1 Thing You Can Do This Week (To See Things Done)

1 Thing You Can Do This Week …

(To See Things Done)

How much preparation is necessary to begin a task and how much energy is required to complete it?

Most aspirations, goals, projects and dreams find their graveyard in that cemetery of contemplation.

Because we are frightened of beginning something and looking foolish, or running out of money, or failing to complete it, we decide that hesitating, delaying and avoiding is often the more mature choice.

I am not sure that the airplane could ever have been invented if there were not thousands of legitimate attempts to make one which failed–but in the process, gave a valued piece of information for going forward.

So the one thing you can do this week is:

Find what needs to be done and learn how to do it.

In the process of that education, you may well discover that the conclusion is far beyond your ability, or maybe even grasp.

But you will become informed. Therefore, you will progress the cause and you will possess greater understanding of yourself and your world with this noble attempt.

There are two great responsibilities given to the human race

1. Tell the truth

Nothing goes forward when we’re constantly trying to do damage control and lying.

2. Try something

Stop discussing, plotting, criticizing or undermining the efforts you see around you and get behind an idea, having first prepared yourself by learning how to be a good contributor.

That is your goal for this week–the one thing.

When you find what needs to be done, sit down and learn if there’s any way that you can lend a helping hand.

P. S. (This is actually a double P. S.):

My heart and soul are crushed this morning over the loss of Gilda York, a friend of mine who followed today’s principle as a champion. She took the young people around her and gave them direction, purpose and a little bit of beauty that they wouldn’t otherwise have experienced. She was killed in a head-on collision with a drunk driver

And also, today is my anniversary. The secret to marriage is actually to have the stamina and intelligence not to keep too many secrets.

 

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Catchy (Sitting 61) M, Leo and the First Meeting…August 11th, 2018

Jonathots Daily Blog

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Grateful he was.

Matthew sat quietly in his overstuffed and overpriced first-class seat on the midnight flight from Washington, D.C. to Las Vegas.

The plane was dark. It was quiet. Most of the passengers had taken their tiny element of a sleeping pill and disappeared into slumber.

That was also true of Leonora, who quickly explained that she was exhausted from the audition and needed to get some solid airplane z’s on the trip because she had a meeting the next morning with the symphony coalition, to discuss health benefits.

Her excuse, like every performance in her life, was well-rehearsed and inadequately presented.

As Matthew had gotten to know her, he liked her less and less, and so found himself burying his interest and passions into their sexual adventure.

She was opinionated. Matthew had always viewed himself as open-minded–easy to get along with–but in her presence felt defensive. He hated it when she insisted he start calling her “Leo,” because she viewed herself, in the realm of business, intellect and art, as a lioness.

“You are what you claim to be,” she mouthed.

Matthew nodded, quite certain that many claims were being made every day by mortals which made the heavens laugh.

What really troubled him was when she started calling him “M.”

Just the letter “M.”

When he asked her why she was doing that, she said, “I’m encouraging you to grow. You need to realize that you’re on a journey to fill out your name.”

Matthew didn’t know what the hell that meant, but was in no mood to have it explained further and end up with more dents in his body work. He was also afraid that if she started in trying to become his psychoanalyst, he would have to be more forthcoming and tell her that she was much less than she presumed.

Her oboe playing had never been great, but had become even less proficient as she started to complain about the fellow-members of her quintet and the unwillingness of the symphony conductor to listen to her suggestions on seating and tone.

She viewed Matthew as an ignoramus, even though he had spent many years enjoying classical music, and had a very good friend at the university who was an oboist. Matthew kept his mouth closed except when they were kissing.

It was especially difficult that day, when she met him at the airport, explaining that the audition was long, she had to wait, and then it turned out that she had some sort of microscopic, tiny split in her reed, which prohibited her from gaining the full height and depth of her range. She requested another time to audition but the committee refused. So she failed because they were inconsiderate.

Matthew listened to her rail for a solid hour–against the walls, the furniture, the paint and the chairs that surrounded her, blaming everything she possibly could for her setback–except for the fact that she was insufficient for the moment.

It was the strangest relationship of Matthew’s life. There was a deep-rooted part of him that loved her madly; an exotic jungle passion that nearly left him breathless. But as a human being, she had selected the portions of intelligence that she revered, while ignoring the virtues that make such knowledge applicable.

Matthew remained silent.

Sitting in the darkness of the airplane, glancing over at his sleeping lover, he began to cry. It actually turned into a tiny sob, which he hoped nobody else heard.

He was so embarrassed. He was ashamed–but also enraged, because here he was, with a defunct liver in his body, battling for his life, simultaneously apologizing for breathing.

How in the hell had it gotten so complicated? What was he going to do?

He reached into his pocket and pulled out his own remedy for insomnia–a tiny flask of a brandy which included a shot or two fo sherry. He downed the remainder of the contents and put his head back. Sleep still refused to come–so he cried.

Matthew finally dozed off, with tears streaming down his face.

*****

The following morning, in Washington, D.C., Soos decided to get started on her project.

She thought she had the easiest assignment of all. Michael Hinston, who had been a Congressman, wining and dining lobbyists who were salivating for his vote, now had a humble one-room efficiency at the YMCA. His marriage to the Lutheran minister had been annulled when she discovered all the trials and tribulations chasing him, threatening to destroy his life. She loved him, but she still wanted out.

So he was alone with his twin bed.

Soos called Michael and he agreed to meet with her at ten o’clock A.M., at a little diner he claimed had the best waffles and scrapple on the East Coast. Soos explained she had never eaten scrapple–avoiding it because the ingredients seemed to be the rear-end of every barnyard creature. But Michael said she would probably enjoy this batch.

Arriving at the diner, they found a booth in the back. They embraced–the kind of embrace that merged “old college friends” with some tenderness of man and woman, and a huge immersion in fellow-travelers of faith.

As Michael pulled away he had tears in his eyes.

“Why are you crying?” asked Soos.

Michael chuckled. “Because I can–and I am the luckiest man in the world to be able to cry this morning.”

Soos took the next ten minutes to explain to Michael what had transpired with the abduction and the request made to her–to contact him, the goal being some secret discovery about his involvement, which was beyond her comprehension.

“Well, since neither one of us know what it means, or have any idea of the significance, I think it’s good that we came to eat waffles,” said Michael.

And eat they did. Soos ended up actually enjoying the scrapple, though she thought it was a little salty.

They just talked. It was a conversation that would be difficult to explain to a stranger, so filled with tenderness that it would always be remembered as priceless.

“There was a time in my life,” Michael said, “when if you had told me that some organization or guy had chosen me for special attention, I would have assumed it was just great foresight on their part. I wasn’t just arrogant–I was religious about my arrogance. I actually believed that God wanted me to be the best father in the world. The best husband. The best extra-marital lover. The best Congressman. And of course, the best cheater in Washington, D.C. Sometimes when you’re going for the best you forget that it has to begin with good. You know–good, better, best?”

Soos smiled. She had always loved Michael because he was clever. Unfortunately, cleverness could have dangerous blow-back.

Michael continued. “I almost lost everything. Let me edit my own statement. I did lose everything–but I never actually had it. I just pretended. I pretended so hard that, honest to God, I could not imagine what was happening when my first wife left me for a Lesbian and my second wife left me because I was a criminal. Everybody leaves me.”

He grinned. “And I really can’t argue with them. They’ve got really good reasons.”

“So I don’t know why anybody would want me to do anything. I did fix the radiator in my room, so when winter comes I’ll be warm. That was pretty nifty.”

Michael paused.

“Will you talk to me about Matthew?” he asked. “I don’t think I ever loved a man as much as I love Matthew. I don’t think I ever told him that. I was afraid he would make fun of me.”

Soos giggled and spit out a little bit of her coffee. “He would have.”

Michael chuckled. They sat for a moment. Soos reached over and took his hand.

“He’s dying,” she said.

Michael lifted his head, shocked.

“Not quickly,” she explained. “But his liver is shot to hell, and gradually, he’s just poisoning himself. “And he has a new girlfriend that has the personality of a prickly pear.”

Michael laughed. “What you’re saying is that she is difficult to sit down on and talk to.”

For some reason, Soos found that statement hilarious. She laughed and snorted, gaining the attention of half the diner. A dirty look from the proprietor finally made her sober up.

“I don’t want to get you kicked out of your favorite diner,” she said.

Michael waved her off. “Forget about it. I waffle on my favorite diner.”

He smiled with the innocence of a ten-year-old boy. “What can I do for Matthew?”

Soos considered and then injected, “Got a black market liver in your pocket?”

Michael crinkled his brow. “No,” he said, “but I have a liver in my body.”

“Don’t you need that?” mocked Soos.

“Yeah, but not all of it. I could give him a piece of mine.”

Soos shook her head. “That’s ridiculous, Michael. Anyway, you probably wouldn’t be a match.”

“But what if I was?” queried Michael. “What if I held the key to Matthew’s life the way Jesus held the key for mine?”

Soos groaned, a little disgusted. “So now you think you’re a savior?”

“No,” said Michael. “That job is filled. It just seems like if you could save someone, why not go ahead and do it?”

A lightbulb went off in Soos’s head.

“Oh, my God,” she said. “Is it possible that your part in this, whatever…mission…is to help Matthew and bring him to Jesus?”

Michael teared up again. He took the final bite of waffle laying on his plate, seemingly deserted. He chewed, swallowed, and looked Soos in the eye.

“My dear sister,” he said slowly, “I can’t imagine a greater calling.”

 

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Catchy (Sitting 59) Come See a Man Who Told Me All Things I Ever Did…. July 29th, 2018

Jonathots Daily Blog

(3748)

Awake.

Lying flat on his back, Carlin stared up at the ceiling. He tried to remember. Where was he? How did he get here? What was the last thing he remembered?

Being in an airplane.

This was not an airplane, so he obviously had been drugged.

Looking down, he discovered he was wearing a blue cotton robe, which fell just below his knees. Glancing to his right, a wall–painted pure white. To his left, another, colored the same. He gradually eased up onto his elbows to observe his surroundings.

A small room, about the size of a one-car garage. There were no doors, no windows, and upon careful inspection, the walls were made of steel.

He was lying on a twin bed–fairly comfortable–with a pillow. Pulling up to a seated position, he discovered that behind him was a night stand with a Bible and a porn magazine lying side-by-side, with a not-so-subtle bottle of lotion perched nearby.

He got to his feet, surprised that he wasn’t woozy. Actually he felt pretty strong.

There was a toilet in the room and a small basin. Also one of those apartment-sized refrigerators and an ice machine. He opened it up to discover it was filled with food. There were cookies, candy, power bars, bottles of beer, soft drinks and even some vodka.

The ceiling was about twenty feet high–obviously to discourage any attempt to climb up and escape.

He looked for a telephone or any means of communicating with the outside. None.

About nine feet up, running along the steel walls, was a series of air vents. He counted. Eight in all.

He sat back down on his bed, and before he knew it, he was sound asleep.

The next time he woke up, he was very hungry. Carlin discerned that there must be some sort of gas flowing into the room. Part of the time it provided rejuvenating pure oxygen, and other times, some gas inducing sleep.

Clever. Otherwise the terror might cause insomnia, which could soon drive any prisoner insane.

Days passed–at least Carlin thought so.

It was difficult to determine. The only thing that made him fairly certain that a new day had come was when he realized that his robe had been removed and replaced with a clean one.

So there was obviously a way to get in and out of the solid, steel walls. But though he carefully examined each rivet and bolt, he was unable to discover an opening.

On one awakening, Carlin found that the refrigerator had been removed. The food was gone, as was the ice machine. In its place was a water cooler.

Upon the next awakening, he lost his bed. Just a blanket and pillow remaining. Also, the porn magazine and lotion disappeared.

On yet another rising, all the cookies, power bars and anything resembling food was removed.

He found himself in this room with a Bible, a toilet, water and a sink.

Days passed.

Carlin tried to figure out what had brought him to this place, and what possible interest anyone would have–for them to go to such trouble to care for his every need, and then restrict him.

And then, one day he awoke in a chair in another room which was also painted white. But it was larger.

He was wearing a bright red pair of pants with white tennis shoes and a red Nehru jacket–nothing he would ever purchase for himself. He was fastened to the chair by a set of hand-cuffs. Once again, he felt refreshed, fully alive, but bewildered.

Suddenly, a door in the back of the room opened and a portly fellow appeared. He was dressed in black pants, and like him, wore a Nehru coat–black.

The man was short, round, and more rolled his way to a chair placed about fifteen feet from Carlin’s. He sat. The Nehru jacket was a poor fit, and so stuck out like he had candy bars stuffed in the pockets.

Carlin smiled. But even more bizarre was the fact that this rolly-polly visitor was wearing a mask. Carlin squinted at the mask.

“Do you like my mask?” The stranger spoke up. Carlin observed that he had a bit of an Eastern European accent. He chose not to answer.

“I thought you would like it,” the visitor continued. “Wasn’t it your favorite as a boy? ‘Casper the Friendly Ghost.’ Remember? When you were just seven years old, and your daddy would not let you have the costume of Casper because he said that Halloween was of the devil?”

Carlin took a deep breath. He did not know this man. He did not recognize his voice. The surroundings were completely alien to him, yet the visitor seemed to know details of his life.

Carlin decided to use his usual weapon–his wit.

“Yeah, I had to trick the old man. I told him it was Casper the Holy Ghost.”

The fat man laughed. “Joshua Mensterhall was his name, am I right? That was your father.”

Carlin did not respond.

The intruder continued. “He was a preacher of sorts–very poor. I mean, money-wise. Always upset your mother, Myrtle, didn’t it?”

Carlin was unnerved, but had learned long ago that keeping your cool was the best way to stay out of hot situations.

“And then there was trouble,” continued the stranger. “Your mother divorced your father, your father fell into some dementia, if I’m correct. And you ended up being the ward of a family named Canaby. Missionaries. They decided to take you in as their new son.”

Carlin interrupted, perturbed. “Actually, they had three daughters and they needed a boy to work with them. You know–to lift things, run errands and all the other things the girls refused to do. I was a well-fed slave. Similar to today, sir. Except you won’t let me eat.”

“My name–for purposes of this day–is Frank,” said the man. “We shall call me Frank because that’s what I plan to do with you. Be frank. I wanted you to know that I was aware of your life. I am fully up-to-date on the fact that you still maintain a personal belief in God though you find all the systems of the world devoid of value. That’s why you started your company, Liary–trying to find a better way to lie, which hurt fewer people.”

“Listen, Frank,” inserted Carlin, “I wouldn’t phrase it that way. And if you’re so concerned, why do you have me handcuffed to this chair?”

Frank slowly stood up and headed over to Carlin. “I’m so sorry. I didn’t realize it was so uncomfortable. I did buy the velvet cuffs to ease any pressure on your skin.”

Frank took a key and unlocked the cuffs on the one end which held them to the chair.

Carlin quipped, “Why don’t we just take off the whole damn thing?”

“Never abandon what you might need later,” said Frank, waddling his way back to his chair.

Staring at the very vulnerable back end of his adversary, Carlin challenged, “How do you know I won’t jump up here and attack you to make my escape?”

Turning around to sit, Frank laughed. “Oh, my dear friend. There are at least a dozen ways you would be killed before you got within a foot of me.”

Carlin quickly looked around the room, horrified. “Good response,” he said. “Let me ask you this. What would keep me from jumping to my feet and running out the back door, getting away?”

Frank chuckled. “I suppose the best answer to that would be months and months of not exercising.”

Carlin had to laugh. “Well, there must be a reason you have me here. So sensing that I’m not going to hurry you, let me sit back in my ridiculous outfit and become as pliable as I possibly can.”

Frank nodded his head. “That’s what I liked about you. I mean, when I studied you. You aren’t afraid of dealing with reality and taking it as it comes.”

Carlin stood to his feet. “Is it alright if I stand?”

“Surely,” said Frank. “Just don’t move. My snipers are a bit peckish.”

Once again, Carlin looked around the room, baffled, in terror.

“Is there any way I could get you to take off the mask?” inquired Carlin.

“Not on our first date,” said Frank. “Maybe someday. But now, onto matters that concern you. Soon you will be back to your home, and because of the particular chemicals we have mixed together, this entire event will seem like a dream rather than an actual occurrence. That’s good. You will discover that while this is happening to you, other members of your team are also being welcomed and taken care of in like manner. Five of you in all.”

This startled Carlin more than anything else that had happened over the duration. Who? What? Why?

He decided to pursue the who. “What members of our team?” he challenged.

Frank scooted back into his chair. “There’s no harm in you knowing. Like I said, it will seem like a dream to all of you–except when you construct all the pieces together, a concrete message will appear.”

Frank paused. “I see I am merely confusing you. Well, to answer your question: Jubal, Jasper, Soos and Jo-Jay. They, like you, are part of this master plan.”

“Master plan?” asked Carlin.

“Well,” said Frank. “Perhaps that’s a bad name for it. Let us just say that matters have reached a point where it is necessary for–shall we call them, outside forces?–to intervene. To make sure that what you folks have begun has a fulfilling ending.”

“I don’t know what the hell you’re talking about!” Carlin was suddenly furious. “What gives you the goddamn right to interrupt the lives of five adult people?”

“I have no right,” said Frank. “But for this season it’s better to interrupt the lives of five souls, with the possibility of salvaging millions.”

Carlin shook his head. “I’ve heard this bullshit all my life. The end justifies the means. The greater good. Honor the traditions. This is the best way we can handle it. Frank, let me be frank with you. Every time I’ve heard those words, human beings have gotten hurt.”

“A very astute observation,” said Frank. “And you are correct. It is a potential danger. So let me not keep you any longer with this aimless discussion. Each one of you will be given a single piece to remember. Only when you join together–the five of you–will you form the complete message that will give you direction.”

“God damn it, I’m not James Bond, you son-of-a-bitch.” Carlin stood up, walking forward. As he did a bullet whizzed by his head. He leaped back, desperately grabbing onto his chair.

Frank shook his head. “I told you my snipers were a bit overly caffeinated…”

Gasping, Carlin said, “Peckish was the word you used. I’d call them goddamn peckers.”

“Now,” continued Frank calmly, “to your piece in the puzzle.”

“Hold on, hold on,” said Carlin. “What about Matthew? He’s the one that got all of this started. Why isn’t he in this mix?”

Frank held up his hand, demanding silence. “Everyone has their place. Just learn yours.”

Carlin shook his head, wanting to be rebellious, but realizing the price he might pay for his assertive nature. “I’m listening,” he said.

“Your piece of the puzzle, Mr. Canaby, is a name. I want you to remember it. I want you to retain it for the moment you will need it. The name is Terrence Eldridge.”

Carlin interrupted. “Shouldn’t I write that down?”

Frank laughed. “Oh, no, no, no. You’ll remember it. We made sure. We’ve studied your brain for a long time.”

Carlin was about ready to object when everything went black. It remained so for some time.

At least, it must have been some time.

Because the next thing he knew, he was waking up in Washington, D.C. in his own bed, wearing his own black satin pajamas, with the sun streaming through the windows.

Once again, he was refreshed and energized. He had no idea how much time had passed.

He sat and tried to remember what had transpired, but it was like bits of the story were running out of his brain, like water from a falls. With each passing minute, he retained less and less.

Finally, there was just one thing left. A name, with shadows.

Terrence Eldridge.

Carlin was convinced he’d had a nightmare which affected his emotions greatly, but he couldn’t come up with any details.

It seemed like a bad dream.

Until he rolled over and saw the velvet handcuff dangling from his wrist.

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The “Ants” That Make Us Cry “Uncle” — October 1, 2011

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1912. The world was erupting with innovation and invention.

  • A canal had been constructed across the Isthmus of Panama, connecting the east and west, making both commerce and communication more plausible.
  • In a twenty year span, we had gone from horses to cars, from trains to airplanes and from mere boats to … the Titanic.

The Titanic was the greatest ship that had ever been built. It was huge, luxurious, modern and seemingly impenetrable and unsinkable.  Everyone believed this–even her captain. But it is very important in the process of creating a righteous environment that those who lead us maintain enough of an inquisitive nature that they permit learning to occur instead of settling in to ignorance. The public could believe anything it wanted to. The manufacturer could tout that the Titanic was incapable of being harmed in any way. But the captain had responsibility to not only know his ship, but more importantly, be aware of the ocean where he traveled. After all, being a captain is not merely steering a ship. Being a captain is steering a ship safely through the unknown waters. Maybe that’s where we get the word “leader-ship”–because to lead, you must be able to understand everything about your ship, but also everything that your ship will be going through en route to its safe destination.

If you don’t, the end result is ignorant: I ignore the world around me. It is the doorway to foolishness.

*In religion, we have no awareness of what other people believe and whether those contentions parallel anything of our thought patterns–or even are contrary to human success.

*In politics, a party line is passed along and spoken aloud as the objection against the platform of the other side without any real understanding of either source or motivation.

*And in corporations, our product is just better because…well, we made it.

A captain got on a ship in 1912 and because he was told that it was unsinkable and he felt he was well-prepared in learning all of its ins and outs, he ended up killing himself and fifteen hundred other people–because he lacked knowledge of the world around him  He was ignorant.

And this caused him to be arrogant.  Here’s my definition of arrogant: arrogant occurs when I am positive of my beliefs. Most people would disagree with me and call that conviction.  But all in all, we are just too fragile and human to allow ourselves to possess convictions. We must preface everything we believe–and even put forth in conversation very careful disclaimers of “this is what I think, but I’m willing to listen to other ideas.”

How about this? I realized the other day that 99% of the time I am an atheist. So are you. Because more than likely, if you’re reading this, you believe in one God. That means the other 99 gods out there touted by other religions you insist are mythical or even comical. 1% of the time you are God-fearing, and to the rest of the world, 99% of the time you are Godless.  It’s a different perspective–see what I mean?

But it begins by being ignorant.  “I ignore the world around me.”

Even though God made the world and has placed a system within it for us to learn, for some reason I have chosen to ignore the world because I feel I have garnered enough data to be successful without learning anything else. And this leads to arrogant“I am positive of my beliefs.”

The captain of the Titanic was so sure that his ship was in great shape that he didn’t even have binoculars for his crew to spot icebergs with. They didn’t even provide an adequate number of  life boats for the entire passenger list. Why would you? If you were positive in your belief that the Titanic was unsinkable and you had chosen to ignore the world around you–what would be the problem?

But ignorant and arrogant often leads to a third “ant”–intolerant. Quite frequently, the ocean around you will rise up with ice, strike your ship and find its weakness–and you will have to decide whether to be broken in repentance or angry over the results. Intolerant is the notion that “I will stubbornly cling to my truth.”  And of course, “my truth” consists of those beliefs I am positive about because I have ignored the world around me.

That night in 1912, a literal perfect storm of stupidity linked together to kill off human beings for no particularly good reason. It is because “ignorant” led to “arrogant” and ended with “intolerant.”

I’m going to give you a statistic and I want you to think about it. It is an important one. And before you accept OR reject it, I want you to try it out.  There is nothing I write to you in jonathots that is sacred as it lies on the paper.  (Or screen, in this case.)  It becomes valuable as it is able to bless human beings.  Here is what I want you to consider:

 70% of the anger and frustration that plagues our existence can disappear if we will admit that we’re just not sure.

Think about that. Most of the arguments, fussing, divorces, wars, splits and even bodily harm that occur amongst our species is caused by people who are ignorant of the world around them, arrogant about their beliefs, and intolerant because they feel it is necessary to defend their truth. God and nature are always trying to teach us something new.  Most of us just don’t show up for class.  If we took five minutes to ask ourselves one simple question–“what if I”m wrong?”–that solitary inquiry could resolve the majority of our dilemmas.

What would have happened if a captain in 1912, when asked about the danger of icebergs by his crew, instead of saying, “Don’t worry about it,” would have said, “Tell you what let’s do.  Let’s play it safe and put a double watch on it, just to protect our friends on board.” But to do that, he would have had to overcome being ignorantignoring the world around him; arrogantbeing positive about his belief in his ship,  and finally, intolerantclinging to his decisions in spite of the objections of his crew.

Fifteen hundred people could have walked off a ship in New York City, safe and sound, because one man avoided the “ants.” 

Yes, the “ants” that always end up making us cry “uncle.”

***********************

Jonathan Sings “Spent This Time”

Jonathan Sings “Harvest Time”

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