Iz and Pal (Bedouin Buddies)


Iz and Pal

Jonathots Daily Blog

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Sitting Fourteen

Left alone.

Young boys run on energy, not smarts. They are fully capable of performing the duties of an army but are minus the insight to know where to march and when to struggle.

Pal paced around the tiny campsite. He flailed his hands in the air, enraged with everything he saw. “Somebody is gonna know we don’t got nothing!” he screamed.

Iz sat quietly, stilled by the circumstances, in what seemed to be a mountain of resolution, but most probably was just a crumbling hillside of destruction.

Karin stood stunned, staring at the two boys, trying to decide what her duty was going to have to be in this youthful fiasco. She needed to be decisive, yet she didn’t trust her own take on the events.

She realized that she should try to talk the boys into going home.  But then she considered Iz. What causes a twelve-year-old boy to contemplate death? Could any of that responsibility be laid at the doorstep of his family?

Then propriety chased down her musings. They certainly needed to go to their parents. These boys did not belong in the desert. If she left them there, the soldier might return with his buddies, to drive them back into town in disgrace, or even for punishment.

The whole thing was so crude and so nasty. It all could blow up and just promote more smugness in this region already permeated with piety.

But in her heart, Karin was a journalist. Her ethics forbade her to be a party to façade. She couldn’t allow herself to become the third wheel in a doomed game destined to produce nothing.

She considered—who would everybody blame? Of course, her. Here she was, out on a lark, trying to get a story. Some scoop to help her maintain her edge as a lead writer for a dead periodical. But she wasn’t looking for a cause. She didn’t want to become “Mother” to the Middle East version of Leopold and Loeb. All she wanted was a story.

Unfortunately, she had fumbled her way into a tragedy.

Pal finally wearied himself of pacing, leaped upon Iz, and the two boys were rolling in the sand, fighting, growing more angry with each flip and punch. So Karin shook herself awake from her deliberations and ran over to pull the boys apart.

“What are you guys doing?” she screamed. Somehow she managed to squeeze her body in between the wrestling pair.

“He won’t talk to me!” Pal spat.

Iz said nothing, just continuing to thrust at the air with his arms.

Karin lost all patience. She threw both boys to the ground and straddled them. “You’re going to listen to me!” she proclaimed. “I don’t know what you think you’re achieving by beating each other to a pulp. Hell, I don’t know why you’re disappointed that the hand grenade didn’t blow you to smithereens. I don’t know why you’re both so damned nuts. But here’s what we’re going to do. We’re going to sit here until everyone is calm and I can sprout some sort of an idea.”

The boys were mad, their chests heaving. They wiggled and squirmed, but Karin’s firm thighs held them in check. They tried a series of insults.

“I hate you.”

“You really are fat, lady.”

“You smell bad.”

Karin laughed at them. At length, the twitching ceased as the young gents lay panting in a pile of exhaustion.

Slowly Karin released, dismounting her captives. “Here’s what we’re gonna do,” she said. “First, let me tell you what I think. There is nothing we can possibly to do determine what that soldier is going to tell or not tell. Secondly, I think the best thing is for me to get a ride back to town—somehow or another—and just talk to my editor and find out if I can get someone else with some brains, or someone maybe willing to share the pain, to become involved in this whole mess. And finally—this is the most important. You guys need to rest and promise me that you won’t claw each other’s eyes out.”

Iz was insulted. “We are friends,” he retorted.

Karin was relieved. He sounded a bit more normal.

Confident that they could no longer kill each other with a grenade and might be too worn out to box each other to death, she headed down the hill toward the nearest path that resembled a road, hoping to find some vagabond with wheels, who might be willing to pick up a disheveled female.

It could be a wait.

But she knew the next stop was her editor.

 

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Petering Out … April 26, 2013

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jon St. PeteLong before we abandon our faith, we lose our perspective. Our passion “peters out” because we forget how to use what we are.

It reminds me of a story of a guy named Peter. He was a fisherman–at least, that’s how the story goes. But considering he was a fisherman, this dude had more trouble with boats and water than any “landlubber” ever dreamed. Somewhere along the line he had convinced himself that his particular occupation, pursuit of life, and dreamscape was difficult.

Matter of fact, the first time he met Jesus, he was casting his net into the sea from the shore. Now, this is not exactly the most effective way to catch fish. Everyone knows that only the little guppies exist near the shoreline. But apparently, the previous night’s escapades in the boat were not successful, so in desperation, he just started throwing in a net from the sand. Or who knows? Maybe his ship was full of holes.

He was in a boat one night in the middle of a storm and his friend, Jesus, came walking on the water to join him and his buddies. For some unexplained reason, Peter decided he needed to walk on the water, too. It wasn’t necessary. Jesus didn’t come strolling to their aid to get everybody in the pool. But Peter was so insecure that he wanted to be better than everybody else around him in the storm, so he ended up nearly drowning in the process.

And after Jesus was killed and Peter felt great guilt over denying him to the officials, he stomped off in a huff to go back to fishing–even though his life had been permanently altered by the experience of being with his Nazarene friend.

He is an excellent example for us because at one moment, he’s being heralded as “a rock” and in the next moment he goes back to his former behavior and is dubbed “satan.”

What causes all of us to “peter out?” We make one of two mistakes, which actually end up being the same error:

1. “I’m so bad that no one could ever love me, so I will pretend that I am not worthy of being blessed.”

2. “I’m so good that everybody should love me, so what the hell is wrong with the world?”

What’s missing in both cases? An honest assessment of who we are.

Let me be the first: I am a fat, bald, aging man with bad knees who has been blessed with talent, which I have multiplied, and in the process of doing so, I have learned to be more tolerant of others and generous in my spirit with the world around me.

There you go. As long as I keep that in mind, I am balanced, humorous and useful.

Tonight I head to St. Peter Lutheran Church in Elgin, Texas. They named their church after that fisherman, who thought he could get a good catch by standing on the shore instead of getting in the boat.

Are we much different? No. But remember–God doesn’t love us because we’re going to be saved and escape humanity. God loves us because we’re humans and we can escape the fear of being so, and end up saved.

The producers of jonathots would humbly request a yearly subscription donation of $10 for this wonderful, inspirational opportunity

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