A Dying Breed … January 27, 2014

Jonathots Daily Blog

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cottonShe passed by me without saying a word, heading for the door.  It had all the appearance of an exit. Suddenly she paused, turned on her heel and walked slowly back toward me.

She said, “I’m a dying breed. I was raised two counties over. My mama and daddy grew cotton, so we spent all of our time in the field, crawling on the ground and picking cotton, dragging huge sacks behind us to collect the fruits of our labor. It was so hot that I had to cool my feet in the shade of the plants, and sometimes the work day was eight to ten hours. We didn’t have much, but we always seemed to have enough.”

And then she just stopped talking.

I looked deep into her eyes. It was like bathing in a well of experience. I suppose some people would consider her rural, rustic or maybe even rugged. It isn’t really so. That’s just another example of how we make quick judgments because we’re too lazy to spend time with one another. I realized she was embarrassed with her own silence and would soon slip away, so I decided to ask her a question.

“What did you learn?”

She didn’t miss a beat. “I learned to take care of myself and to not ask too much of others.”

It was one of those simple, beautiful, profound answers, laced with so much experience that additional wording would have been cumbersome.

“I just wanted you to know my story. How I’m part of a dying breed. People today don’t understand and kids would have no idea. I enjoyed your show.”

She quietly turned, walked away and disappeared out the door.

I thought about her words. The truth is, I don’t take care of myself enough. Somewhere between silliness and believing in the abiding grace of God, I float along, thinking that each day is promised to me instead of a gift. Much to learn.

And even though I try hard to be a servant instead of a burden, there are still strides to be made in that arena, too.

I sat and thought for a moment.

  • Some people read the Good Book to find their inspiration, believing it to be the sole source of life and instruction.
  • Others stubbornly wait for God to give them a burning bush to illuminate their path.
  • I suppose there are even people who are praying for an angelic visit to grant them the insight to propel their heart’s desire.

Not me.

Since we’re all part of a breed that’s dying, the smartest thing we can do is listen, observe and believe in other members of the herd that come our way, and accept the beauty: that it’s a gift from God.

 

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Defined … December 7, 2012

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Jon Signing

I woke up confused.

No, that’s too weird. I guess the correct word would be “befuddled,” but that’s such an old-fashioned term that I hate to use it for fear of making myself look like a twenty-first century Charles Dickens. So let me describe the emotion. I knew WHERE I was, but I didn’t know WHY I was. For you see, yesterday afternoon I arrived in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, for a three-week layover, for Christmas near family members, and also a chance to recuperate, record a new album and prepare for the coming year.

I mean, it sounded like a great idea–and I’m sure it will end up being pleasant and even satisfying. But honestly, my friends, I wasn’t here more than three hours before I realized that I felt separated from my work and abandoned to my own personality, which, as it turns out, is rather similar to canned spam.

I realized that I am defined by my talents, abilities and vision. I know in this present age of psycho-babble, people would roll their eyes and tell me I need to be more inclusive, expansive and varied in my approach. I’m sure for somebody else, that’s fine.

But I’m me. I have been me now for almost sixty-one years. I like me. Me is a mixture of giggles, gags, gifts, gyrations and an ongoing desire to see the gospel of peace settle into the souls of humankind.

I don’t feel noble–but I also don’t feel bizarre. For instance, I like to go shopping because you can get things, come back, have them near to where your fingertips can reach them and create convenience. But the idea of shopping in itself is not appealing to me.

I also love my family, but I’ve never built a life around them–nor have I asked them to make me the center of their universe.

I love doing things that other people do–but I guess I find them a bit more of a chore than a pleasure. You must forgive me for using the word “chore”–I’m sure there’s a better term to communicate my sensations. I do feel enjoyment, but not tremendous motivation.

I love being busy–doing what I can. I love the exhaustion that follows time well spent. I love sharing my heart and allowing others a landing strip near my ears to share theirs. I love my life.

I’m just not very good at being domesticated. Case in point: Gardening is something that I would watch for two minutes on some cable channel and be awe-struck by how someone could actually be interested in it.

I love being a grandparent, but I want my grandchildren to know that I’m still alive and as long as I am, I will pursue my dreams, not make their lives a replacement.

I recognized this morning that I am very defined. Maybe I lack a little helium in my balloon. Maybe I’m unwilling to stray too far from my calling–lest I forget the voice I heard from the burning bush.

I don’t know. But I’m going to do my best. I plan on thoroughly enjoying this mishap of arriving in a world unfamiliar to me and learning to partake of the surroundings–alien that I am.

I guess at heart I am a vagabond, itinerant messenger who is scurrying around to find the next wilderness to cry out into.

Yeah. That’s me.

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

I’m One of Them … November 26, 2012

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He was very serious.

It was the kind of somber, cranky style that gives me the creeps. Maybe it’s the furrowed brow. It could be the long pauses between sentences to connote deep thought in the process of excavating some powerful piece of truth from a private cavern in his brain. I don’t know. I just don’t like it.

Here’s what he said: “The trouble with people of faith is that they like Christmas more than Good Friday–and unfortunately, our world is geared more to the latter.”

I turned it off. For you see, I was watching another talking head on TV expound upon his particular revelations–to sell a new book. When did smart become so complicated? Why can’t smart be simple? Why do we have to establish our preeminence through the surrender to sullenness?

I said to myself, I’m one of them.

Yes, I am one of those knuckle-headed “people of faith” who’s a sucker for a good baby-in-the-manger story over the mauling of a human being on a cross. Shoot me. Or better yet–cover me in tinsel.

I don’t like Christmas better than Good Friday because I’m stupid and vacant of a world vision. I like Christmas because it’s the only time of the year when we actually focus in on what Jesus really came to do instead of commemorating what he ended up accomplishing. I love Christmas because it tells us that God was smart enough to realize that commandments, voices from mountains, burning bushes, and even prophets were not getting the job done.

The message of Christmas is that God became human because human beings only speak and understand that language.

When I was a blessed man yesterday and had a chance to perform in front of the inspiring Tennesseans at Beaver Ridge United Methodist Church, I could see it in their faces. Written all over their beautiful countenances were the words, “Tell us something good.”

Even though my friend on the TV would probably call them shallow or ill-prepared to handle the tribulations of the world, I truthfully have never seen anyone who’s more prepared for battle simply because they wear armor.

So here we go–into another Christmas season. I’m on my way to North Carolina to tell people, without apology, that Christmas IS better than Good Friday.

And if we will take this season and learn the message of the angels and start spreading a little “peace on earth, good will toward men,” maybe by springtime a few less brothers and sisters … will end up crucified.

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

I’m One of Them … November 26, 2012

(1,711)

He was very serious.

It was the kind of somber, cranky style that gives me the creeps. Maybe it’s the furrowed brow. It could be the long pauses between sentences to connote deep thought in the process of excavating some powerful piece of truth from a private cavern in his brain. I don’t know. I just don’t like it.

Here’s what he said: “The trouble with people of faith is that they like Christmas more than Good Friday–and unfortunately, our world is geared more to the latter.”

I turned it off. For you see, I was watching another talking head on TV expound upon his particular revelations–to sell a new book. When did smart become so complicated? Why can’t smart be simple? Why do we have to establish our preeminence through the surrender to sullenness?

I said to myself, I’m one of them.

Yes, I am one of those knuckle-headed “people of faith” who’s a sucker for a good baby-in-the-manger story over the mauling of a human being on a cross. Shoot me. Or better yet–cover me in tinsel.

I don’t like Christmas better than Good Friday because I’m stupid and vacant of a world vision. I like Christmas because it’s the only time of the year when we actually focus in on what Jesus really came to do instead of commemorating what he ended up accomplishing. I love Christmas because it tells us that God was smart enough to realize that commandments, voices from mountains, burning bushes, and even prophets were not getting the job done.

The message of Christmas is that God became human because human beings only speak and understand that language.

When I was a blessed man yesterday and had a chance to perform in front of the inspiring Tennesseans at Beaver Ridge United Methodist Church, I could see it in their faces. Written all over their beautiful countenances were the words, “Tell us something good.”

Even though my friend on the TV would probably call them shallow or ill-prepared to handle the tribulations of the world, I truthfully have never seen anyone who’s more prepared for battle simply because they wear armor.

So here we go–into another Christmas season. I’m on my way to North Carolina to tell people, without apology, that Christmas IS better than Good Friday.

And if we will take this season and learn the message of the angels and start spreading a little “peace on earth, good will toward men,” maybe by springtime a few less brothers and sisters … will end up crucified.

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

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