Peeking at the Moon … June 9, 2012

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A small motel room–so tiny that the bed is jammed up against the outer wall.

Saturday night … I always find it difficult to sleep on Saturday night. After all these years, I believe I am still the little boy who dreamed of traveling and sharing his message, and I still become giddy in my spirit over the notion that I actually get to do it. I never get tired of it. Sometimes, though, it causes my internal childhood giggle to wake me up from sleep, to play. I don’t want to play. It’s time to slumber and get my much-needed rest.

But the little fellow won’t leave me alone. So after a few minutes, I stop resisting the inevitable and allow my mind to wander. At first the room is dark around me, and gradually lightens as my eyes adjust to the surroundings.

Memories of other sleepless nights … I recall writing a novel and for four straight evenings I woke up at exactly 3:33 A.M. It was cool and spooky, all at the same time. Am I crazy? I think we need cool and spooky. Otherwise, we start believing our lives are the sub-total of our debt and intake.

All at once I noticed the curtain dangling down the window, right at my fingertips. It was one of those thick motel types, made of some polyester and plastic blend–the fumes would certainly kill you if it ever caught on fire. Absent-mindedly, I reached over to pull back the curtain and looked out.

Full Moon view from earth In Belgium (Hamois)....

Full Moon view from earth In Belgium (Hamois). Français : Pleine Lune vue de la Terre en Belgique à Hamois. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

And there it was. The moon–surrounded by a great corona of haze–not high in the sky, but directly at my eye level. It surprised me so much that I chuckled. What was the moon doing so low? It looked like it was about fourteen inches from my nose. For some reason it had a Christmas appearance to it–like viewing a Christmas tree and its lights through a frosty window pane. It gave me a chill down to my soul. It was so special.

I don’t know why it struck me with such an intense emotion–but it was so close, so low in the sky–as if it were perched there waiting for me to pull back the veil and gaze. Yes, I am one of those odd birds who believes there are natural phenomenon that happen just for my pleasure. I guess it’s a strange mingling of vanity, faith, hope and childishness. But whatever it is, it’s magnificent.

If you will allow me, it’s like a great game of pretend. When we become grown-ups, we think that the word “pretend” is an immature or even nasty concept. But not so when we’re young.

My Aunt Mary used to come over every Sunday afternoon to visit, and we’d have some sort of meal spread out and she continually brought Brussel sprouts. I was told that I must try Aunt Mary’s Brussel sprouts, so I did. It crossed my mind to tuck them in my pocket or dump them in a nearby waste basket, but I was twelve years old, and by that age you pretty well know when you can get by with things and when you are destined to get caught. So I sampled her Brussel sprouts. I pretended to eat them, though what I actually did was chew a couple of times and then swallow them whole with a big gulp of cold water.

Aunt Mary asked me if I liked her Brussel sprouts, and then she smirked at me and said, “You didn’t try them, did you?”

“Yes, I did,” I replied. “But they were kind of hard … and bitter.”

My mother looked at me, angry. But Aunt Mary just nodded her head and walked away. The next Sunday she showed up with Brussel sprouts again, so I grabbed my cup of ice water and headed off to the table to get my portion of nastiness. But they looked different — the Brussel sprouts, that is. They weren’t as green and they had some sort of sauce on them. It was butter. They were softer, and with the butter, they tasted sweet. I actually liked them. I didn’t need my ice-cold water to swallow them whole–I was able to chew them up.

I glanced over at my Aunt Mary and she gave me a sheepish grin. I smiled back. That day I learned to kind of like Aunt Mary AND Brussel sprouts, and I also learned the power of honestly pretending.

Without pretending, we begin to believe that we can decipher this whole puzzle of life just with the pieces provided. And without honesty, we quickly become deceivers and liars, trying to escape the anger and nastiness of the scrutiny around us. It’s when you blend them.

Because when I was peeking at the moon, enjoying my own personal lunar expedition, I realized that the moon was probably there for everybody, but there was no power in my believing that. There was no exhilaration in my soul if some scientist walked into the room and explained the reason for my close encounter with that face in the sky.

Intelligence is a wonderful thing–until it stands in the way of joy. Then it becomes like your grandma at Chuck E. Cheese, who constantly complains about how loud it is, while noting that the salad bar is only “passable.”

I eventually did go back to sleep — I think. But I always enjoy those moments when I am awakened from the world of sleep to spend a few moments with myself and my desires. What is the greatest atrocity in life? To be absent of any evidence to confirm your dreams.

The moon was waiting for me that night. I believe that. Why? Because it doesn’t do me any good in my life to explain away all the blessings as coincidence.

Maybe we’ve found the definition for faith–to honestly pretend–to dare to continue to pursue a child’s dreams while offering a man’s feelings. I can do that; I can really do that.

I’m looking forward to the next time I’m awakened. Maybe it will be a clock with excellent timing–or a curtain that unveils the moon. I don’t know. But it will give me a chance to honestly pretend, which is the only true reason to continue on.

   

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If You Knew … January 26, 2012

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From Miami, Florida

 

If you knew taking a ten-minute walk every day would lengthen your life by five years, would you do it?

If you knew the person of your greatest affection was truly the very best you ever could have done, would you decide to be more appreciative of their presence?

If you knew that pickled beets, when eaten with Brussel sprouts, promoted longevity, would you adjust your palate accordingly?

If you knew there was basically no difference between men and women except a couple of obvious physical ones, would you reject society’s bigotry, or continue to join in the misguided laughter and fantasy?

If you knew your religion was incorrect and through some miracle, were given the true revelation, which ended up being from another religion’s hearth and home, would you change your affiliation to gain greater insight?

If you knew your car was being made in a foreign country at the expense of people who were suffering under the management of the manufacturer, would you switch to another vehicle to make a stand against tyranny?

If you knew the political party of your choice was actually detrimental at this time to the nation’s better interest, would you abandon your affiliation and change your vote?

If you found out that Santa Claus really did live at the North Pole, and during all these years, there’s been a vast conspiracy to disprove his existence, would you be willing to go back to a childlike heart on Christmas morning?

If you knew there was no difference between the races, would you still insist on keeping them separate?

If you knew money was important to give you the confidence to become a giver, would you work harder to get it, so that you could become more generous?

If you knew there was no God, would you still decide to love your neighbor as yourself?

If you knew that interfering in other people’s lives was the main cause of most of the disruption in our society, could you learn to keep your nose out of other people’s business?

If you knew chocolate chip cookies caused cancer, would you stop eating them, or gamble with the risk?

If you knew that “thank you” were the two most important words in the world, would you swallow your pride and say them more often?

If you knew that hoping for things was unfortunately a convenient way of not doing what you know to do, would you exchange your hopes for action?

If you knew that your mother and father were good people but had human flaws that caused them to teach you faulty logic, could you still love them as people but reject their philosophy?

If you knew more than you know now, would you be glad you knew it, or wish it wasn’t known?

Life is about one major decision. Actually, it’s an answer to a simple question.

Am I looking for answers, or do I want confirmation?

Because the truth of the matter is, if you seek you WILL find. If it’s confirmation of all your feelings, including your prejudices, you will certainly discover enough ammunition to fuel your war.

But if you’re seeking answers, you must be prepared for some of your pre-conceptions to be ravaged so that the landscape can be cleared for beautiful improvement.

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Jonathan wrote the gospel/blues anthem, Spent This Time, in 1985, in Guaymas, Mexico. Take a listen:

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To see books written by Jonathan, click the link below! You can peruse and order if you like!

http://www.janethan.com/tour_store.htm

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