Untotaled: Stepping 19–(February 16th, 1965) Achy … June 21, 2014

Jonathots Daily Blog

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(Transcript)

Just south of my rib cage, ending just north of my knees, is an aching, throbbing pain, which has a grip on me and won’t let go. It is a gnawing discomfort, tingling my bowels, unrelenting, yet strangely, not totally unpleasant.

I felt it for the first time last summer when I went to Benny’s house–a friend of mine in the neighborhood–to goof around and figure out what to do with the day to make it go quick and slow at the same time.

As I arrived, there was Benny’s mom, standing outside with a garden hose, watering her bushes, dressed in a bikini. That was the first time I felt the ache.

It possessed my body. I didn’t want to look at her but I had to because she was … well, she was everywhere. She turned and smiled, which only made the ache worse. I couldn’t make eye contact because my vision kept falling on larger proportions.

I excused myself, telling her I had to go home. But I really didn’t. I ran to a nearby tree and hid, peeking around the corner of the bark, to stare at her.

The ache increased. It was almost unbearable in an exciting kind of way. I wasn’t sure if I needed to go to the bathroom or if my stomach was exploding.

Every time she glanced in the direction of the tree, I ducked behind it. But unfortunately, being a large young fellow, I protruded from the width of my disguise.

So the next time I ventured a glance, she was staring in my direction. She waved at me. I produced some sort of lame response using my hand, and ran to my house, into the garage, into the furthest corner where there was a fishing tackle box and a bucket we used for minnows.

I grabbed a nearby tarp and threw it over me so nobody could see me. I just sat there, smoldering in the heat, aching.

After about fifteen minutes, it went away.

But now today at school, it’s back again. It happened when we were called to an assembly and Louise turned around in her chair to talk to me before the principal began the event.

She’s so pretty–and the ache is back, so strong that I cannot enjoy the magician and his show, planned for the assembly. Instead, I just dream of Louise and me, together.

The ache.

Do you know what I mean? 

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Click here to get info on the "Gospel According to Common Sense" Tour

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Untotaled: Stepping 16 (October 2nd, 1965) 64-0 … May 31, 2014

Jonathots Daily Blog

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(Transcript)

Catholic kids had all the advantages.

That’s why, when I looked on our football schedule for the year and saw that Barker Academy was on October 2nd, I was really pissed off.

Being raised in the Midwest, I was not really favorable to Catholics in the first place. I didn’t know why–just something I inherited and was infused in me during my training by my family and community.

I kind of think we hated them because they had money. (It’s ironic that we hate other people for having money as we desperately pursue getting money. Maybe it’s the classic case of self-hatred.)

Barker Academy didn’t have any more players than we did. Matter of fact, we out-weighed them and seemed to have even cuter uniforms.

So when the game started and I lined up in front of a 150-pound kid wearing wire-framed glasses covered with black tape, peeking at me through his battered helmet, I nearly giggled. I was almost double his size and certainly not wearing such ridiculous spectacles.

Yet when the ball was hiked on the first play and I found myself knocked on my backside as the running back dashed past me, forty-five yards for a touchdown, I realized that this little Catholic boy was going to have to die.

I tried everything–overpowering him, tricking him, even tried to trip him a couple of times–all to no avail.

At the end of the first quarter, when we were behind 28-0, fear crept into my bowels. Those ugly glasses that donned his face now seemed to posses the power to destroy.

So in a fit of desperation, on the next play I hurled my body over the line, knocking the kid over, grabbing onto the leg of the running back, only to procure his shoe in my hand as he ran fifty-two yards for another score.

In some desire to prove my value, I carried the boy’s shoe over to the bench to show my coach that I was making a valiant effort. He just stared at me as the referee retrieved the footwear and whistled for play to continue.

I played both ways. That means I was on offense, too. Did I happen to mention that we had none?

It was almost like Barker Academy not only knew what play we were going to run, and had figured out a way to foil it, but had also rehearsed dances and jigs to taunt us every time they threw us for a loss.

Shortly before the first half was over, I ran to the sideline and in deep exasperation, I screamed at the coach: “We need a better defense!”

He gave me that gaze you often see on the countenance of a serial killer, and then rethought his murderous ways, hearkening back to his training of a Bachelor of Education Degree from Ohio State University, and yelled back, “We don’t need a new defense! We just need you to defend!”

It was a good point, though it made me pout.

The second half was no better than the first half. It was the longest two hours of my life, as Barker beat us to a pulp, 64-0.

For the next two weeks, I woke up in a cold sweat almost every night, being chased by those ugly wire-frame, taped glasses.

I know it is appropriate, at this point in a story, to share what I learned from this experience, or to bring it to some sort of hopeful conclusion.

I have none.

The only thing I can tell you is, as I walked off the field, I swore to myself: never again.

 

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Arizona morning

After an appearance earlier this year in Surprise, Arizona, Janet and I were blessed to receive a “surprise” ourselves. Click on the beautiful Arizona picture above to share it with us!

Click here to get info on the "Gospel According to Common Sense" Tour

Click here to get info on the “Gospel According to Common Sense” Tour

Please contact Jonathan’s agent, Jackie Barnett, at (615) 481-1474, for information about scheduling SpiriTed in 2014.

Click here to listen to Spirited music

Click here to listen to Spirited music

 

 

Dreadfully Dull… April 7, 2012

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It’s the Saturday part that always interests me. Looking at the days of Easter, from the arrest of Jesus through the crucifixion and on to the resurrection, we often leave out that twenty-four-hour period when he’s dead, beginning to stink and absent of any prospect of life.

Yes, for one day evil has won. Oh, shoot–that’s too dramatic. It would be easier if it were evil. Then we could take a gun out and shoot it, or send Navy seals over to exterminate it. But no. That Saturday between the crucifixion and the resurrection was a day when much more common, but sinister, concerns were given free rein.

It was a day of dreadful dullness. Because when you turn out the light what remains is darkness. Unacceptable. Yet time passes, your eyes adjust and it suddenly gains plausibility. Adaptation. Yet still, dreadfully dull.

It is a time when the consequence of extinguishing our possibility taunts us in our foolishness and inefficiency, leaving us to either repent in great sorrow for our short-sightedness or stubbornly insist, “It was my choice.”

Yes, it’s the Saturday that fascinates me–a Saturday when the street cleaners of Jerusalem are scraping up the bowels and remains of Judas Iscariot, who has hung himself and has fallen to the earth, gushing in all directions.

It’s a day when a disciple named Peter realizes that he has chosen his own bodily life over the spiritual life he gained from his friend. For denial, after twenty-four hours, reeks of betrayal. And unfortunately, there is no way to recreate beauty by removing truth.

It’s when a woman named Mary, from Magdala, is trying to figure out how in the hell her friend has been snuffed out by a religion she had honored all her life, and also how she was going to be able to roll away a stone to prepare his body for burial.

It is the Sabbath Day, a day of reverence in the midst of a season of redemption–Passover–a day when Caiaphas, the high priest, has symbolically given absolution to a race of people when he, himself, has blood on his hands from slaying the promise of God.

It is a day when people huddle in their houses of worship to commemorate the great deeds of the prophets of old, who were slain by their fathers and mothers–and now they, too, have followed suit, eliminating the greatest possibility.

Nicodemus has to wonder whether he said enough to defend the young man he came to visit by night, who told him to be “born again.” Perhaps he should have heeded the advice.

And Pontius Pilate has clean hands but a cluttered mind, wondering whether his latest decision might have eternal consequences.

But sanity often demands that we escape our conscience through the back door of excuse. The only recourse is to find inane activities that generate a dreadful dull–to anesthetize the guilt and leave us absent sensation.

It was a long day. It was a day when the world was without a Prince of Life and the Light of the World.

I’m not so sure we would have survived two of them–more lies and deception would have been needed to keep us from wondering if we were wrong.

  • Religion–without God.
  • Politics–removing purpose.
  • Friends–breathing, minus love.
  • And dreams–vegetating, devoid of fulfillment.

‘Twas a dreadful dullness–a warning. For resurrection loses some of its sweetness with the memory of indecision.

Only Mary Magdalene and her female companions could tout the glory of victory–having remained each step of the way, faithfully observing the unfolding of the magnificent plan. All others have the aching memory of twenty-four hours of dreadful dullness. 

Victims? Perhaps. But also culprits … in a crime against the universe.

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

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Sitting One

 I died today. 

I didn’t expect it to happen.  Then again, I did—well, not really.

No, I certainly didn’t expect it.

I’ve had moments of clarity in my life.  Amazingly enough, many of them were in the midst of a dream. For a brief second I would know the meaning of life or the missing treatment to cure cancer.  And then as quickly as it popped into my mind it was gone. I really don’t recollect dying.  Just this unbelievable sense of clear headedness—like walking into a room newly painted and knowing by the odor and brightness that the color on the wall is so splattering new that you should be careful not to touch it for fear of smearing the design. The greatest revelation of all? 

Twenty-five miles in the sky time ceases to exist.

The planet Pluto takes two hundred and forty-eight years to circle the sun. It doesn’t give a damn. 

The day of my death was the day I became free of the only burden I really ever had.  TIME.

Useless.

Time is fussy.  Time is worry. 

Time is fear.  Time is the culprit causing human-types to recoil from pending generosity. 

There just was never enough time. 

Time would not allow it.  Remember—“if time permits …”

Why if time permits?  Why not if I permit?  Why not if I dream?  Why not if I want?  Why does time get to dictate to me my passage? 

It was time that robbed me of my soulful nature.    It was time that convinced me that my selfishness was needed. 

I didn’t die. The clock in me died, leaving spirit to tick on.  

So why don’t we see the farce of time?  Why do we allow ourselves to fall under the power of the cruel despot?  Yes, time is a relentless master—very little wage for much demand.

I died today. 

Actually … a piece of time named after me was cast away.

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