Catchy (Sitting 44) A Very Slow Fast … April 15th, 2018

Jonathots Daily Blog

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It was meant to be a very quiet arrival at Ronald Reagan Airport in Washington, D. C. Over the weekend, Jubal had contacted Matthew, explaining that he planned on returning on Wednesday afternoon at 2:15, and would appreciate a pickup, so he could get right back into the hunt of things. He had briefly updated Matthew on his journey.

Jubal had only spent four days with the Dalai Lama before traveling on to Japan, China, India, and ending up at a conference of rabbis and mullahs in Jerusalem. He had many stories and much adventure but he wanted to come home.

Matthew agreed to meet him in Washington, and contacted Soos to put together the “on-the-ground-plan.” Perhaps that was his mistake–because Soos decided that the return of Brother Carlos was good reason to have a national festival.

First she put the word out on social media, so there were five thousand screaming fans at the airport when he taxied down the runway. She also got hold of Mother Rolinda, who was still pastoring up in Baltimore, even though her burned-out church was being repaired and the local congregation was meeting in the park. Rolinda suggested they hire “The Angels”–fifty motor-cycle-riding dudes and lasses for God, who used to be part of the Hell’s Angels. Soos loved the idea and also thought a local high school marching band would be wonderful once they arrived in the middle of Washington, D. C.

As Matthew arrived at the airport, he became aware that he was once again part of an event. The past few weeks had changed him from a mere curmudgeon to a full-blown people-hater. He had “jailed himself” in Las Vegas for nearly a month. He drank, he slept, he gambled a bit, and he discussed with several prostitute friends whether lemon was necessary to add to the butter for a “good lobster-eatin’.”

So when Matthew drove up and saw all the people with banners and damnably sweet faces, he was tempted to turn around and pretend he had been waylaid in Nebraska due to a storm. (You could always count on Nebraska to provide you such a cover.) But he figured there was some member of the press who would identify him and foil his deception.

A beleaguered Matthew greeted a surprised Jubal Carlos, as they both headed to the parking lot and Jubal was offered a Harley Davidson to ride into Washington. (Matthew opted for the chauffeured Lincoln Town Car.)

Fifty motor-cycle disciples with shiny helmets were escorted into town by the police department as the fans roared and Jubal Carlos waved his fist in the air as if leading a charge at Gettysburg. The five miles into town were quickly covered, since there was such a smooth passage. As soon as the high school band saw Jubal, they burst into what sounded like a John Phillips Sousa march dipped in salsa. Jubal rolled up with his cohorts, jumped off his motorcycle and danced his way to a set of congas which were waiting for him and joined the band in sweet revelry.

Soos estimated there were probably ten thousand waiting for them in the Capitol Square. She had set up a microphone so Jubal could address the crowd and share about his journey.

After about ten minutes of music and everybody getting their fill of Nathan’s hot dogs, Jubal stepped onto the stage and walked up to the microphone. Matthew pushed closer–he wanted to both see and hear. He was curious. He had missed Jubal Carlos. Even though Matthew had no intention of bowing to a divinity, he still had deep admiration for Jubal’s convictions.

Jubal stood quietly for a minute, letting the crowd have its will. All at once, everyone fell silent. Jubal took the moment, added his own pause, and then spoke.

“I have been with the Dalai Lama, to Japan, China, the Ganges River in India, and Jerusalem, where Jesus was glorified.”

The crowd cheered. Jubal looked across the mass as if gazing upon a beautiful horizon. Then he started to laugh, pretended to wipe some sweat from his brow, leaned into the microphone and shouted: “But it sure is damn fine to be home!”

What followed was a scream that could have awakened all the stone monuments in the fair city. Matthew laughed. Jubal was very corny, somewhat predictable, fairly ordinary, and loved by all. Deep in his heart Matthew believed that he was much more clever than Mr. Carlos. Yet it was difficult for Matthew to get any affection, even from the bell-boy if he gave a particularly good tip. Jubal continued.

“I’m not gonna hold you here long, but I am going to tell you what’s next. I’m going to leave this stage, and I’m going to head to that building–”

He turned and pointed to the Capitol.

“Here’s what I’m going to do. Yesterday morning I began a fast. Actually, it’s rather simple. I’m drinking water, some electrolytes, and bottled fruit and vegetable juices. I just wanted you to know the truth before the press calls me a liar because they smell asparagus on my breath.”

More uproarious laughter, leaving Matthew shaking his head. Jubal waited for the giggles to die down, and went on.

“I’m going to sit in the rotunda of that Capitol and stay there, fasting, until this country passes a bill. I think we should call it ‘The National Action of Kindness.’ I know people will say it’s meaningless, but it is time for the United States to lead the world forward by using kindness–before we bury each other in a grave of nuclear ash.”

A chorus of “amens” and a few “hallelujahs” skirted across the gathered. Jubal spoke on.

“I do not know if I will be allowed to stay in the Capitol, and I certainly don’t plan on being any trouble. In other words, I will find my own corner and brighten it. But until we Americans realize that everything we do–every law we pass, every decision we make–has to be run through the concept of kindness, we will continue to hurt one another, destroy our young people and fail to be the shining light to the world. I’m not asking you to join me in the fast. I’m not doing it because I feel like I’m special. No one likes to eat like your Brother Carlos. So pray with me that those fat-cat-politicians will hurry up and do something, so I can get back to continuing my burrito addiction.”

And yes…more laughter.

Jubal stepped away. He didn’t even stop to talk to Soos, Rolinda or Matthew. He slow-jogged his way toward the Capitol, where in a very few minutes, he came to the door and was refused entrance.

By this time, many from the crowd had followed, including all the staffers. They stood on the steps and shouted at the Capitol above them. “Let him in! Let him in!”

Jubal did not say anything at all, but stepped back four paces, crossed his arms and stood his ground. All at once the doors opened, and the guards moved to the side.

Ninety-year-old Medero Fairchild, the oldest sitting Senator, slowly stepped out and embraced Jubal. He put his arm around him and walked toward the guards. They stepped forward to prevent Jubal from entering the Capitol Building. The old man lifted his hand and spoke to them.

“This is my friend. He’s here at my request. You young gentlemen do a fine job guarding us, but now Mr. Jubal and I need to get inside and catch up on things.”

The austere protectors looked at one another and realized that it was foolishness for them to argue with the “Old Eagle of Liberty” (one of Fairchild’s nicknames).

Jubal Carlos stepped inside the Congress with his arm around a ninety-year-old senator from the state of Tennessee. The crowd went wild, and the guards broke form and style and waved at them.

Matthew shook his head. He raced to the car, hurried to the airport, and flew back as quickly as he could to his cave of protection.

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Barking Dogs… January 14, 2012

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I’ve only been working on it for about a year.

Honestly, I’m not very good at it. But I still continue to pursue the idea because I realize how valuable it is–and perhaps even necessary to my own well-being and certainly to my fellow-humans. For many years I knew it was something I should consider, but candidly, I just thought people should take care of their own business, be grown-up and not involve me in their messes.

But here’s the truth–lots of people don’t take care of their own affairs. People tend to wear their feelings on their sleeves and then become easily bruised and upset when you bump into them. It causes strife, fighting, feuds and just a general feeling of discontent among the populace.

So that is why, for the past year I have been trying to listen to and note the barking dogs that hound the minds of my fellow-travelers. Because if I take every nasty attitude that’s thrown my way and assume it was meant for me, I am an idiot. People arrive in our presence already cocked to go off like a gun, with feelings of resentment, remorse and insecurity that have absolutely nothing to do with us. They may choose us as a dumping ground, but unless we take the time to suck up some air and consider their plight, we will explode all over them, further confirming their belief that life sucks. It is a step of maturity that I am ill-prepared to undertake–but I do acknowledge that it’s required in order to move forward. People have “barking dogs” on their heels all the time that they’re running from, causing them to be less than considerate, pre-occupied, frustrated and often incompetent.

Let me give you an example. Several weeks ago, I finished performing in a church and a lady came by my book table in a wheel chair and rolled on down the hallway towards a restroom. She sat in front of the restroom for a few moments and then tried to roll to the door but was unable to open it, and after two attempts, backed her wheelchair up and disappeared around a corner, out of sight. It got me thinking. I wondered if she was around that corner trying to figure out how to get into the bathroom, yet completely stymied by her situation and, for whatever reason, unwilling to ask for assistance. I took a chance. I knew she wouldn’t allow me to help her into the bathroom, so I asked a teenage girl nearby to do me a favor. I quickly explained the situation and inquired if she would be willing to go find the lady and see if she was sitting there and ask her if she would like some assistance getting into the restroom. The young girl looked at me like I was a little crazy, but since she thought it was a “worthy” nuttiness, she complied. She disappeared and short moments later, reappeared rolling the lady to the restroom, completing the mission. I don’t know how long that woman would have sat, trying to figure out how to get into the bathroom, allowing the “barking dogs” to create greater and greater dissatisfaction in her soul. But I was glad I could silence the hounds in her mind on this one occasion. You see, in the midst of a society constantly trying to judge the actions of other people based on outward appearance, the more intelligent path is to listen for the barking dogs that hound people into being less than what they really desire to be.

I find it difficult to write about the subject because I am in such an infant stage of discovery that my explanation probably sounds like baby-talk. But this is what I know–ninety per cent of the people who are mean to me are so because they think they’re attacking somebody or something else. If I retaliate solely based upon what they say or do to me, I start an unnecessary war. If I pause for a second and wonder what vicious consequence of life has caused them to arrive in such a foul mood, I allow my compassion to take the forefront instead of my retaliation. It doesn’t always work–but when it does, I offer salvation to my friends instead of incrimination.

Can we tune our ears to hear the barking dogs that are hounding the minds of those we meet? Perhaps it’s a pipe dream. You might even consider it a piece of foolishness. But I know this–to spend my whole life judging things by what I hear and see and never look deeper into the heart is to remove the essence of God from my journey.

Because it is always God’s will to look inside … instead of judging the book by its cover.

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Jonathan wrote the gospel/blues anthem, Spent This Time, in 1985, in Guaymas, Mexico. Take a listen:

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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

Tales of Whales… January 13, 2012

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I don’t want to be a curmudgeon. The condition is usually characterized as an aging person who has become jaded and grouchy about the enjoyment of youthful passions and delights. That’s not me. But every once in a while something crosses the landscape of the American cultural-bus-tour that requires some comment–maybe even of a disgruntled sort.

I, for one, am fed up with the glorification of animals–especially to the exclusion of energy that could be spent in aiding our own race (that being the human one.)

How many movies are we going to make about whales that need to be saved? How many times do we really need to Free Willy? Do we need another scene of teary-eyed proponents of the animal cause, weeping over some creature that’s being thrust into captivity? AND we’re so type-specific! We seem to care about the porpoise getting caught in the tuna net without ever giving a thought to the thousands of tuna which are being eaten! Dogs and cats gain great favor with us, while mice and possums can be discarded alongside the road as necessary casualties of progress. What is the obsession?

Here’s a story. About five years ago, I wrote a movie called The $6 Man. Many of you may even own it. It is the story of a father who loses his financial security and finds himself on the street with his eleven-year-old daughter, attempting to live on six dollars a day, while also organizing and assisting his fellow-street-dwellers. I love this movie. It is full of heart, humanity, mercy, humor, pathos and all the good things that make a terrific flick. But when it came time for it to go to film festivals and be considered for distribution, it was rejected by many because it wasn’t “family fare.” Let me get this straight: three whales stranded under an ice floe, assisted by a young boy, is called a “miracle story for the whole family.” But on the other hand, an actual family stranded under a  freeway overpass, trying to live in a trash dumpster and love each other is “not suitable for children.”

Is this really the message we want to convey? Because when I challenged those powers-that-be about their decision, they explained to me that the situations were “too adult” and parts of the movie characterized the government and people around the homeless as being uncaring. Amazing.

I watched a television show the other night where a gorilla was seeking personhood because the animal had been taught to do sign language–and his leathery, hairy face seemed to have expressions of sadness. A quick search on the Internet will tell you that gorillas are violent, and chimpanzees (which many folks consider to be our closest ancestor) will rip your face off at a moment’s notice. Now, I have met a lot of human beings who are not particularly favorable, but none who have ever ripped my face off.

And here’s another strange thing–this issue seems to be one of the few that liberals and conservatives agree upon: family fare is any entertainment that involves animals being treated correctly, fantasy, warlocks or unlikely scenarios about young people in difficulty, trying to solve problems.

Where are we teaching our next generation to be human? Because I will tell you right now–caring for a whale, a gorilla or even a kitty-cat does not make you a quality human being. Learning to love someone who has the ability to speak his or her mind–and not necessarily love you back just because you bring them a bowl of food–is the true measurement of our earth worth.

Conservatives love to perch their children in front of “safe” movies, where animals are valued and there is a happy ending, which makes the children giddy, although ill-informed. Liberals likewise fear exposing their offspring to any practical realities of life, feeling it’s better that these experiences be “gradually” filtered into the learning process. So saving a whale or hugging a gorilla seems to be an acceptable two-hour-long baby-sitter as the parents go into the other room, sipping some wine and watching old Scorsese movies. As bad as it is to see conservatives and liberals arguing, it is even more frightening when they unite over inhumanity.

Give me a movie where a young boy discovers three homeless people–or decides to visit a trio of housebound retired folks after school. Let us explore his experiences  with these individuals. I can write it just as heartwarming, real and touching as the “whale tale.” But you will never see it–for we choose to throw money at the homeless problem rather than addressing the real need.

Homelessness in America is a three-fold issue:

1. Many of the people need social reclamation. In other words, they’ve just forgotten how to get along with other people.

2. Others lack the skills necessary to leap back into society and make a living without working all day long to still end up lacking a roof.

3. And candidly, there are mental health issues. Thousands of these individuals who are disenfranchised are struggling with their own minds, insecurities and mental lapses. They need attention.

I realize my little essay doesn’t mean much in the vast spectrum of the pursuit of “family fare entertainment.” But I don’t think we can expect humanity to improve if we don’t spend that much time with humans. And I will continue to speak out on the issue, risking being referred to as ‘the old grump,” hoping that someone who has an ear will hear, and allow their children a real education on how to be alive.

Because let me tell you, I have met many people who adore animals–and hate folks. But I’ve never found anyone who loves human beings who doesn’t stop long enough to give a bone to a stray dog.

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Jonathan wrote the gospel/blues anthem, Spent This Time, in 1985, in Guaymas, Mexico. Take a listen:

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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

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