst mistake in the world is to “take time off” to try to find yourself. The only way you truly find yourself is to use your time to make your gifts work for you.
 
This is often the “this” we have in life. We do not choose it. We would certainly select to escape it. But being forbidden any choice and finding no way of escape, we must take our emotions and let them run their course and find ourselves in the end.
 
She was a lovely woman with years of service to mankind. She wept as she told her story. At first I wanted to be a savior –a comforter to her soul. But as the moments passed, I realized I was needed only to listen and to remain still. Like watching a deer in the forest, this dear creature of God needed her moment to run wild. I will pray for her–privately. I will think of her for many days to come. But the best I can do for her personally is give her room to be human.
 
This … is my mission.
 
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