Moved… January 29, 2013

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will work for food“It’s a scam!”

She was determined to inform me of my pending idiocy by interrupting a conversation I was having with a young father and his little daughter out in front of a Wal-Mart. The two of them had stopped me as I was exiting the establishment, explaining that they were without a home and needed some money for food.

The lady who had decided to interject her opinion into the situation glared at the pair begging for money and punctuated her warning by saying to the father, “Why don’t you get a job?”

Fortunately, she glided away on her magic carpet of self-righteousness. The little girl hung her head and the father rose to his feet as if he was going to follow. I held my hand up, motioning to him to stop.

“Now, where were we?” I said, calming their spirits.

Here’s the truth, my dear friends. I don’t care if it’s a scam.

I don’t care if the drunk on the street is getting a buck off of me to buy the cheapest Ripple in the local liquor store. I don’t care if the fellow with the elaborate story concerning his broken-down car, which needs a five dollar repair, is just a way to boost cash from me. The transactions which happen between human beings are not investments and therefore do not require brokers. It is not necessary for us to determine the validity of the need.

In this country we are continually stumping about the need for compassion. But you see, compassion is completely impossible if you’ve closed all the doors to your human heart which might allow you to be moved.

Americans do not lack compassion–we have just been trained to be cynical and are nearly incapable of being moved. Honestly, folks, if you’re not moved, you will never be able to tap the root of your compassion. Every day of my life is that pursuit — working very hard to unload the boxes of my burdens, prejudices, anger and frustration so that compassion can move freely through my human space.

I occasionally will purposely get up very early in the morning, before dawn, to see if I still have the tenderness to be moved by the rising sun.

I will sit in my van and listen to music that gentles my spirit to allow the tears to flow freely.

I practice being moved because without that training, I am vacant of compassion.

Here are two sentences I complete in every situation:

1. “If it were me…” Honestly I did not see a man and his young daughter in front of the store. No, I saw myself thirty-eight years ago, having just been evicted from an apartment and not knowing where to go, desperately needing someone to purchase a pint of blackberries I had picked, granting me a few quarters to buy bread and bologna. I recalled that sensation and it moved me. Candidly, I will never be moved by the plight of others unless I am able to insert myself into the situation.

2. “If I don’t…” In other words, if I don’t fill the gap, do I really think there is someone possessing more generosity than me, who will come along and help these people out with something other than useless advice about needful employment? I often realize I cannot trust my society to be compassionate. The burden is mine. So therefore I have deed and title to the blessing.

  • If it were me…
  • If I don’t…

Run those two through your mind before you carelessly walk away. You’ll stop worrying about whether things are scams and become more concerned about faltering over an opportunity to be truly human.

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

Stinky Jobs … December 17, 2011

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Live from Palm Coast, Florida, in A Spirited Christmas

 
 There are stinky jobs.
 
Truthfully, I’m not a great proponent of work in general. Matter of fact, I’ve been known to sit around for an hour discussing a better way to do a five-hour task in three hours, ending up with a sixty-minute savings in exertion. People who like to work sometimes scare me because generally speaking, they enjoy presenting other abnormalities like saving money and daily exercise programs–two other things I’m not particularly fond of pursuing.
 
But there certainly is some work that’s stinkier than others. For instance, I would not like to be the campaign manager for a candidate who’s running fourth in the polls in a four-person contest. You would still have to show up every day to headquarters, with doughnuts and coffee for everybody, a smile on your face, hiding newspapers from personnel and making sure the television set was off so as not to discourage the work force. You would still have to listen to all the speeches–knowing that a final selection would be a concession one. Stinky job.
 
Here’s another one: being the manager at the late night shift at a McDonald’s and having the responsibility of throwing away all the extra hamburgers not purchased during the day. I’m sorry–I would want to look at all those brave burgers and adopt them, probably stuffing them down my pants to hide it from the staff, only to drive too slowly on the way home because I was worried about my thievery, and get picked up by a policeman who notices my nervous mannerisms and asks me to step out of my vehicle, to discover during his search that I was toting beef in my shorts. (You can see, I’ve thought this through…)
 
While we’re on the subject, let me mention another stinky job. I don’t think I’d want to be a defense attorney for a serial killer who had murdered twenty-three nuns while they were kneeling in prayer. What could you say? “Come on, folks! We’ve all wanted to chop SOMEBODY up and put ’em in a burlap bag and toss ’em in a Goodwill bin for redistribution.  Haven’t you?”  (After all, genuflecting can be annoying.) Nasty business.
 
But truthfully, one of the most difficult employments–a stinky job–would be the promotion of the word “tinsel.” First of all, it’s a seasonal occupation, since no one really uses the stuff any time other than Christmas. Tinsel is out of the question at a Bar-Mitzvah. Immediately you would have the needful goal of separating the word “tinsel” from its two inferior cousins–“glitter” and “glamour.” Am I right? Because whenever anyone wants to refer to something shallow, they cite “tinsel and glamor” or “tinsel and glitter.” Yes,”tinsel” would have to create more profound relationships. I mean, if you’re going to sell this to the public, you would have to try something like “tinsel and prayer.” How about “tinsel and debate?” One of my favorites would be “tinsel and charity.” If you think about it, it’s really unfair. Because even though we associate tinsel with triviality, we all have it as a guilty pleasure during holiday times and use it to decorate our trees and surroundings.
 
Here’s another quandary. There are those who become confused about whether tinsel is the garland that goes around the trees or if it’s the icesickles that are strewn upon the boughs.  (Yes, the beginning of all prejudice is falce perception …)
 
How could you promote “tinsel” when it is used so fervently by the faithful but in moments of weakness is betrayed and cast aside as meaningless drivel? Yes–that would be a stinky job.
 
Yet I will tell you this–even if a Jehovah’s Witness who did not celebrate Christmas was to suddenly pick ONE thing to commemorate the birth of a savior, it just might be tinsel. Flashing lights would be out of the question. Manger scenes? Graven images. But tinsel would be pretty, while still maintaining some purity.
 
What WOULD be the correct way to improve the popularity of tinsel? I men, as an idea, not merely as a product. Do you agree with me? It would be a stinky job.
 
It would almost be as difficult as trying to promote a daily column on the Internet by a bizarre writer who actually thinks about stuffing Big Macs down his trousers.

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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!

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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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