PoHymn: A Rustling in the Stagnant … August 22nd, 2018

 Jonathots Daily Blog

(3773)

Caught Up With God

by Jonathan Richard Cring

I caught up with God last night.

It’d been a while

I had been busy with me.

His matters–more universal.

“How ya doin’ with that life I gave you?” He asked, with a twinkle in His eye.

“Livin’ loud and free,” I replied.

“Oh, my. Sounds bold,” He countered.

“Let there be light, bolder still,” I returned.

He smiled.

I loved His smile. Always warm and left me enlightened.

He looked tired, but not aging–the kind of weary you might see in a friend when you suggest a nap instead of another cup of coffee.

I searched for words.

I suddenly realized why the visits between us were less frequent.

There was a great mutual appreciation, with not much common interest.

“I thought we could catch up,” He suggested.

“Good.” I nodded but remained silent.

I don’t know why He makes me nervous.

There has been no vexation between us. No major disagreement.

There are many things I like, which I hear He thinks are sins.

And the thoughts that cross my head seem unworthy to share with such a pure soul.

Yet venturing for a night that would be memorable for its difference, I said, “Sometimes I stay away from You when I don’t need to.”

I looked deeply into His eyes to see if I had hurt His feelings.

That was not my intention, but certainly could have been the conclusion.

He maintained a stare, as if waiting for more explanation. So I decided to push on.

“Sometimes I just don’t believe in You. Sometimes I feel foolish thinking that the apparition I’ve created of your presence has any truthfulness. Or for that matter, value. Sometimes I grow weary of my own mythology.”

I stopped speaking.

Only half of what I shared was honest. Like many words spoken in a spat, the majority are stirred to hurt instead of reveal.

But why did I want to hurt God?

Why did I want Him to know that I didn’t need Him?

Why was I taking this moment of reunion and turning it into a cup of poison?

Then…

God just walked over and quietly sat down in a chair.

Though He did not motion for me to join Him, the energy compelled me to find a nearby seat of my own.

The two of us, seated.

Old friends?

Or just strangers who finally realized the extent of the disconnection?

He spoke. “What would you think or feel if I said I don’t always believe in you?”

“I would be horrified,” I responded. “Even if I have made you up in my ego, I need you to be supportive. I need you to be my permanent cheerleader. I need you to give me unconditional love.”

“And what do I get for this gift?” He asked, tilting His head and squinting His eyes.

I didn’t pause for a moment. I answered immediately–almost impetuously.

“My guaranteed doubt.”

The Most High laughed.

“Quite a good deal,” He said, rubbing His chin. “Perhaps I should jump on it right away, in case you change your mind.”

I excused myself and went into the bathroom.

I sat in my stall, realizing that I was manufacturing an event in my head that was probably more spirits-in-a-bottle than Spirit-in-my-life.

Suddenly, there He was. In the stall with me, leaning against the wall.

“Stalk’er much?” I asked.

“It’s not really stalking,” He noted. “I thought we were still having a conversation, and just changing locations.”

“It’s a perfect example,” I interjected. “I am a person. I value my privacy. There are times I don’t like to be chased by a spirit or a theology or reminded of my inadequacies by a black book with a lousy cover.”

God burst into laughter.

“How true! For them to claim it’s the Word of God, and not even have great cover art… So much like those who only believe so they can hold it against those who don’t.”

“Would you turn your head?” I demanded. “I would like to finish here.”

Before I could complete my phrase He was gone.

I wondered if it would be another season of absence, or if I would find Him sitting in the chair when I left the restroom.

I stood in front of the mirror and splashed some water on my face.

I realized I was not ugly. Maybe just a little facially displaced.

I smiled, thinking how I wanted to share that with Him. How much He would enjoy it.

We always could make each other laugh. That’s for sure.

It’s just that sometimes, He doesn’t know how to stop my tears.

Feeling I was “stalling,” and then thinking that I must share that pun with Him also, I opened the door and stepped out.

He was gone.

There was this amazing smell in the air.

What was it?

Garlic, tomato and just a hint of oregano.

Of course.

All the ingredients of Chicago deep-dish pizza.

I breathed in deeply.

I shook my head.

He knew it was my favorite.

Our guest reader is Isabella, who is a student at Florida State University.

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Three Ways to Start Fresh… January 1, 2015

  Jonathots Daily Blog

(2460)

bread bigger

Dream and scheme.

It is the dual approach used in the United States by those who are pursuing success.

We are told to have “big dreams” and be prepared to scheme our way into the marketplace using cunning–everything short of illegality.

The pundits of this philosophy sit back and smirk at its ambiguity. In other words, how realistic are dreams and how proficient is it to scheme for what we want?

The “dream and scheme” tactic is not only inefficient but also dangerous–inefficient because it leaves us at the mercy of hope, and dangerous because we are tempted to cheat.

As we begin the New Year, we often have the sensation of wanting to improve our lives. But dreams put us to sleep, threatening nightmares, and scheming puts us in a competitive arena with those who may be more ruthless.

Here’s how you can start fresh:

1. Don’t fret over what you haven’t done.

There’s a reason for it. Don’t study the reasons so much. The past only gives you a certain amount of input before it turns into a nagging mistress.

2. Set your aspirations based on what you can do instead of what you want to do.

If you’ve never done it before, although you tried, your next attempt will probably be no more illustrious. Instead, winnow down your talents to those you can perform when sick, inspired, depressed, under pressure or handicapped. After all, these are your gifts. Use them well.

3. Don’t blame anyone.

That includes yourself. Circumstances always arise to bring tribulation. We have two defenses against such onslaught:

A. Count the cost.

In other words, don’t budget in what you don’t have. Only consider what’s available.

B. Be of good cheer.

And here is my definition of good cheer:

Nothing happens until I show up. Nothing is over until I give up.

If you will escape the “dream and scheme” apparition which is haunting our culture, you can begin a fresh, new life–working with your abilities, doing what you can do, and not taking things so personally.

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He’s All Right … July 16, 2013

Jonathots Daily Blog

(1945)

richardRichard is dead.

For six years he has lain low in a grave, in a town not his home or even his casual acquaintance, purchased by a younger brother who selected the plot based upon a reasonable fare.

I have not thought much about him.

Alive, he was my friend–perhaps more honestly presented, I was his friend. He was a man without family, sporting a hair-do that would have been popular during the 1950’s, a bit cranky, with a tender heart which had crusted over through the years, leaving him occasionally willing but more often than not, at the wrong times.

So when he suddenly, inexplicably and nearly intrusively appeared in my dreams last night, I was a bit alarmed. But as I allowed myself to participate in what truly could have been more an apparition or night vision than a simple sleepy-time mirage, I found myself completely engorged in the emotion and revelation of the idea.

It was Richard but it was NOT Richard. He was younger, stronger. The ashen, pale-yellow pallor of his skin was replaced with a bronzed, glowing countenance. Although he still sported his pompadour, it was golden, well-kempt and seemingly free of the need of intrusive creams and sprays.

He was happy.

Perhaps that was the greatest shock of all. I never really saw Richard happy. God knows he tried. He even developed an impersonation of the emotion.

But this was different. He was aglow. He was excited. He was bubbling over with new ideas.

He was running across the top of a high building, breathlessly explaining to me that he believed the concert “needed to be held up here, and required tons and tons of sound and lights.”

He was sharing his ideas with such energy–when I noticed there were actual biceps in his arms instead of dangling flesh, barely disguising skeletal confines.

I looked over, and suddenly, standing next to me, was my friend, Janet. She had ambled up during my focus on the dazzling sight before me. She kept looking at me instead of at the top of the building and our cavorting comrade.

And then suddenly Richard did something completely out of his well-known human character. He pulled money from his pants and held it out to me, explaining that I would need lots of money–an abundance of money–to pull this concert off.

I motioned to Janet to take the money from him and she looked at me, perplexed, but still reached up, and when she pulled her hand down, all that was in it was a receipt for the meal we had just enjoyed.

“Here,” she said, handing it to me. “We should keep this for tax time.”

I was a bit aggravated that she was unable to see our resurrected buddy, who had obviously gone through a transformation beyond all earthly comprehension.

As I turned back to look at him, suddenly he was not more than four inches from my face–and he had translated himself into a litte four-year-old Chicano toddler. Rather than being startled, I found myself giggling. Before I could ask him what had happened, he spoke in a child’s tenor.

“We are all children here.”

I trembled.

I turned and ran away, hid in a room. I was followed by the memory of my young son, Jerrod, circa eight years old. He wanted me to play with him but I was too traumatized by my vision.

“Give Daddy a moment,” I said. “Just give me a moment.”

I closed the door and wept. No, I mean I really cried. And I realized that I had never mourned my friend on his passing. Too many details. Too much pain. And too much disappointment over the seeming meaninglessness of his journey.

But now I cried and I cried.

All at once, he was standing in the room next to me and he placed his hand on my shoulder, although I never felt it, and he simply said, “I’m all right.”

I awakened with tears in my eyes.

I don’t know why I had this visitation. Maybe wherever he is, he had graduated from one status to another and I was invited to the celebration. Maybe I just needed to feel something about his life since I was so vacant of emotion during his death.

Or maybe it’s a message that is important to me and to all of us: He’s all right.

And you know what?

Bless the Lord above:  we’re gonna be all right.

 

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