G-Poppers … May 19th, 2017

 

 Jonathots Daily Blog

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Jon close up

G-Pop was thinking about irritation.

It’s that fussy itch that if you scratch it, burns and stings and threatens infection.

It’s knowing that something upsets you, but you feel compelled for some reason or another, to put up with it anyway.

It is the pin that pops the balloon, the rain on the parade and the dread that makes us feel dead.

G-Pop is well aware that irritation occurs among those we seem to love the most. We have learned to tolerate certain behavior without really having any toleration. We’re always frustrated, but we sigh in despair, believing there’s no way of escape.

G-Pop points out that once you discover something that irritates you, your first plan of action should be to create distance.

Since you don’t have any power to change people, nor has God granted you the ability to alter the cosmos, it’s a good idea to wear roller skates and always be prepared to cruise down the sidewalk.

The supreme definition of arrogance is, “I believe that this time I can change what I didn’t last time.”

Verily, verily, G-Pop says unto you, irritation requires a speedy exit.

Irritation also demands that we develop a sense of humor, and if we find ourselves in the middle of that which irritates us, to entertain our aggravated spirit with a joking giddiness.

And finally, look for the open door.

If our irritation is at our job, then we should pray for an open door–to either leave or be promoted to a position to control the environment. This is our salvation.

Don’t allow yourself to believe that you can be irritated and maintain integrity. Living with irritation is like lighting damp sticks of dynamite, believing that none of them will ever blow up.

One just may, and when it does, remember–you’re holding it.

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Jesonian: Reasonable (Part 18) Wounded … April 3rd, 2016

 Jonathots Daily Blog

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Jesonian hands

He asked me if he could have a moment of my time.

We went into his office, shut the door and he sat down in his over-stuffed leather chair behind his huge mahogany desk. With a gentle, understanding tone, he said, “I’m just concerned that you’re ministering from a wounded place.”

I gathered from his approach and facial expression that he thought doing so was a mistake.

I replied, “Yes, I am. I wouldn’t trust any ministry that wasn’t.”

Jesus was the greatest minister of all time.

He was also very wounded.

Long before they hammered nails into his hands and feet, he was born of a virgin, considered a bastard, chased out of Bethlehem, exiled in Egypt, rejected by his home town, denied by his family, criticized, mocked, marginalized, cast out, called a sinner, a drunkard, a glutton and even proclaimed to be Satan.

These things hurt.

The truth of the matter is, none of us are worth a damn to be healers until we’ve survived the wounds.

For lacking the experience of transformation, we have a tendency to be impatient with those who have difficulty getting over the pain.

Life is not about whether you’ll be wounded or not.

You will be.

It’s about what you do next.

And the first thing you should do after being wounded is bleed.

Not a lot. You don’t want to pour out all of your life flow and confidence–just enough to dispel infection. Then stop the bleeding, cease the self-pity and clean the wound.

Take what you know to be true–memories of how you’ve been blessed–and tenderly use all of these affirmations to expel the dangerous rot that would attempt to infest you.

Bandage it.

Your healing process is nobody else’s business. It could be ugly. Other folks do not need to see your scabs. Take a private moment to heal–and then, when you’re all done, remove the bandages and proudly display your scar.

A scar tells everybody that you’ve been through the battle but you’ve endured the wounds and are coming out on the other side, healed.

No human being can escape the wounds.

Jesus didn’t.

But we become reasonable to one another when we allow the healing process to move forward, while simultaneously offering to others exactly what Jesus said to Thomas:

“Come see my scars.”

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Good News and Better News … January 11th. 2016

Jonathots Daily Blog

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Good New Better News Toe

Pictured is the big toe on my right foot.

No air-brushing, make-up, special effects or plastic surgery were involved in the presentation of this shot. (I did take the precaution of slathering the big fellow with lotion to counteract some dryness.)

I was born with two big toes–one on my right foot and one on my left. In the course of the journey, I lost the one on my left foot due to an infection.

I must be candid and tell you that I’ve always taken my big toes for granted. But when I was recovering from the amputation, I discovered that the big toe performs an important function: it gives us balance. It allows us to have a swagger–a smoothness to our gait as we walk and run.

I did not need to relearn walking, but I did notice a difference, and occasionally had to catch myself from falling because I assumed that the “Great One” was still in position on my left foot.

So I realized that as the big toe functions, so follows the foot.

  • A nice foot is beneficial to an ankle.
  • A solid ankle supports a busy leg.
  • A busy leg gives purpose to a torso.
  • A torso is a great resting place for a head containing the brain, which barks orders to all of the members.

Now, popular thinking would be to give special attention to the brain because it is the more advertised authority figure. But having lost my left big toe, I will tell you–if you can get your big toe to react properly and stay healthy, since it is the furthest point from the brain, you can pretty well guarantee that everything in between is jim-dandy.

Yes, a healthy big toe bodes well for the entire human apparatus.

As you can see, looking at mine, it’s a little dry and the toenail is crusty and could use the benefits of a pedicure.

That’s the good news.

Here’s the better news: the same information transfers to our society. While we spend so much time trying to change the minds of people in the world around us or force our ideology in their direction, we would do much better to focus on the big toe of our faith, belief and lifestyle.

There’s too much religion, too much theology, too much politics, and too much knowledge with no learning going on for the good of the common man–and of course, the common woman.

So what is our emotional big toe?

What is our spiritual big toe?

What is the big toe of our mental process, which assures us that our thinking is heading in the right direction instead of being deterred by selfishness and greed?

I think any time we walk away from the Golden Rule, “love thy neighbor as thyself,” we are completely out of balance and capable of falling.

And even in the case of the Golden Rule, there are days we don’t love ourselves enough to give others adequate affection.

Yes, there are times that I stub my toe, and it hurts so much that I don’t want to walk on it, nor be around people and have to explain my limping.

Part of the Golden Rule is knowing that when we feel good about ourselves, it is the best time to bestow the same blessing on others. And when we feel like crap, we should lock ourselves away and rejuvenate before forcing our misgivings on our brothers and sisters.

I guess it’s safe to say that life is about being on your toes and getting a foothold.

There’s truth to that.

So having only one big toe, I watch it carefully because it lets me know what’s going on in the rest of my body–and also, to a certain degree, the stability of my brain.

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Dirty Bowl… January 28, 2012

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From Miami, Florida

I had a hankerin’ for some oatmeal. (I don’t normally say “hankerin’,” but since it’s an election year I thought I’d follow the leading of the political candidates and try to “rural up” my language.)
 
As I was saying, I wanted some oatmeal. I don’t buy my oatmeal in those round containers with the picture of the austere Quaker, with a bit of a grimace on his face. I get the pre-packaged kind, usually in flavors, so I can just pour it into a bowl, add some hot water, and let the magic begin. So I did just that. I grabbed a bowl, poured my package into it, dumped in water, stirred it up and started to eat. It was delicious. I was more than halfway through my delicacy when I noticed there was something black at the bottom of the bowl. So I pushed the remaining oatmeal to the side and discovered a huge dirty spot.
 
It was a little disgusting. I’m not prissy, but eating out of a dirty bowl isn’t my idea of macho fare. So I dumped out my oatmeal and discovered the black splotch, stuck it under the faucet and tried to clean it. I was strangely relieved to discover that it wouldn’t dislodge itself and actually was not able to be scrubbed away. It was a permanent blotch. Matter of fact, you couldn’t even refer to it as a dirty bowl anymore. Perhaps you could call it stained. Scorched. Burnt. Discolored. Marred.
 
But I was no longer ill at ease, thinking I was consuming some sort of bacteria experiment from the depths of my oatmeal. I no longer felt like the guy who, having eaten half of his apple, suddenly discovers a half-eaten worm. Or like that one time when I reached in a package of luncheon meat and pulled out a slice that had green around the edges, foretelling of mold. (Unfortunately, I had already consumed two previous slices from the same package.)
 
No, this was different. This was a bowl which, in the process of doing bowl-like activities, had encountered some injury. My bowl was wounded. Its particular infection was not contagious, but rather, a lasting reminder of a poorly chosen activity. It was an amazing transition. I was happy that I could finish the remainder of my oatmeal without too much intimidation (though I was a little squeamish). There was really only one task that remained. Well, not really a task. More a decision.
 
Do I take my marred, discolored, stained, burnt, scorched bowl and throw it away–or keep it? I probably don’t want to eat oatmeal out of it again, but I could put a paper towel in the bottom and serve some grapes or potato chips. It is still able to encircle a food product, holding it in one place. It has not outlasted its complete usefulness. Honestly, it was too much for me to think about, having merely consumed a bowl of oatmeal. So I put it on the shelf, where it remains today.
 
I did not cast it away. I did not reject it. I did not try to make it totally clean by bleaching it and utilizing every cleanser known to man. I realized that sometimes, if you’re a bowl, and you’re in the midst of action of the kitchen sort, you just might get damaged. And if you were able to speak, you certainly would desire mercy.
 
Now, I know this is a little too much thought to give to the rights and privileges of a cheaply manufactured plastic unit. But still, it’s just nice to know that the bowl wasn’t dirty. 
 
Just … well-traveled.

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Jonathan wrote the gospel/blues anthem, Spent This Time, in 1985, in Guaymas, Mexico. Take a listen:

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