Good News and Better News … November 2nd, 2015

 Jonathots Daily Blog

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Good news Better news Columbus

I drove to Columbus, Ohio, to assist one soul. 483 miles round trip.

It was a decision:

  • If I go, then I’ll know I went.
  • If I don’t, I leave all circumstances to time and chance.
  • If I come up with a good excuse to stay and not go, then I will need evidence I tried–some extraordinary measure that expresses my concern. More than “I’m praying for you.”
  • If I make the journey, I risk expense and exhaustion.

“If, then.”

It got me thinking.

If there is a God, then there is a heaven.

Cool. Covered. Taken care of.

If there is no God, we really still need a heaven.

What is heavenly?

That which promotes life instead of death.

That which allows for my happiness and the happiness of others.

“Love your neighbor” jumps out as an essential ingredient.

How about being “the salt of the earth and the light of the world?”

And let us not forget, “don’t judge people”–or become your neighborhood ass.

Makes sense.

If there is no government to help the poor, then my two dollars, given to the guy on the street, becomes the safety net.

If there is a safety net, I can use my two dollars to help someone who can’t find it.

If there is no solution, then we will need really good diversions to keep us happy.

If there are solutions, then perhaps our task is to make big, easy-to-read signs so people can find the possibilities more easily.

I am not a destination; I am a GPS.

“Where do you want to go?”

That’s what I ask.

“Let’s find a good route.”

If there is no eternity, then it is all happening now.

So perhaps we should just “enjoy the heaven” out of it.

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G-Poppers … March 27, 2015

Jonathots Daily Blog

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G-Popper

G-Pop was always pretty sure when his granddaughter had something to say or ask, but found that it was lodged in the back of her throat, nearly choking her.

There were tell-tale signs.

For instance, she would come into the room, sit down and fidget for a while, and leave–only to return several times, repeating the process.

So finally, on the fourth such visit, G-Pop decided to address the situation.

G-Pop: Something on your mind?

Granddaughter: No. Why do you ask?

G-Pop: Well, I ask because you’ve been in here four times in the past ten minutes for no particular reason, saying nothing–but kicking your feet against the coffee table.

Granddaughter: Are you mad because I’m kicking the coffee table?

G-Pop: (laughing) No. I just wonder what you have on your mind that you want to share.

Granddaughter: Not share. Ask.

G-Pop: Ask away.

(Granddaughter paused again. Apparently there was a big glob of something that was having a whole lot of trouble getting to the surface. G-Pop sat patiently, waiting for her.)

Granddaughter: (at length) You know I love you, G-Pop.

(G-Pop interrupted with a laugh.)

Granddaughter: What are you laughing at?

G-Pop: You always know you’re in trouble when somebody begins a conversation with “you know I love you…”

Granddaughter: You’re not in trouble. I just love you.

G-Pop: Thank you.

Granddaughter: What I’m trying to say is, I don’t understand why you aren’t rich and famous.

G-Pop: Which would you prefer? Rich or famous?

Granddaughter: Aren’t they the same?

G-Pop: Oh, no. One is fame and one is money. You can get money without being famous, and you certainly can be famous without getting any money.

Granddaughter: Really?

G-Pop: So which one? Do you think I should be rich? Or be famous?

Granddaughter: I want you to be both!

G-Pop: So let’s say I was. How would that help you?

(Granddaughter sat, thinking. So G-Pop offered an idea.)

G-Pop: If I had money, maybe I could buy you more things. And if I was famous, your friends might think you were really cool because your G-Pop was well-known.

Granddaughter: I suppose. Gee, that makes me sound really dumb.

G-Pop: No, it makes you sound human. It’s just that human sometimes sounds dumb.

Granddaughter: Why aren’t you on television? Or in the movies? Or on the news?

G-Pop: You ever go on a long trip?

Granddaughter: Sure.

G-Pop: Well, you’re young enough that you probably don’t understand that to drive the first mile of a long trip means you have to get your car ready, pack your bags, check the fluids on your engine, get some money, plan the trip, pick up some snacks…

Granddaughter: That’s a lot of stuff!

G-Pop: It is. And even though you might be heading for somewhere far away, your destination doesn’t make any difference, because what’s important right now is how well you plan and how much you enjoy it.

Granddaughter: What’s this got to do with being rich and famous?

G-Pop: Rich and famous is a dot on the map–maybe far away. Some people sit around wondering how they could take a rocket ship there, or be dropped in by helicopter. But since those possibilities are very limited, they usually end up going nowhere. But if you take the keys you’ve got and use the vehicle you own, and drive as far as you can, enjoying every mile of the way, you might just someday get to that dot. But if you don’t, you can sure help a lot of people on the highway enjoy a lot of scenery, and find a way to make everywhere you travel resemble that dot.

Granddaughter: I don’t quite understand.

G-Pop: I wouldn’t expect you to. But just remember this–it’s never about the destination. It’s about the journey. And as long as you’re having fun with what you’re doing, helping out folks along the way, and learning the precious value of planning, you will always be happy–which is actually the best impersonation of rich and famous.

 

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Published in: on March 27, 2015 at 12:34 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Jesonian: Roads… November 16, 2014

 Jonathots Daily Blog

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long and winding road bigger

Salvation: being salvaged from the junk heap mere moments before toted away.

There are roads.

There’s the road to Emmaus, where a stranger is encountered who warms the heart with conversation and fellowship, ending up being the personification of what is truly believed.

A road that heads for Damascus, where headstrong intentions are interrupted abruptly by the realization of error and wrong-doing, eliminating blind ambition, having scales fall from the eyes.

That road to Jericho is one where the thieves of life come and strike their will, leaving a victim lying desperately in need of human kindness, which will allow for a season of restoration.

Of course, the road to Golgotha climbs upward through ridicule and humiliation, nailing the afflicted to a cross so that through the death of foolishness can come the resurrection of hope.

And finally, the road to Bethlehem, where a starry-eyed hope illuminates the night sky with the notion that there’s something more, something better, something righteous.

There are many roads that achieve a similar destination.

We must realize it is not where we travel nearly so much as with whom we travel.

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Charles in Charge … April 14, 2014

Jonathots Daily Blog

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Can one man make a difference? So as not to be sexist, can one woman do the same?image

It’s one of those classic questions intended to be thought-provoking but ends up coming off rhetorical.

Somewhere along the line we have ceased to believe in the power of a voice crying in the wilderness. We favor coalitions, parties, denominations, corporations and plurality of polls.

His name is Charles. Not  Charlie. That would be too flimsy. Certainly not Chaz. Much too quirky.

He lives in Paonia, Colorado. If you don’t know where that is, you would find yourself in one of those socially comfortable majorities.

Charles invited Janet and myself to Paonia to share our life, heart and talents. This was several months ago. Although we were appreciative of the interest, a quick glance at the map showed us that Paonia was not near anywhere, and therefore not in the direct line of any future tour.

Thinking we were being kind, we just ignored the invitation. But you see, Charles was determined. So he contacted us again. People who take a second crack are rare in our split-second gratification society.

But once again, we just chose to ignore the kind gesture.

Then we found ourselves in Arizona. Our next real plan of action was to be in the Midwest, which either meant to take a southerly route or to go north and then east.

Charles came to mind.

Even though to journey in his direction was still impractical, it sniffed of an adventure.

So this weekend an unlikely destination for an unsuspecting pair of travelers ended up joining forces for a blessed excursion in the throne room of faith.

Even as it was transpiring,  my thoughts drifted to Charles and his determination.

Some really neat things happened on Saturday and Sunday.

Some lasting connections.

Some ideas were exchanged and some giggles passed around.

It was all set in motion by one man.

Yes, one fellow who wanted to try something for his small town–and persisted.

I am a better man for having experienced the soul of Paonia, Colorado.

And I close out my stay by praying that God will send a whole new crop of people like Charles, who will take charge of something they envision and stay with it until the power of their dream rolls up to the front door.

.

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Untotaled: Stepping 2 (December 22nd, 1963) … February 15, 2014

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(Transcript)

It had been exactly one month since the assassination of John Fitzgerald Kennedy.

I didn’t care.

The reason for my indifference was that my parents were antagonistic against the now-deceased President. Mom and Dad were staunch Republicans, always voting “a straight Party ticket.” Perhaps worse, their political leanings often came with a nasty side order of insults and insinuations.

Two of their favorite words when referring to “that other Party” were queer and Communist.

I was twelve years old–I didn’t know what either word meant. But I surmised that “Communist” meant attempting to overthrow all the good things in our society, including candy and ice cream, and “queer” had something to do with Hollywood stars hanging around the JFK/Camelot White House.

So when the announcer from CBS came on to give a report about what had transpired since the Dallas shooting, I realized that my parents were in the room and it was a great opportunity for me to make some brownie points with them. Christmas was coming up and I had asked for a transistor radio. I was at that awkward age when I wasn’t sure if Christmas gifts came from Father Christmas or Father Cring. I thought I might please Mom and Dad by making a derogatory comment about the late President when the report commemorating his death took a commercial break.

So when the announcer said that the President was killed just a month ago, I clapped my hands in glee and shouted, “Nice shot!”

I turned, smiling, expecting approval from my overseers. But instead, for some reason they frowned, gasped–and my dad walked over, slapped me in the head and ordered me to my room. I lodged a few half-sentence objections, but he was trailing behind me, literally pushing me toward my destination.

Once imprisoned in my bedroom, I sat in a chair, confused.

What had happened? Wasn’t I just repeating what they had said all the previous weeks? Didn’t I hear them point out that he had brought this on himself? That he was the cause of the Cuban Missile Crisis, the Bay of Pigs and the rising cost of hamburger? What did I do wrong?

You see, what I was not privy to was the fact that my parents, over that thirty-day period, had repented of their narrow-mindedness and realized that a very interesting but flawed man had been brutally murdered in a country where such foolishness should be forbidden.

They had changed their minds about some things without telling me.

So when my dad struck out at me, he was really attacking his own prejudices, which were now speaking back at him, taunting him for his nasty opinions.

I was the victim of his own repentance.

But what really bothered me was whether this would jeopardize my transistor radio at Christmas. I was so relieved three days later when it was under the tree and I was given access to the rest of the world that existed beyond Letts Avenue.

Yes, my tiny radio became my “ear to the queer.” All the things I had not been allowed to listen to, consider or wonder about were suddenly being piped to me through a little speaker.

As I look back at it I feel shame–not because I was a stupid kid saying something ridiculous, but because it took me too many years after that irresponsible day to finally learn how to think for myself.

It was too long before I comprehended what really happened in Dallas on that horrible afternoon. It had nothing to do with politics. It was stupidity, arrogance and prejudice … given a gun.

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