How to Make a Mistake: Three Easy Steps… October 3, 2013

Jonathots Daily Blog

(2025)

cookingIf revenge is a dish best served cold, then mistakes are brats, piping hot off the grill, with a side of pickle.

I would love to believe that my mistakes are innocent fumbles caused by either a lack of information or a willingness to do what’s right which went astray.

But it isn’t true.

All mistakes are stirred up from a recipe of attitudes which should have been addressed long ago, but we have convinced ourselves if they were removed, our   arms and legs might fall off.

Here are the three easy steps that lead to all mistakes:

1. Be sure you are right. It is almost impossible to convince someone of a better way if they think all of their thoughts are heavenly. I know we extol the value of confidence, but often it is just arrogance, trying to get in the door wearing sunglasses.

2. Ignore history. Ninety percent of the mistakes we make are revisits. Somewhere along the line, we convince ourselves that THIS situation is unique, and not like the last failure whatsoever. Not only do we fail to take into consideration the ridiculous practices of our ancestors, we also do not include our own experience in creating our new possibility.

3. Refuse to change. Yes, there are human beings who believe they are better than others because they will not alter the course of their determination. I have to ask myself if there is ANYTHING I believe today that is exactly the same as twenty years ago. If you and I were truthful, the answer would most certainly be no. It is not so much that the world is changing as it is that we don’t completely understand our world. So the stubbornness that causes us to refuse to change spits in the eye of God and punches Mother Nature in the nose. You might expect some throwback.

So that’s how you make a mistake in three easy steps. But to swing this to a more positive conclusion, let us say that we can avoid many foibles by realizing that we could be wrong, counting the cost, factoring in our experience before making a decision, being ready to change our attitude, expand our knowledge, and increase our prospects.

There aren’t as many accidents in heaven and earth as the average mortal would like to portray.

We are blessed because we are given the bowls, spoons and ingredients to whip up a great dish for ourselves.

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

Please contact Jonathan’s agent, Jackie Barnett, at (615) 481-1474, for information about personal appearances or scheduling an event

Well… March 17, 2013

(1,823)

It was June 1995.

I got really sick. I didn’t know how to “do” sick. I had never been sick. I had the occasional colds, flu and some bad Chinese food that ran through me quicker than Genghis Khan‘s army, but I had never been check-in-the-hospital sick.

Although I never believed in macho, I certainly strove for strong. I needed to be strong. I liked to be the guy who picked up equipment and carried it in the door, sweating profusely and panting to the inspiration of surrounding admirers. I liked playing tennis on a 100-degree day in Shreveport, Louisiana, drenching my clothes with perspiration as people walked by shaking their heads in disbelief that anyone would be outside doing anything but trying to breathe.

It wasn’t an issue of pride–or maybe it WAS an issue of pride, but I was too prideful to see it. I don’t know.

Suddenly I was sick. Not only sick, but the doctor informed me I had diabetes. In the brief time I had known this gentleman–my caregiver–we had struck up a friendship. So when he came in to talk to me about the disease, he looked like he had been sucking on lemons for a week or had just attended a foreign film. He told me that diabetes was serious, that it would be with me all my life–certainly with me when I died.

It was depressing.

So on October 8th of last year, when my legs disappeared overnight, replaced by the lower limbs of a 92-year-old nursing home patient, I was torn between sensations of gratitude that it was just my legs and not a stroke or heart attack, and feeling cheated of the ability to lift heavy burdens and sweat like a pig.

It got me to thinking about the word well. I was always thrilled at the prospect of feeling well–I liked it.

And tonight when I went to the United Methodist Church in Lumberton, Texas, to set up, and I needed to climb into a wheel chair to make it into the building to do my sound check, I temporarily felt robbed of the sensation of wellness. Yes, I wanted to feel sorry for myself.

There was this wonderful gentleman, about my age, who helped us carry in the equipment. He was so strong and capable, and here I was, wheeling my way around from place to place. But as I took a moment in the lobby of the church to reflect before I went up to check out the sound in the room, I considered that there are two ways to be well: you can FEEL well and you can DO well.

And even though physically I am still pretty fit and healthy, the ability to impress with my stride, strength and the sheer sense of muscular prowess is not in my grasp. But God has still given me the blessing of DOING well.

I have not lost my mind (unless you want to include sharing so candidly in an essay openly and publicly on the Internet). I have not lost my talent, such as it is. I have not lost my anointing and the touch of God on my life.

I asked myself in that lobby tonight, can I be happy doing well without feeling well?

I wheeled myself up the ramp onto the stage to practice my latest song. I don’t need an answer–just enough life to give me opportunity.

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

Except… December 27, 2011

(1,375) 

Jonathan in Miami

Yesterday was the first time this year. 

 “Happy New Year!” someone called. It was jubilant, optimistic, caring and filled with good cheer. I liked it.

But it got me thinking. Forgive me for that–I spend a lot of time trying to think because when I don’t, I find myself just reacting, which drudges up memories of childhood disappointments, failures, misgivings and a few grudges I still hold against people who ended up being better than me. Yuk.

Thinking is better than reacting. And the thought that came to my head is this: the word “new,” in reference to the year, is only significant if we’ve actually dealt with our “old” things.  Here’s my contention: nothing is old as long as it still works. I, for instance, have just turned sixty years of age but I am not outdated, irrelevant or without a sense of history and an awareness of the present. So candidly, I don’t feel old, nor do those who meet me attribute any agedness to my persona.

Nothing really becomes old until it doesn’t work anymore. And honestly, calling something “new,” if it’s just warmed-over hash, is equally as useless. In that case, “new” is just the replacement for the old lightbulb in our brain that doesn’t work anymore. Because “old” is the acknowledgment that we are pursuing a way of living, a plan of action or a style of belief that just doesn’t work.

If we continue to cling to it, it becomes “cold.” I do meet some cold folks as I journey across this country! I would characterize them as looking me straight in the eye and saying, “I don’t care if it doesn’t work–I still like it!” I am not so sure what to call this particular mindset. The liberals would attribute it to the conservatives and they would certainly toss the hot potato back the other direction. But it is a chilly way to walk through our lives because we’re never enriched with the sensation of doing something that’s really successful, but rather, repeating traditions that leave us unfulfilled, while we insist that life is meant to be miserable and hard.

But I’ve even seen people change when they turn cold.  It’s all about the word “repent.” We don’t use it much because it sounds Biblical–and God knows, the less we quote the Bible and Shakespeare, the more likely we are to draw friends our way. But “repent” is when you  come across something that IS old and doesn’t work–and even though you stubbornly wish that it did, you soften your heart in a kind moment to consider a better option. Because if you don’t repent, what was old and didn’t work, which turned cold through your determination to do it anyway, can turn into “mold.”

And oh, this is where it gets really nasty. This is when old people who don’t have anything going on that’s working, become really frosty, insisting that they like it anyway, and then become aggressive and defend the failure.  Yes–mold is when you defend the failure and leave it hanging on the ceiling, even though you’ve heard it makes you sick.

It’s WHY we repent–because if we don’t, Jesus says we will perish.

I sat at breakfast yesterday morning with a spread put out by my son and daughter-in-law from Miami. Ham, Quiche, bagels–well, the list goes on. I had a half a ham sitting right in front of me, and being the weak glutton I tend to be, I peeled one slice and another off of that former porker. I have no power to restrain myself from devouring such a product. I walked out to my car–or perhaps, “rolled out” would be a better term–knowing that I had something old in my life.

Overeating. It doesn’t work. It makes my legs want to sue me for cruelty, my heart choke up with cholesterol and my sugar rise in protest.

I also had to admit that this year I had turned cold on the issue. I didn’t really care about my weight. I rather liked the process of enjoying food and hell to pay. Fortunately for me, I did stop short of mold and did not defend my failure at weight loss. So as I drove down the road toward Fort Myers, Florida, I decided to stop being cold and deal with the old year. And what made it old? As far as me getting leaner–it just didn’t work.

I’m not so sure I’m going to be a roaring success, but I do know this–I have identified the old. I am ready to repent, which will make room for the new. Because except we all do, we will begin to perish. And economic problems, bad politics and stagnant religion are merely symptoms of the disease of unwillingness to deal with our inadequacies.

Except you repent … Well, I guess that’s when you can add “Happy” to “New Year.” Because the old that didn’t work and the cold that caused us to insist we liked it, turning into the mold that enabled us to defend our failures, is suddenly exposed by turning a light on in the room. Now the question is–what do we do next?

For me, the first step is trying not to sit so close to ham.

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

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

Published in: on December 27, 2011 at 1:35 pm  Comments (1)  
Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,

I Almost Missed It … December 14, 2011

(1,360)

Live from Palm Coast, Florida, in A Spirited Christmas

 
The day after Thanksgiving I woke up with a sore throat.

After many years of planet dwelling, I am well aware that a sore throat means I am coming down with a cold, and like most mortals, that is the standard formula of “three days coming, three days of snotiness with you and three days leaving.” Also, my particular viruses enjoy settling into my chest, turning my voice into a cesspool of pitches.

Here was the problem–I was about to begin a fourteen-day, thirteen-performance Christmas tour. Being the typical human being that I am, I was wondering if I could survive through the weekend before the cold overtook me, and exactly how many dates I would have to cancel due to incapacitation. It was not an issue of if dates would be canceled. No. In my mind, it was an issue of whether it would be two, four, or worst case scenario–all of them.

I made it through the weekend. But on Monday I sprouted another symptom–a stomach virus, which caused my internal organs to be visible on the outside of my body. Yet somehow I survived the Monday night presentation–kind of inching my way along like a really fat worm. By Tuesday I felt better. What was interesting was that the introduction of the stomach virus frightened my cold symptoms away. I guess it’s really true that God does not tempt us beyond what we can bear–because to be sneezing and coughing while having diarrhea may be the true definition of double-trouble.

I made it through Tuesday night, Wednesday night and by Thursday night I had completely forgotten about all infirmities and was taking for granted my good health. Now, having completed the entire tour, I realize I nearly missed a miracle. Isn’t that amazing? I didn’t miss a date. The shows were great, and I was never late. But I quickly took it for granted instead of marveling over the miracle of the Christmas tour.

Yes, I almost missed it.

That’s why I’m stopping off today to tell you amazing folks one of the greater secrets to life. (It isn’t really a secret at all. I just thought that added great flair to my writing…) Because I can tell you with certainty that miracles are what happen when our plans actually come to fruition because they were unselfish enough to include as many people as possible.

Miracles are not turning water into wine. A miracle is when you find a good, tasty cup of water. I don’t need the wine. I don’t need parlor tricks to convince me that life is good. I need to be able to use my brain while tapping my emotions and spirit to come up with ideas that meet my needs, and in the process help others–and then use all my energy to do my best to enact these notions, trusting God to be benefactor and cheerleader.

For instance, all the vegetables I had consumed during the year helped with my immune system and gave God good reason to protect me from the onslaught of my cold. I understand that the little bit of exercise that I do was also of great assistance in dispelling my stomach virus as quickly as those little boogers will depart. I now see that everything worked together to the good–because I did love the Lord, trusted Him and am trying to learn how this planet works rather than bucking the system.

I don’t know what’s going to happen to me tomorrow. But I do know that every time I get in my car and turn on the key it is possible that the car will not start. Am I saying it’s a miracle when my car starts? No. What I’m saying is this: a car starting is better than one that doesn’t–and if I’m intelligent I will appreciate my engine igniting instead of misfiring.

You see, I almost missed it. I almost missed the miracle of everything working together to the good and at the end of the process, me completing a tour that could have just as easily been canceled. So what did I learn?

Miracles are my plans with God’s nod and others included. When that happens, we can certainly welcome additional visitations by acknowledging the process.

So I’m about to leave and go out to my car. If I expect my car to start, I will be infuriated if it doesn’t. If I’m grateful for my car starting, I may be willing to grant my vehicle absolution for those times it fails to spark.

I know it sounds child-like. It is. Every good thing in life comes from learning to appreciate what is provided, as if it were a Christmas toy instead of a demanded paycheck.

If you can keep that simplicity, you can rule the world … or at least the part that you have planned.

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

Here comes Christmas! For your listening pleasure, below is Manger Medley, Jonathan’s arrangement of Away in the Manger, which closes with him singing his gorgeous song, Messiah.  Looking forward to the holidays with you!

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

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

The Faith Count… November 27, 2011

(1,343)

Charlotte, North Carolina

I woke up with a sore throat.

I haven’t had a cold in two years so let me be the first one to say that I’m grateful for the reprieve from such escapades and appreciative of the ability to use all my faculties to communicate my message. For 181 shows this year, I’ve been able to dip into my talent, ability and confidence to propel the notions and inspiration that have been granted to me to share with my fellow-travelers.

Today my throat is sore. Before me are two programs for St. John’s United Methodist Church in Chattanooga, Tennessee. So what should my profile be? I still have a voice–that’s good. I just don’t have a sense of my talent, ability and confidence. That leaves me with my faith.

It is amazing what we discover about the true nature of our faith when our talent, ability and confidence have been shaken–because there are a lot of scriptures that tell us that God’s grace is sufficient for us. But I am staring down at a line-up of songs and stories that require more than my particular belief in God’s grace. I could piously tell you that I am completely reassured that the presence of God will be enough for me in my morning’s activities, and even though that statement would not be a lie, it also would not be completely forthcoming.

I find that a good portion of my faith in God is wrapped up in my ability, talent and confidence. I guess there are theologians that would object to such an assertion as being faithless–or even anti-God. I don’t know. I’ve just never been a “let go, let God” person. And allow me be so presumptuous as to say that most of us aren’t. Unlike the typical student of the Bible, when I run across something that most humans are NOT comfortable in performing, rather than assuming we are depraved and indifferent, I choose to consider the fact that maybe some of the ideas we have about God and life are ill-informed.

I think it’s an issue of the faith count. For instance, in today’s programs, I believe I truly will have to have faith that God will be with me as I share. But I also need to count the cost and take a good assessment of my talent, ability and the confidence I possess. False spirituality is the belief that how we are created and how we act is an abomination to God.

Would I rather not have a sore throat? Absolutely. Would I rather have my ability, talent and confidence at 100%? Darned tootin’. I am not thrilled to be less. But what I CAN be is overjoyed that wisdom trumps it all–and all wisdom is given by God to those who will ask.

So even though my talent, ability and confidence may be shaken a bit, if I will use a little wisdom to count the cost and truly decide what I can and cannot do, I therefore am able to present God with a possibility which He is able to bless. For after all, God has no intention of doing it all, nor does He particularly favor being left out. He rather likes our partnership.

So even though my throat is sore, I can still speak and I still have some talent and ability–and if I choose the right things to do instead of over-extending myself, my confidence should reappear.  This gives God the chance of surprising me with the ability to do more than I thought I could, yet without dumping the entire gig on Him.

It is the faith count. I will count factually what I think I can do, reestablishing my talent, ability and confidence, and then place it in God’s hands for His brilliant distribution. It’s the five loaves and two fishes brought my me to feed the five thousand. It’s the woman touching the hem of Jesus’ garment for healing. It is the decision that Jesus made not to tempt the Lord his God, but rather, use what he had instead of trying to jump off the pinnacle of the temple. Yes, I shall not jump off the steeple of St. John’s United Methodist Church. Instead, I will take what God has given me on this Sunday morning and use it as efficiently and wisely as possible. But I will do so by taking an accurate count of my talent, ability and confidence.

It is the faith count--and like everything else that is truly spiritual, it is the intelligent blending of the human with the Divine.

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

Here comes Christmas! For your listening pleasure, below is Manger Medley, Jonathan’s arrangement of Away in the Manger, which closes with him singing his gorgeous song, Messiah.  Looking forward to the holidays with you!

%d bloggers like this: