G-Poppers … July 28th, 2017

 Jonathots Daily Blog

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Jon close up

G-Pop was pretty sure what he wanted to share with his children this morning. As he climbed in his van to begin a ten-day tour to Tampa, which would include five presentations, G-Pop had pretty well sketched out what he saw as an aching need in our present human interactions: a return to concern. He was pretty pleased with what he was going to pen.

But he got about twelve miles down the road and his front passenger tire blew out. There was no personal injury or damage to the van other than one exploded tire.

Now, G-Pop and his traveling companion don’t carry a jack or spare with them, simply because neither one of them is capable of taking care of such a feat. So it was a hot, Southern-Florida morning, and he was stuck by the side of the road, waiting for a tow-truck and a willing technician to help out.

Things never work that way. Once your plans are edited by Mother Nature’s intervention, things never get easier–they just get different.

The blow-out happened at 9:00 A.M. and G-Pop was not on his way again until 1:10 P.M.

A lot of waiting.

A lot of heat.

A lot of chances to be discouraged, frustrated or to do that dastardly human thing of trying to find someone to blame.

Then it struck G-Pop. The article he had planned to write, though well-intentioned, was a discussion of human generosity in the abstract. In other words, “we could” or “we should.”

But it is one of those subjects that is easy to “Amen” but not so easy to amend. So instead, G-Pop is going to talk about concern, compassion and tenderness in the practical rather than the abstract.

Would you believe that four people stopped to see if they could help?

Would you believe a young man who has his own towing company had his car overheat on the way, but still made it there to change the tire?

Would you believe that G-Pop’s daughter-in-law brought out some drinks and a sandwich, asking if there was any other way she could help?

Would youi believe that G-Pop’s wife scurried around town, suddenly becoming a tire purchaser, for the good of the cause?

When it was all over, G-Pop realized there were so many people he got to meet that he never would have met had he not been stalled.

Maybe the whole problem in life is that we think we’re going to teach each other to be better humans. Actually, life just comes along and messes with us, giving us the chance to practice making gentler decisions from a position of deeper concern.

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Flat-Out Tired… March 13, 2013

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flat tireFinishing my morning writing session yesterday, having spoken to you about how problems are really doorways to new ideas, I came outside to discover that I had a flat tire on my van.

Candidly, a flat tire might just be the symbol for all representations of inconvenience. Some people would just reach in, grab their spare and change it. I admire those folks–the way I appreciate individuals who win the Decathlon in the Olympics.

It is not me. I am not lazy but my inability combined with my unwillingness can certainly resemble lethargy. But because I had just written to you about doorways, I realized that all this event really did was create a new scenario to some things which absolutely needed to be accomplished anyway.

I had known for two weeks that I should purchase new tires for the back of the van. I was putting it off as long as possible–in order to fulfill my ongoing reputation for a bit of procrastination. There was no more need to procrastinate.

So instead of becoming frustrated, I realized that my morning had changed. Fortunately for me, right next door to our lodging was a car repair shop. Unfortunately, the young manager who walked over to see if he could assist informed me that his business did not handle tires. But in the process of discovering this, he asked me to locate the jack, so I searched through the van, and lo and behold, in moving a few things around, came upon a twenty-dollar bill. Even in the midst of my harried pursuit, I felt a great burst of appreciation.

I tucked it in my pocket, not thinking any more about it, and when it became obvious that this fine gentleman was not going to be able to help me, I reached into my wallet and gave him five dollars for his time. He refused it but I insisted–and he took it and strolled away.

Talking with Jan, we decided it was a good idea to get our tire fixed and incorporate our other duties around the perimeter of the process. So she went back next door to see if that non-tire-repair shop could simply air up our tire, in order for us to drive someplace to get it fixed. Because we had been generous with the young man with the five dollars. two of his employees came over, got the van lifted up with their equipment, took off the old tire and put on our spare. We were grateful.

So I reached into my pocket and pulled out my magic twenty and gave it to them. We went down the road, got two new tires on the van which we needed anyway, and the whole excursion only cost five dollars and a bit of changing of our agenda.

I learned something–I shall call it the “Here Philosophy.”

Life comes along and says, “Here it is.” Honestly, most of us are stalled with just the vision of the situation set before us. If we would just understand that “here it will not change the situation, no matter how much we discuss it or avoid it, we could move to Step 2, which is:

“Here we are.” The essence of this maneuver is to understand that there’s nothing wrong with being dismayed, as long as in the midst of your lamentation, you are gathering your resources to resolve the dilemma. After we survive “Here it is” and we allow ourselves to discover “Here we are,” God arrives.

Here I am,” He says.

That’s right. If I had NOT been in the midst of trying to solve the problem of the flat tire, I would never have moved things around in the van and found the twenty-dollar blessing God had waiting for me. You see what I mean? “Here it is” leads to “Here we are” which leads God to be able to say, “Here I am.”

And once God is linked up with your efforts, you can smile, step out and say, “Here we go.” We are on an adventure instead of a death walk.

And it was. It was NOT a problem–it was a doorway. And once I came through the doorway, I enacted the “Here philosophy:”

  • Here it is: stop fighting it.
  • Here we are: start bringing it.
  • Here I am: thank you, God, for uncovering that twenty-dollar bill.
  • Here we go: we got the tires we needed in the first place.

And, by the way, we were very successful in achieving most of the other projects along the path.

Sometimes life is flat and our tires imitate. When it happens, put into practice the “Here philosophy” and understand that you will never get God to show up–until He’s convinced that you showed up.

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

What’s the Problem? … May 9, 2012

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 It never works. It just doesn’t. 

I know I’m not supposed to say “never” but sometimes, if you don’t use the word “never,” you will foolishly continue to pursue avenues that cause you to slide off the road and fall into the ditch of dopiness. 

What never works? You come upon a person, or even a group of people, who are disgruntled, and ask them the question, “What’s the problem?” 

No problem in life is ever solved from a position of superiority, fear or dissatisfaction. Somewhere along the line, we have to relent to the notion that our dreams are not fast-food from McDonald’s, where we roll up, place an order and pick it up in less than a hundred and twenty seconds. 

Life is not difficult—it’s just life. It contains rules and regulations, which are frequently changed—refreshed, if you will—just to make sure that the participants are paying attention. But people become disgruntled because they feel that somehow they’ve been “dissed” and they’d like to grunt at you about it. 

You see why I say it never works? Because life doesn’t “diss” anyone, and there is no one willing to listen to perpetual complaining from another human being. What we all admire are humans who suffer quietly while they actively plan their next adventure. Now, we don’t admire it enough to actually imitate it, but we do understand the power of such a profile. 

This is why politics doesn’t work. By the time politicians and law-makers get together to try to resolve a conflict, the public is so frustrated by the situation that every overture towards solution is dashed on the rocks of cynicism. And then it becomes more entertaining to complain than it does to refrain from the insane. Matter of fact, I will go so far as to say that much of the humor in our country is merely disgruntled grumbling, which the audience nervously laughs at because there seems to be no reprieve. 

What is the answer to the economy? I hear people in a disgruntled way articulating on the elements of the situation, but no one really takes a great stab in the dark at a possible plan of action.

We have the same problem in religion. I’ve listened to countless ministers lament that numbers are dwindling—but I hear no ideas. The original purveyor of our message, Jesus, didn’t seem to have much problem drawing people to himself. No one knew he was divine—they just liked him. Does the world like the church? Does the world like politicians? 

The problem is not that we have a problem, but instead, that we are beginning to address the problem after we’re already disgruntled about it. It stymies us. And, returning to my original theme—it never works.

So I’ve decided to contribute my little portion towards the formulation of a new attitude in our world. Here’s my contribution:  I’m going to keep from being disgruntled so that I can articulate my feelings more clearly about what I desire, pray my prayers with more intelligence, and be available to enact the next good idea without negativity. To do that, I have to realize four principles about this thing called life:

1. It’s not limited. Most of the time we feel like we’re in a box that’s closing in around us. The box is our finance, which we believe is continually dwindling. The box is our talent, which we contend was too small to begin with. The box is the amount of love we receive, which we fear is uncertain. Once you believe life is limited, you start rationing, withholding, cheating and even lying. It may be difficult to allow yourself to expand your thinking to the notion that there are resources yet uncovered which can benefit your soul, yet without that boost of energy you will become exhausted every time a problem dares to lift its ugly face to stare at you.

2. Life is not for us or against us. The best way to describe life is that it shows up in the morning at work, punches the clock, does its job and then goes home at the end of the day. It has one purpose—to keep things as even and level as possible, so that every human being has the potential for success and the opportunity for failure. Trouble ensued when you believe that God is for you and the devil is against you, or the Republicans or Democrats are for you and that other group over there is against you. There is no bogey man, just creaky floorboards and dark closets.

3. Life is not sympathetic. I have stood by the side of the road staring at a flat tire for at least five minutes, wondering why the depleted rubber circle that is now completely “smushed down” will not rise up and improve its situation and bless me. I could have checked my tires. That would have helped. I could have noticed that my tires were going bald. Ingenious. So my flat tire feels no sympathy towards me whatsoever, no matter how many times I kick it, curse it or glare at it. Mercy is given to the merciful. What does that mean? To be merciful to someone else means that you are aware that life is not sympathetic—and therefore, it is your job to be so. That sensibility invigorates your entire being. It helps you in your own life—to be aware of upcoming problems. Life is not sympathetic.

4. But finally, life is not impossible. Oh, we get grumpy and fussy and insist that no one has ever suffered such slings and arrows. Job just had bad acne; we’ve got real problems. We’re just a bunch of babies who can’t find our pacifiers. I learned a long time ago—nobody I owe money to wants to put me in jail. They just want payments. The thunderstorm is not out to destroy my plans—just water the earth. And evil is not meeting in a board room somewhere, plotting the demise of all that’s good. Rather, evil occasionally books a room for the night in my heart and tries to trash the location like some traveling rock band. Yes, I am my own worst enemy, because I always give up one idea short of God’s plan to save me.

Nothing is impossible. It just takes time—and a belief that we are not limited, nothing is for us or against us, but sympathy is not available—only opportunity.

So the next time you are tempted to ask, “What’s the problem?” understand that if someone is not asking you for assistance, they are probably not ready to receive it. Instead, they are in that no man’s land, where complaining sounds like righteous rhetoric.

We can do this. We can solve all the problems in this country as soon as some brave leadership steps forward and soothes the common mania that has transformed us into disgruntled gripers. Once we do that, we will gain the faith that we are not limited, life is not for us or against us, nor is it sympathetic, but always prepared to respond to those who believe that nothing is impossible. 

  

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

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