Confessing … November 7th, 2015

 Jonathots Daily Blog

(2745)

XXVII.

I confess so I can heal.

If I deny, I remain sick.

I was 23 years old, and already the father of two little boys. I had no regular job and was quickly becoming known for mooching lodging and meals off of friends and relatives.

My saving grace was that all the people of the town knew I had some musical talent.

I had proven this recently by winning a contest, and in so doing, being awarded a recording session with 100 free albums.

I was thrilled.

Every time somebody would ask when I was going to get a job, I explained that I was getting ready for the project. I was blessed to have a music group filled with friends who believed in my writing.

We went to do the record and ended up having a studio engineer who had seen us at the talent contest, and was very excited about working with us.

The first couple of songs went really well, but when we came to the third selection, I went into the booth to record my piano first, before we laid down vocals.

In the process of playing the tune, I hit a really bad note. It was isolated off by itself. I was trying to hit a Db, but my finger slipped and I ended up with a C included. Without going into too much detail, it sounded terrible and it was obvious I had made an error.

When I finished the piece, the engineer waited for me to request another go-through.

I didn’t.

I asked him to play it back and when the foul-sounding note came over the speakers, I pretended I had planned it that way. He even gently took me to the side and asked if I was sure I did not want to go back in to correct the note.

I told him I was fine with it.

Matter of fact, that note remained through the whole session, mix-down, and was pressed onto the final record.

I was so defensive over being a jobless dad that I did not want to admit I had made a mistake.

You see, my sin was not in being young, foolish and without money. My sin was being prideful and defensive about my situation.

I look back on that day in horror.

It is difficult for me to believe that anybody could be so stupid–and then I turn on the television set and listen to grown men and women in politics, defending their mistakes as if they had actually planned them.

Sometimes we hit sour notes.

Our only advantage is to point them out before others discover them, or at least change them … before they become part of the permanent record.

confessing piano

 

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Confessing… October 10th, 2015

 Jonathots Daily Blog

(2718)

XXIII

I confess so I can heal.

If I deny, I remain sick.

In an attempt to avoid guilt, we have generated many words and terms to escape the responsibility of telling the truth.

It’s really lying, but now it comes under the guise of “padding your resume, misinformation, mis-spoke, you misunderstood me” or what I call promo talk.

Promo talk is when the real story is not big enough to match our ego.

So we elaborate, and in the process we end up proving that we’re ashamed of the extent of what we’ve done.

It all comes from a basic insecurity which is grounded in a deception:

God, you and that damn piece of bad luck screwed me.

Because it’s not proper or kind to be so blatant, we choose instead to embellish the details of our successes and deny the elements of our failures.

I am guilty.

I have known it for many years, and I have gradually attempted to pull myself out of the abyss of the procedure.

But it’s tricky.

  • I’ve lied about my education.
  • I’ve lied about my relationships.
  • I’ve lied about the extent of my impact.
  • And I’ve lied about not lying.

It’s all because I refuse to look at the beauty of my journey and realize that God’s grace is sufficient for me–without addendum.

I’m sorry. Yes, I am so sorry that I haven’t let the facts speak for themselves.

After all, I will not become more powerful by flexing mythical muscle.

I will not become more intelligent by claiming false degrees.

And I will not become more valuable by elaborating on my qualities.

Promo talk is lying. It doesn’t seem that way because everybody does it. It appears to be just good business.

But good business becomes bad business when we have to cheat ourselves out of the simplicity of standing on our record instead of jumping up on the soapbox and screaming to be heard.

 

Confessing barbershop singer

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Confessing … September 26th, 2015

 Jonathots Daily Blog

(2704)

XXI.

I confess so I can heal.

If I deny, I remain sick.

  • He was 69 years old and I was counting down the days to my 18th birthday.
  • He was slender and I was fat.
  • He was a veteran of World War II and I was trying to figure out how to get out from under the Vietnam draft.
  • He was an agnostic and I was “Little Charlie Church Chum.”
  • He was a psychiatrist and I, on the other hand, was impatient.
  • He loved his daughter and I was having a high school affair with her.

This man and myself shared absolutely nothing in common, which became obvious whenever we were left in a room alone together.

But despite all these differences and the fact that he did have a reputation for being a curmudgeon, he allowed the two of us to take his Corvette convertible to the prom. He gave me about three minutes of instruction, and with that exhaustive training, I went out in the middle of the night on the 3-C Highway to see how fast the car would go. When it hit 105 miles per hour, I chickened out, slowed down and went home.

I think he felt fairly confident in being supportive of his daughter’s present romantic choice because he knew that in a couple of months, he was retiring to Mexico to live by the ocean, taking his little family with him.

What he didn’t know was that his daughter was pregnant.

I wish I had been man enough to sit down with him and own up to the situation, but I was frightened over my actions and also feared that he would send her away to New York to get an abortion.

So instead, we plotted against him. And just a month and a half later, when my girlfriend was supposedly safe at the University of Arizona, learning how to be a freshman, I flew out, grabbed her and we took off to start a life together.

He was furious.

He was so upset that he called the Tucson, Arizona, police department to stop us, but of course, there was nothing they could do.

He disowned her.

Being a young foolish boy, I cast him into the role of the villain, easily fitting him with the required black hat.

I wish I could tell you that things worked out.

They didn’t.

Seven years later, he died of cancer in Mexico, having never reestablished contact with my wife nor having ever seen his three grandchildren.

I suppose I could tell you the reasons for my action or convince you of her father’s more sinister side.

But you see, that’s not what Confessing is about. It is not being apologetic while simultaneously trying to explain away your motivations.

I was young, dumb, careless and unappreciative to a man who could have used the image of a responsible Christian fellow.

I failed him.

Whatever he’s doing, wherever he is, I want him to know today that I’m very sorry that I interrupted his plans.

 

Confessing Leonard

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Confessing … September 5th, 2015

 Jonathots Daily Blog

(2683)

XVIII.

I confess so I can heal.

If I deny, I remain sick.

She was married and so was I–but not to each other.

She loved my mind.

I, hers.

We were connected in heart and soul.

From the first day, she sat and listened to my compositions, and I told her I wanted to record them and put them out, while starting my own music group to travel the country, sharing.

She was there.

She signed up.

For eight years, she stayed devoted to the dream as we crossed the nation, appeared on the PTL Club, the stage of the Grand Ole Opry, recorded at Johnny Cash’s studio, and even, in some cities, hit the gospel music charts.

We were close.

She was happy.

I wanted more.

I misinterpreted her consecration and faith in me for romance. I pushed. She pulled back, so I pushed some more.

She didn’t want to lose our friendship and mission, so she would occasionally give in to some awkward situations. Yes, she pretended to be interested.

She wasn’t.

I knew it.

This sometimes made me fussy and mean. We argued.

I turned something spiritual into a carnal nightmare. We never did anything. Honestly, if she had opened up to the boy-girl thing, I probably would have run like a frightened school child. She tried to reason with me.

Then her husband had an affair. She was broken and anguished. They divorced.

But rather than being a friend to her, I was just another source of conflict. She thought about dating, and because we were such good friends she asked me about it, but I discouraged her because of my raging jealousy.

She was so unhappy.But she still stayed as long as she could because she loved the music.

I drove her away–and when she left, she felt like we couldn’t be friends anymore without errupting the volcano of dissatisfaction.

We should have great memories.

We should be contacting each other frequently with updates on our lives.

But you see, I wasn’t happy with mere happiness. I wanted a “more” that I couldn’t explain but still tried to pursue.

I was young, foolish and self-centered.

I am sorry.

I had her full love, deep respect and tremendous honor–and lost it in pursuit of her flesh.

Love isn’t crazy.

I am crazy to have lost a living love … for the prospect of a temporary connection.

 

Confressing red microphone

 

 

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Confessing … August 29th, 2015

 Jonathots Daily Blog

(2677)

XVII.

I confess so I can heal.

If I deny, I remain sick.

They had been married just four months when their pastor asked them if they were willing to allow a traveling family to come and use their condo while they were away on vacation.

Being good Christians, they agreed.

We were that vagabond family–my wife, three children and myself, touring through the area, being blessed by the courtesy and hospitality of strangers.

The condo was beautiful–a blessed departure from the B-rated motels where we usually found ourselves. So we enjoyed the week.

There was even a downstairs area which had a pinball machine and a ping-pong table.

About three days after our departure from this lovely facility, I received a phone call. It was the husband of the pair who had so graciously provided us lodging, asking what had happened to the ping-pong table.

I explained to him that I had never even gone downstairs during the visit, and he shared with me that it was broken.

I told him that I was unaware but I would check with my sons and find out what happened.

I did. Both of my older boys denied any knowledge of the incident.

This placed me in a dilemma. Should I believe my children or should I take the word of these hospitable souls?

I got on the phone, called the gentleman back and told him my boys had not broken the table.

God, I felt noble.

I felt like “Dad of the Year,” sticking up for my children.

Obviously, the fellow insisted, causing me to dig my heels in, which led to an emotional tug of war followed by an all-out bitter fight.

Yet I insisted there was no way that my sons would lie to me about the situation.

As my original benefactor hung up the phone, he said, “Well, we’ll never do this again.”

Let me tell you–good kids don’t always tell the truth; they just eventually tell the truth.

I had good kids, but it was two weeks later, after a church service, when one of my sons tearfully admitted they had broken the ping-pong table, but were so embarrassed that they didn’t know what to do.

I was flushed with anger with a side order of foolishness.

I couldn’t decide what was the best path for handling the matter, so I did nothing.

The young couple who had been so open-minded never received my apology or an admission of guilt from my child. I convinced myself that the damage had already been done and could not be mended.

It was stupid.

It proved what a baby I was instead of the mature man I envisioned myself to be.

And because of my original stubbornness and the absence of a heart-felt apology, that young couple were led to believe that openness is a dangerous pit instead of the entrance to God.

 

confessing ping pong table

 

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Confessing… July 25th, 2015

 Jonathots Daily Blog

(2643)

XII.

I confess so I can heal.

If I deny, I remain sick.

I suppose I could lie and tell you it only happened one time. But there’s really no sense in confessing to error if you’re going to leave out important details.

Actually, it was the fifth time that my wife and I slipped out of the house after we were sure that our four-year-old and three-year-old sons were sound asleep, and drove ten miles to see a movie, and returned to joyously find our young boys still deep in sleeper land.

But on that fifth time, something changed.

Apparently there was a noise that awakened our two little fellas, and they started screaming and hollering for us–so much that the neighbors, who lived just below, called the police. So when we arrived after seeing our movie, we found the house vacant.

There was no note–no explanation. So we weren’t sure if our children had been abducted or vanished in the Rapture.

Being in our early twenties and extremely immature, we went downstairs and pounded on our neighbors’ door to find out what they might know. Without opening up, they explained that the children had been taken away, and that the best thing would be to go to the local police to find out what was going on.

I remember having the audacity to be angry. It didn’t even occur to me that we were the ones in the wrong and that my boys had been taken away for their own protection.

We spent the next four hours searching for anyone who could give us details, only to discover that our guys were in foster homes and there would be a hearing about the case in six weeks.

Six weeks.

We were devastated.

Honestly, it took us about two weeks to settle down and realize that we had made a very bad mistake, and that we were the ones who were in the wrong instead of slighted.

I will never forget those forty-two days without my kids. And going to court was very painful.

The accusations were strong and had it not been for four weeks worth of tears and repentance, we might have recoiled and gotten viciously defensive, ending up losing the opportunity to become Mom and Dad again.

But because the judge found us to be truly sorry, we were given a second chance.

I remember the day we picked up our two boys. They were a little frightened of us, partially because they had acclimated to a new environment and also because they had been told that we had deserted them.

It took a long time to build back trust.

Although this story seems to be an extreme–something some folks would swear they would never do–I must tell you that the inclination to find undesirable paths when each of us feels inconvenienced gnaws at the conscience everyday.

So even though I am ashamed to share this story with you, I use it as a cautionary tale to myself, to remind my ever-present ego that simply because I can get by with something and have a really good plan on pulling it off, does not make it right.

 Confessing Josh and Russ

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Confessing … July 11th, 2015

 Jonathots Daily Blog

(2630)

X.

I confess so I can heal.

If I deny, I remain sick.

Her name was Sherry.

She lived ten miles from my home town. She liked me.

I knew this–the way an eighteen-year-old boy is aware that a girl is attracted to him because she’s awkward and nervous, while still persisting in hanging around.

I met her from Bible League. Bible League is a little hard to explain, but just envision Jeopardy! on scriptural steroids. I competed against her church and we struck up a conversation a time or two, and she made it clear that she was very interested in me by listening to my stories long after they possessed any intrigue.

I got my girlfriend pregnant my senior year in high school. Being good Ohio boys and girls, we decided to get married. She went off to Europe on a summer vacation and never wrote me.

This was not the plan. Of course, I was convinced she was carousing with every young French boy who knew where the back stairs were to the Eiffel Tower. I was upset.

I was moping around the house one day when my brother suggested I invite another girl on a date just to get my mind off of it. It seemed unfaithful, but when he offered his car and twenty dollars for the excursion, all my defenses broke down.

So I thought of Sherry. I was not in the mood to ask a girl out and get a no, and I was fully aware that she would say yes. She did. Matter of fact, it was an enthusiastic affirmative.

I got directions to her house–a long driveway leading back to a beat-up mobile home surrounded by trash and enough dogs for a junk yard.

We got in the car, went on the date, and she tried so hard to be perfect. Matter of fact, we ended up parking somewhere and necking for a while.

But it was romance by default and affection by revenge. I knew I was never going to be interested in Sherry.

She seemed oblivious to my indifference and shared her life story with me. She was poor, mistreated and even abused by her alcoholic father.

Damn. I should have cared.

I didn’t. I was smarting from my own little crisis.

About halfway through the date she made it clear that she wanted to see me again, and also sent out a signal that she was prepared to go further romantically on this date if I was interested.

I wasn’t interested, and fortunately, didn’t take advantage of her.

As I dropped her off, I kissed her goodnight, knowing that I would never see her again.

One week later I received a letter from her in the mail, sharing how much she had enjoyed our time and hoping that her vulnerability and living situation had not been a turnoff to me.

I didn’t respond.

Sherry deserved so much more than my selfish leaping into a fling. She was wounded and I accidentally dribbled some salt water into it.

I wasn’t vicious. I wasn’t unloving. But I was one of the worst possible additions to her life. In her mind’s eye I was a nice boy who took her out on a date and never called again, proving to her that she was just white trash.

I don’t know what became of Sherry, but I learned very clearly that night, that a temporary need or a piercing yearning does not give us permission to use another person to comfort our woes.

confessing trailer home

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