Jesonian … September 16th, 2017

 Jonathots Daily Blog

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I am despondent.

I feel violated.

Like millions of other souls in the Caribbean and the Southeast United States, I am insulted and slapped in the face by Mother Nature through her daughter, Irma.

It is a silly thing. After all, a hurricane doesn’t have a spirit or a grudge against anyone. It’s a part of the natural order which we should study, and learn its ways.

That being said, it doesn’t change my feelings. I am a human being, so naturally, I despise being inconvenienced. Irma disrupted my schedule.

So what’s next?

The secular answer is to show countless pictures of broken boats, torn-up homes, flood waters and weeping humans in an attempt to create empathy. But the problem is, America was already emotionally hurting before the storm came. Our country was reeling from not knowing where to put our feet on solid ground.

The storm has shaken an already unstable populace.

It reminds me of the story in Mark the 2nd Chapter. Jesus is teaching at Peter’s house. The crowd is good. Jesus had been away for a while, so people were glad to see him and came out to hear the latest “good thoughts.”

Four fellows showed up with a crippled friend, hoping to gain an audience with Jesus, thinking he might be able to do something to help their comrade. They can’t get into the house–it’s too crowded. They can’t get anywhere near the front door.

So they crawl on top of the house, lifting their friend, and they vandalize it. They tear a hole in the roof. Just like Irma.

They rip off the roof, creating devastation and a disaster.

They ease their friend down, into the house, in front of Jesus. Jesus does not comment on the destruction. Jesus does not apologize to Peter because a hole has been ripped in his roof. Jesus tells this man who’s been let down, humiliated and left vulnerable through the experience, that his sins are forgiven.

It’s what he needed to hear.

It’s what I need to hear.

It’s what everyone needs to hear: “Hey, it’s nothing personal. It’s a hole in the roof. You’re not a worse sinner because your roof got blown off and the one next door didn’t, and you’re certainly not more saintly because you escaped destruction. It’s going to be okay. You’re going to be all right.”

We are emotionally devastated while simultaneously trying to tally the total amount it will take to replace our goods. There needs to be a voice speaking to all of us, saying, “It’s okay. Irma was just doing a natural thing. God’s not out to get you, and it’s not all about climate change. It’s called ‘the weather.’ It happens. But you are loved. You are worth much more than a hole in the roof.”

After Jesus forgives the man, he says to him, “Get up.”

And that’s what I want to say to all my brothers and sisters, as I also proclaim it to myself: “Get up. We’re all right.”

Take a minute, though, and make sure you are emotionally stable before you start filing your insurance claims–because it was scary. It was painful. It was hot and sweaty. It was dark.

Enjoy some sunshine. Get in the light. Remember, you are worth many sparrows. God hasn’t stopped loving anyone. Nature and science have run their course.

Let’s get up now–go back to our homes, take what we’ve learned, and live even more meaningful and intense lives.

 

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PoHymn: A Rustling in the Stagnant … April 5th, 2017

 Jonathots Daily Blog

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Crumbling Dream

Hot temper, bitter words

Flying insults, dirty birds

Pent-up snarl from the soul

Heard the half, now here’s the whole

Feelings raw from being hidden

Hell erupts as pain is bidden

To share the anguish of being slighted

Fussy memories, unrequited

Shocked to perceive and be accused

Vehemently denying, yet still refused

Layer upon layer, vicious sound

As our home burns to the ground

Can’t we cease this devastation

And abandon all retaliation?

Or must we struggle to the end

And watch the truth gradually descend

To overwrought exaggeration

White noise buzzing from every station

If no one listens, how can we hear?

Violence threatens, we tremble in fear

Stop the madness, no logic impresses

By ranting about the current messes

I need breath–just some air

You’re so mean, completely unfair

I once loved you with all my heart

So much damage–where can we start?

Yet in the midst of the emotional debris

I still desire a way to be

Your heart again, sweet and real

A tender caress, a path to feel

God forgive us as we scream

And help us save our crumbling dream. 

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Ask Jonathots… October 27th, 2016

 Jonathots Daily Blog

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Is there any such thing as a good war, a necessary war or a productive war?

I am always frightened of pat answers.

I’m talking about those responses given which attempt to be clever or cover a multitude of opinions in order to please everybody. We know that life doesn’t work that way. Actually, truth is a poison ivy that leaves everyone scratching.

So when you talk about war, it’s easy to take familiar stances.

For instance, “war is fine as long as we’re protecting the innocent.” The problem, of course is, who is really innocent?

And most people who decide to go to war tout that they’re doing it to “shelter the needy,” but have ulterior motives.

There are those who say war is necessary to promote our way of life. In other words, “these people are going to do what’s right or we’ll kill them.”

And there are people who contend that war is acceptable when we, ourselves, are attacked. Then the question comes, at what level? Are we talking about a bombing of our whole country, or an aggressive move toward one of our ships?

The truth of the matter is, war is so wrong that it must be won by people who know it’s evil.

If we begin to believe that there’s a righteous war, or our cause is anointed by the heavens and we’re allowed to enact violence, then we become the latest plague on the planet.

  • War is wrong because it kills people.
  • Killing people is against life.
  • God is a promoter of life.

So what should we feel about war?

I think many wars are avoided by choosing our skirmish.

In other words, if we step in early enough and rip the bad seed out of the ground, the ugly cactus of conflict doesn’t have to pop up in the desert.

If we use diplomacy, a show of force and a line in the sand that we really do follow through on, we have a much better chance of avoiding a death toll and devastation.

Should the United States have become involved in World War II earlier? Yes–the U. S. should have stepped in when Hitler decided to annex part of Austria–long before he took over Poland, all of Europe and bombed the hell out of England.

We should have noticed the political upheaval in Viet Nam and addressed it with the tools available–a show of force and diplomacy–instead of sending human bodies to shoot at human bodies.

War is not inevitable. More often than not, it’s a refusal and a denial of existing problems, hoping they will go away, only to discover that they multiply.

For instance, in a marriage, long before there’s a divorce, there are a thousand junctures where communication and conversation could have changed the outcome.

War is caused by delay.

Delay is triggered by politics.

And politics is the notion that by pretending everything is good, we will get elected.

Choose the skirmish.

Avoid the war.

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Ask Jonathots… October 6th, 2016

 Jonathots Daily Blog

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I have a friend who is often depressed and sometimes mentions suicide. What can I say to him to get him out of this?

Stop feeling so guilty.

It is highly unlikely that your words will have sway.

When people are clinically depressed, they need medical attention. If they are mentally, emotionally or spiritually depressed, they need a sense of inclusion.

What does that require?

Unless your friend wants to talk about his problems with you, the more you can create productive links to him–of events, causes, entertainment or just personal exchange, like having a meal–the better off you will be.

When there is no medical reason for the depression, there is always an emotional devastation which has spread mayhem to the spirit and mind. In that case, the only way to encourage him to escape his own sense of doom is to offer a mutual mission or purpose.

I would suggest, if you know your friend is interested in antiques, to plan every week to go  antiquing with him, followed by lunch. Give him something to look forward to.

It also makes you a student to your friend’s expertise. Let’s be candid–everyone likes to be the “smartie” in the room.

If people just need to feel important, they need to repent.

When people need to feel valuable, we should include them.

Always take a suicide threat seriously.

Keep an eye on your friend. But when you are with him, place yourself in the position of being the instructed instead of the instructor. Let him feel dominant.

In doing so, he will look forward to seeing you because you empower him–and just possibly, he will take steps to feel that sense of energy in other aspects of his life.

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Untotaled: Stepping 21 (April 17th, 1965) Gail’s Storm… July 5, 2014

Jonathots Daily Blog

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(Transcript)

Jennifer smiled at me.

She was known for her smile–yet I thoroughly believed this particular smirk had a certain passion attached to it, uniquely sending a message of deep affection in my direction.

Love not only was planted and sprouted, but came to full bloom within the confines of my chubby-chested, beating heart.

Jennifer was beautiful–long, pale-blonde, straight hair, with blue eyes and a bit of ruddy in her cheeks that tempted tweaking. Her lips were full and her breath–well, I never actually got close enough to tell, but I would assume a delightful, slightly musky Dentyne.

I was not given to hiding my affections, so I made it clear to a few of my friends concerning my budding devotion for this flower of Olympus. One of them, Gail, decided to make it her mission to create misery in my life.

It was a two-fold process:

Sometimes Gail told me that Jennifer was interested in me, and had even inquired about some of my likes and dislikes.

My entire being came to erection.

Then the next day, Gail whispered in my ear that Jennifer and a really good-looking guy named Glen had been caught necking behind the refreshment stand at the old football field following the last game.

I went back to having a chubby chest with a dead heart.

It was back and forth, day-to-day: jubilation and devastation.

It occurred to me that Gail seemed equally as overjoyed when I was elated or deflated.

One of my friends tried to explain that Gail was just pulling my chain, but since I considered myself to be chainless, I ignored it.

Finally I decided to solve my own problem and determine the veracity of the rumors by telling Jennifer about my deep-rooted admiration.

It was the first of many times in my life that I received the standardized “you’re a really nice guy and a great friend” speech. Why is it that following that proclamation, no one feels nice or friendly?

The bizarre part of the story is that several years later, the summer of receiving my driver’s license, Gail and I drove around town on adventures, wasting time and talking for hours.

Matter of fact, one hot summer day we came inches from using our tongues for something other than gossip.

So I will never know if Gail was just a fun-loving girl who thought being mean was cool, or perhaps she was jealous of my affection for the Princess of Central Ohio.

Gail brought a storm into my life, but I survived the winds … and eventually learned how to sail the seas.

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