PoHymn: A Rustling in the Stagnant … January 14, 2015

 Jonathots Daily Blog

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Pohymn January 14

As Thyself

I want to be seen and heard

I bet you do, too

I want to be forgiven

Look at you–nodding your head

I want to laugh at my mistakes

Can we chuckle together?

I want to discover ways we are similar

Do you agree?

I want to learn to do better

Do you think about your better?

I want to consider the lily without being flowery

Noses to roses

I want my belief to show on my face

Shall we declare a war on frowns?

I want to be simple

Come, untangle the web

I do love you as I love myself

I just don’t love myself very well

I do believe in heaven

The kind that chases away the hell

I shall pursue mercy

So it’s easier for you to grant me the same

While I am learning to live to give

I have decided to give to live

For it doesn’t take the whole world

To change the earth, you see

Just a heart that includes one other

Beating inside you and me.

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For Bidding… October 7, 2013

Jonathots Daily Blog

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jonathotsThe Good Book tain’t good unless it makes good things happen when people are thrown together.

A few days ago, after one of my shows, I was getting ready to pack up my books when a teenage boy inched his way to my side. Apparently he had stood around for a good half-hour while people talked to me, looking for a chance to have a private moment.

He wasted no time.

“There’s a girl I like. How can I ask her out on a date?”

I paused for a moment, trying to make sure I didn’t come across surprised, alarmed OR amused. I guess he chose to ask me the question because he knew I wouldn’t be around tomorrow to tease him about it. Or he thought I might be one of those “cool adults” who would give him a real answer instead of one that’s canned, sealed and labeled “for grown-up consumption.”

My answer was simple. I told the young man to figure out what he liked,  take the things that came to his mind and start doing them for the girl he was interested in.

He thought that was really nifty. (Forgive me. I guess “nifty” is no longer used. Let us just say he was impressed.)

His last words were: “I can do that. Because it’s about me.”

As he raced away, I had to chuckle. You see, all I had given him in the way of advice was a remake on the Golden Rule“Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.”

But you see, it worked, was valuable and was understandable to him because it’s true.

We spend entirely too much time talking about the Good Book as if it’s suspended in mid-air, on gossamer wings, with the supernatural breath of the divine Creator.

Shoot. If it doesn’t work on earth, it sucks.

You see, it’s easy to go from something that is “for bidding” to something that can become “forbidding.”

The gospel that was put together as a means of inviting all of humanity to discover its better side and therefore generate salvation in our souls can just as easily be turned into a message of hatred, prejudice, incrimination and selfishness.

So let me give you a clue:

  • I don’t recommend agnosticism. It turns you into a jaded grouch, critical of human life while devoid of any eternal possibility.
  • I don’t recommend religion. It keeps you panting for heaven while simultaneously missing buckets of opportunity on earth.

Here’s what I’ve discovered: if you find something that works in everyday life, it won’t take you too long to discover that this same idea is in the Good Book.

Don’t try to go to the Good Book to explain everything you see in life. Get rid of your fear of living and in so doing, discover the three or four things that universally work. Then go read your Good Book and be delighted when you find out that God thought it up millions of years ago.

No wonder that book itself tells us that everything written within its pages can be boiled down to “do unto others as you would have them do unto you.”

It is “for bidding” others, welcoming them to your life, removing the anger of “forbidding” personal contact.

And when all the chickens come to roost, you find out, like this young man will certainly discover, that the Golden Rule even works with dating.

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Just Talk… March 9, 2013

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allAt 9:15 A.M. yesterday, I found myself tooling through the grocery store in search of those final ingredients that escaped my initial purchasing from earlier in the week. One of the things I was looking for was an inexpensive package of shrimp which I could add to a can of New England Clam Chowder, transforming it from a poor bowl of soup to go along with a tuna sandwich, into a meal fit for a Gloucester fisherman.

So I eyeballed the frozen foods and headed in that direction, discovering an older woman unpacking boxes nearby. She seemed a bit bedraggled by her task.

This is where I am probably weird. Maybe it’s that I’m arrogant–but I just don’t believe there’s any power in seeing someone under the weather or depressed and leaving them alone, hoping they’ll work it out by having an inspiring evening of prime time television. So I ventured a bit of conversation.

“How are you?” I asked

“Fine,” she replied, making her one-syllable answer sound even shorter.

You see, that in itself was a noble effort. But I didn’t leave it alone. “Are you sure you’re fine?” I chuckled.

She looked up from her mountain of boxes and gave me a small smile. She launched. Yes–she started to talk. In the two-and-a-half-minute conversation, I learned her entire financial situation, her frustrations with Medicare, her worries over the President and Congress, and the fact that her husband’s pension doesn’t cover much of anything.

Now, I will admit to you that there IS difficulty in finding a way to extricate yourself from the flood of words that proceed from people once the “dammit” is broken. But it’s worth it.

Because when I came around about five minutes, I paused to take a look her way.  Her pace had quickened and she was humming a bit to herself.

You see, it’s not that I am such a good Joe for talking with people. The point I’m trying to make is that we have become a nation instructed to listen and watch as OTHER people talk, giving us no outlet for our feelings, frustrations and especially, our ideas.

So when you see folks trudging along, there are three dark clouds that encircle them:

  1. “Nothing matters”
  2. “No one cares”
  3. “Never mind”

You may think this is no big deal, and often it isn’t–until you accidentally cross one of these storm clouds with all of this negative energy bottled up inside.

When we are not allowed to talk, we become creatures of silent defeat–and depending on the mental health status of the defeated one, it can lead to anything from reclusion to stepping into the marketplace with a semiautomatic rifle and opening up fire.

Just talk.

It has to be more than a tweet. Our new social media forces us to be brief and clever, instead of forthcoming and honest. Matter of fact, I would suggest that the church become a forerunner fo this great idea. Instead of projecting images on the wall that people sing and recite, cueing them on when to stand and clap, let’s have an hour sometime during the week when human beings can talk and share their hearts.

As the old verse says, we certainly ARE “saved by the word of our testimony.”

My words may encourage you, but it is your own words that motivate you.

The Bible may offer a great sense of comfort, but it is your interpretation and re-speaking of truth that makes it a reality.

There may be nothing greater that we can do for each other than overcoming the silent defeat that settles into the human soul because we don’t get the chance to talk about our feelings, and we begin to insist that nothing matters, no one cares and never mind.

I left a woman singing a song. That’s pretty good for this fat boy. And until we realize that watching and listening is no any replacement for feeling and sharing, we will have a country that is saturated with a sense of desperation–exhausted before it even begins to work.

Just talk. Just share. And make sure that any sensations of sadness have a chance to escape before you become convinced that we were meant to be lonely.

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