Iz and Pal (Bedouin Buddies)


Iz and Pal

Jonathots Daily Blog

(3945)

Sitting Five

Iz and Pal huddled and cried for a solid hour, shivering, sobbing, trying to speak, but diminishing to painful sighs and groans.

Bruised.

No father ever knows how deeply the rejection goes into the soul of a son who wishes to disagree but is cast into the role of the delinquent prodigal.

Night was falling—a desert night, black and chilly, clear and cold—the human blood still boiling from the day’s heat, but the skin releasing its warmth, beginning to freeze body and then, soul.

There had been no time to build a fire, so the two boys entwined inside the tent for heat and comfort. They whimpered and shuddered.

At length, Iz spoke. “Pada isn’t always that bad.”

Pal was speechless, unwilling to agree, yet not wanting to begin a useless discussion. Iz continued. “No, I mean it. He is a good man. He just has never understood my ways.”

Pal inserted, “Our ways.”

The boys soon discovered that having no fire allowed the creeping, squeaking, squawking and wiggling living organisms all around them to remain unseen, but certainly lively. The desert at night was terrifying. Some conversation was needed to keep them from thinking about the legendary, man-eating sand worm.

“Why do our people hate each other?” Iz asked.

“I don’t know,” said Pal, because he didn’t.

Iz objected. “‘I don’t know’ will not keep the conversation going and keep our minds off the bugs and slime.”

Pal growled, “I think your father thinks I’m bugs and slime.”

Iz attempted to soften his tone. “And what would your father think of me?” he asked.

Pal did not hesitate. “Probably just slime. Jew-boy slime.” Pal peered at his friend in the darkness. “Our skin is not different.”

Iz moved closer, agreeing. “No. In color, we could be brothers.”

Pal continued. “We eat, drink and live in the same places.”

“That’s right,” said Iz. “You don’t get pork, either, do you?”

“Nope,” said Pal matter-of-factly.

In the brief moment of silence between them, there were more buzzes and cackles in the surrounding bleakness. Iz inched even closer to Pal.

“I could never hate you,” he said.

“Why would you want to?” asked Pal.

“They want me to,” replied Iz, aggravated. “Because your God has a funny name.”

Without missing a beat, Pal replied, “And your God has a common name.”

Iz found this funny. “Maybe we could solve the whole thing by coming up with a new name for God that would please both of us,” he suggested.

Pal laughed. “One day in the desert and you’re ready to rename God.”

“How about Frank?” offered Iz.

Pal nodded. “The Americans would love it—and it sounds honest.”

Two friends giggling. The best sound ever.

Iz paused. “I need to tell you,” he said, “we’re almost out of water.”

Pal slowly shook his head. “Not a good thing in the desert.”

“What are we going to do?” inquired Iz with a slight creak in his voice.

Pal sat up on an elbow and said, “I think we should take this tiny tent down, and wrap ourselves in it for warmth, to keep all bugs and snakes far, far away.”

Iz eagerly agreed and the two friends turned themselves into a living, human cocoon. They tried to continue their conversation, but words began to fade into dreams. Dreams were displaced by moments of recollection—only to be interrupted by the sounds of the night creatures.

Iz dozed off, thinking about water.

Pal fell asleep, wondering where his family was.


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Iz and Pal (Bedouin Buddies)


Iz and Pal

Jonathots Daily Blog

(3931)

Sitting Four

It was nearly dusk when the aging patriarch stumbled upon the make-shift camp of the two escaped lads–one his son.

Early in midday, a bus-load of tourists had spied the site as they journeyed and had casually, almost jokingly, remarked upon their return, to the townspeople, about the two boys they saw perched in the desert.

In the early afternoon, Jubal’s father was contacted by friends who knew about his missing son. He decided to follow the directions and retrace the bus route, to see if he could locate his wayward lad.

While the father was climbing the hill, still a good distance away, Jubal recognized him. “It is my Pada,” he said to Amir.

“Pada?” asked Amir.

“My name for my father,” Jubal said nervously.

Amir patted his shoulder. “You knew he must come.”

Jubal replied, half laughing, but mostly terrified, “I was hoping it would be yours.”

Amir shook his head. “I don’t expect him. He would never pursue me in the desert.”

“But he loves you?” asked Jubal.

Amir rubbed his chin and said, “He knows he made me and he takes that quite seriously.”

Jubal gazed at his father, who was now close enough to make out facial features. “What am I going to do, Pal?”

Pal did not know. He said quietly, “We’ll just have to take it as it comes.”

Jubal’s father stopped about a dozen meters away from the camp and beckoned to his son. “Jubal! You will come here right now. Stop this nonsense and pray to God that I will find it in my heart to forgive you of your insolence.”

All the words collided and exploded in Jubal’s head. God. Forgive. Come. Here. Nonsense. And even though Jubal was not sure what “insolence” meant, the tone of voice told him that his father considered it a great sin. Jubal felt his muscles tighten. He jumped up instinctively, in a ritual of obedience, but Amir grabbed his arms, pulling him back to the ground.

The father continued with renewed vigor, stepping closer. “I am not speaking to the wind,” he bellowed. “I have told my son to come to my side and return with me—now.”

Jubal sat, fidgeting, heart racing, mouth dry and his hands shaking. Pada moved closer to him.

Amir spoke. “Dear sir, we mean no harm. We are just boys on a journey of sorts, enjoying each other and the beauty of nature.”

The older man snorted like a bull. “You are certainly right about the ‘boys’ part,” he spat. “And little boys do not belong in the wilderness. They should be close to home where they will be safe.”

Jubal winced. Memories flashed into his mind of arguments with this man, where logic and reason were soon replaced with insult, then intimidation. How many times had he cowered in fear? How many occasions had he nodded in agreement when his heart screamed dissent? How often had he felt the hand strike his cheek in anger as he recoiled, submitting?

Amir spoke again. “We will return when we return.”

The hulking presence advanced more quickly toward the lads. Iz and Pal interlocked their legs and arms, becoming one flesh.

With a final lunge, Iz’s father reared back and slapped his son. Pal squeezed closer to deflect some of the blows. Pada continued to smack his son over and over again, until he finally stepped back from exertion. The brutal insanity of the moment hung in the air with a frightful wheeze and a pending sob.

Iz screamed, “Pada, please stop hitting me!”

The old man, panting, replied, “You will come home with me.”

“I won’t. Not now,” said Iz.

Pada glared at him. “What are you trying to do?”

In a tearful voice, Iz replied, “I just want to be with my friend.”

Pada reached out to grab his arm. “You are embarrassing our family, and you, young man,” he said, turning to Pal, “you are a disgrace—leading my fine son astray. It is the way of the heathen.”

Iz screamed, “He is not a heathen! And he did not lead me astray. He is Pal, my friend, and I am Iz—his friend.”

Pada stopped pulling and demanded, “What is this Pal and Iz?”

Iz wanted to explain but as he looked into the unflinching, unyielding face of his father, he chose silence. The old man raised his hand once again to strike, and Pal leaped to his feet, holding the grenade in front of him. “Don’t touch us!”

Pada paused, gazing at the weapon in Pal’s hand, alarmed, but more amused and perplexed. “What’s that?” he asked scornfully.

Iz eased to his feet next to Pal and answered. “It is a grenade. I stole it from an Israeli soldier.”

Pada shook his head. “And what do you plan to do with it?”

Pal replied, “Nothing if you will stop beating us and leave us alone.” He choked back tears.

Pada struck another threatening pose. “I don’t have to leave my son alone, you little pagan.”

When Iz heard these words, he snatched the grenade from Pal’s hands and moved toward his father. Pada backed up in respect to the weapon. “You don’t even know how to use that, do you?” he challenged.

Iz chuckled. “And that would be a good thing?”

The father remained motionless, exchanging glances with Pal and Iz. “If you kill me, don’t you kill yourselves?”

Iz’s eyes filled with tears. “I haven’t lived long enough to miss life, but you—you are old and have many more memories to lose. Don’t test me, Pada. Everything I believe in is right here. I don’t know whether I’m right or wrong. I don’t care. I’ve found a friend. If I go with you, I will never have that friend again. If I stay here with him, all I lose is you.”

The old man peered at his son, not certain of the boy’s motives, but definitely convinced of the intensity of his emotions. He pointed a finger at Iz and threatened, “I will be back, with the police.”

Police? Iz and Pal hadn’t thought that far ahead. But now it was more than a boyish prank.

They just might have to decide whether they could live or die with their decision.

 

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Sit Down Comedy … January 4th, 2019

Jonathots Daily Blog

(3915)

Much to the chagrin of my friends and family, I refuse to accept the invitation to either the Republican Party or the Democrat Shindig.

Further complicating their emotions is the fact that sometimes there is a “red me,” other times a “blue me” and most of the time, this emerging “new me.”

I will explain.

The “red me” is a firm believer in taking personal responsibility for one’s own life, not relying on the government to supply initiative in order to maintain one’s well-being.

The “blue me” has compassion for those who have hit hard times or are locked into a regional situation making it difficult for them to escape poverty, requiring that they are offered some assistance.

Yet the “new me” is fully aware that the government will never be able to take care of this situation. So I look at the few souls God sends my way and I become their motivator toward personal responsibility and the benefactor for a bag of groceries here and there.

The “red me” understands the need for immigration reform. Without some guidelines, we open the door to confusion, if not mayhem.

Yet there is this “blue me” who wants to make sure that this country is made available to as many seekers as plausible, without closing the avenues to them or making it too difficult to become part of the melting pot.

The “new me” is happy to welcome almost anyone as long as they are willing to learn English.Jonathan Richard cring

I don’t like abortion. I don’t care what name you assign to the process of eliminating the life of what could be a human being. In my head it is still killing.

But I must tell you—I don’t like any killing so don’t wave a flag in my face and say we have to go murder other people so we can have freedom.

I am of a mind that the phrase, “gun-happy” is an oxymoron.

I really don’t have a “red me” on race. I don’t think the Republicans are racist. My term for them would be “unacquainted.”

The “blue me” is determined to press flesh and blend colors until I cease to notice skin tone.

And the “new me” is fully aware that God made human beings so similar that we’re like children, fighting for the same prize and maybe even the same love of our Daddy.

I guess the “red me” believes in faith.

But the “blue me” hates religion.

So, the “new me” lives it out in my life instead of yapping so much.

The “red me” sometimes chuckles over climate change, considering that Mother Nature has done a pretty good job of handling things so far.

But the “blue me” knows that we are caretakers of this Earth, and the fullness of it, and we should do our best to be kind to mountains, trees and every living creature.

Which leads to the “new me,” who patiently listens for facts based on truth instead of emotion and will do my best to honor the Earth—my home.

The “red me” remembers when brotherhood was not a political issue.

The “blue me” would like to go back to that day.

And the “new me” spends time working on humility, just in case I might get the idea that I’m superior in any way.

There is a “red me” and a “blue me” and this born again “new me,” crying out for common sense.

How about you?

 

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Jesonian … August 18th, 2018

 Jonathots Daily Blog

(3768)

There was an old gospel song that used to get the hometown folks clappin’ and snappin’. It had a lyric which proclaimed, “This world is not my home, I’m just passing through.”

I grew up in a small town that believed, like most small towns, that if the world behaved like they did, there would be eternal peace. But since the world didn’t behave, all the children needed to be careful going into the big city, or worse yet, into the world.

Matter of fact, like most small towns, over half of my graduating class still lives within ten miles of the place where they got their first kiss.

It’s easy for people who have religion to attack the world. Matter of fact, there are many preachers who wouldn’t have anything to share if they couldn’t criticize the world, sin and the souls around them. Even those practitioners of philosophies which portend to have more open-mindedness will still gladly join into a conversation of discussing how damnable things are on the planet.

Sometimes I wonder how it’s possible to be so in love with God and so hateful of the home He’s given us.

Now I remember. I forgot the lyrics: “This world is not my home.”

It makes me wonder why Jesus prayed that heavenly things be done on Earth.

God is a good Father. As a good Father, he knows His children. And the Earth is filled with His children.

He understands that the world is stuck in a rebellion resembling a sixteen-year-old: snotty, bratty, selfish, indulgent, unappreciative–but certainly unwilling to go anyplace else. That’s a sixteen-year-old.

So maybe we should walk away from our gospel songs and even our theology and take a careful look at what Jesus said about the world.

Two things:

1. “In the world you have tribulation.”

I suppose you could blame God for that–not because He steps back and lets things happen, but because He gave us free will. Honestly, if I had created beings that possessed as much intelligence as humans, I would have curtailed free will.

It doesn’t make sense. For people to have imaginations from the time of their youth, but for those musings to be generally evil, doesn’t bode well for blessings to flow across the land.

But it was God’s way.

He made us smart, with the ability to choose to be stupid.

Therefore, at one time or another, somebody is always being stupid, which makes it seem like all matter is about to fall apart. Jesus called this “tribulation”–a sense that things never find peace or settle down.

Now most religionists love that particular verse about tribulation in the world. Matter of fact, they stop right there and use it as a platform to preach against every sin that comes to their minds. They never factor in the second thought that Jesus had on the world:

For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten son. And He didn’t send His son into the world to condemn the world, but so that they could choose to be saved (paraphrase).

Of course, the key coupling there is “so loved.”

Not a passive appreciation.

Not a duty of being a parent of something you wish you could abandon.

But a deep emotional commitment, free of condemnation.

So here’s the truth of the matter, although I don’t want to anger some gospel song writer: this world is my home, for the time being, and I am passing through.

My job is to have good cheer when I see the tribulation, and make sure, through my face, my actions and my tenderness, that those around me know exactly how much they are so loved.

*****

If you like the mind of Jesus without religion, buy the book!

                $7.99 plus S&H

*******

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Salient…July 16th, 2018

 Jonathots Daily Blog

(3735)

There are matters that are too important to ignore or leave to chance. These are salient moments.

“I’m just human.”

This statement has been used to excuse murderous behavior. It also has been the opening refrain of a testimony offered in appreciation of God’s grace.

But if being human is a weakness, then what are eight billion people supposed to do with their lives? Are they to walk the Earth as emotional zombies, never able to connect with a good idea two days in a row?

Or must they give in to the dark human trinity?

  1. Complaining about circumstances
  2. Lessening expectations
  3. Lying if necessary

Is this really what God intended? Did He create an inferior race as worship slaves to His glory? Or, as the story goes, did He breathe into them the breath of life, give them His image and declare them living souls?

It’s time for us to decide:

Are we created in God’s image, tempted by evil?

Or are we born in sin, struggling to do even a little good?

I don’t think I’m alone in needing a reason to get up in the morning other than, “I’m going to go to heaven when I die.”

So let us turn to Jesus to see what he said about this situation. He summed it up in the Sermon on the Mount when he said, “Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father in Heaven is perfect.”

What did he mean by perfect?

He’s talking about a perfect human life. And a perfect human life is defined thusly:

“I will continue to try to do better until it’s unnecessary anymore for me to try.”

Even though we may be captivated by sin, we still have free will. How many victories can we chalk up before we fail? How much fun can we have learning how to improve?

  • We are human.
  • We are honored to be human.
  • We have the breath of life.
  • We are created in God’s image.
  • We are living souls, which means we do have the ability to walk between two kingdoms–Earth and Heaven.

The power we possess is in choosing. The gift we’ve been given is the breath of life. And we have a personal kinship with God.

So here is your salient moment:

Start acting more like your Father or be prepared to be a monkey’s uncle.

 

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Good News and Better News … December 25th, 2017

 Jonathots Daily Blog

(3539)

I went to church today.

There was no choir. There were no pews. There was no sermon. There was no invocation, except the squealing delight of children. There was no real benediction, but for the promises of those who had gathered to stay more in contact.

There was no threat of damnation, nor promise of streets of gold. There was so much contentment in being together that intimidation was unnecessary, and coercion, meaningless.

You see, I’m a father.

As a father, I do not evaluate my children by how much they adore me or praise my name. I determine the health of my children by how much they love each other–because it would be easy for them to despise their siblings so as to gain my favor, and perhaps, secure a sweeter inheritance.

So praising Daddy does not mean nearly as much as honoring one another.

In the church service this morning, there was respect for humanity. There was anticipation in the eyes of those who were giving, and a nervous jubilance twitching in the fingertips of those who were preparing to receive. An electricity filled the air that could only be adequately fueled by a perpetual flow of sweets and treats.

It was a worship of the Christ child–a salute to a simple birth, which simply ushered in the possibility of “peace on Earth, good will toward men.”

It was an intergenerational feast day of emotion and anticipation, culminating in the removal of all vexation, curses and grudges.

It was the kind of meeting of souls that causes the angels to sit back in awe, pricked in the heart with a bit of jealousy over not being human.

For we do everything best just as we do everything worst. We are God’s creation, who knows both the knowledge of good and the depths of evil.

Oh, but when we want to be good…we can be amazing.

We can bring tears to our Heavenly Father’s eyes when we tenderly take our human flesh and extend it from His mind and soul to reach into the hearts and lives of others.

Today I went to church. Some people would call it Christmas morning.

The good news is that Christmas morning is church.

The better news is, the more we take every church service and make it like Christmas morning, the more blessed the world would be.

 

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PoHymn: A Rustling in the Stagnant … November 22nd, 2017

 Jonathots Daily Blog

(3499)

 

We Gather

We gather with chatter

To make ourselves fatter

While tastin’ we bastin’

In dreams of a tender bird

Cornbread messing

Oyster dressing

With memories we cry

And celebrate with pie

The punch we are sipping

The gravy made from drippings

Butter up the bread

The table is now spread

Little ones crowd to see

Grandpa has to pee

Who will give the grace

Do it quick with praise

Our cake is angel food

The eggs, a bedeviled brood

The beans are green and onion clad

No one’s favorite scene

But still, all in all, not that bad

‘Taters are creamy

Desserts are dreamy

Coffee is hot

And always a lot

An embarrassing feast

Feeding the humble and least

We gather together

Being thankful for what matters

 

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