A Three-Headed Monster… May 15, 2014

Jonathots Daily Blog

(2233)

three-headedIt is different. There’s no doubt about it.

After seventeen years of traveling the United States with Janet, crisscrossing the nation many times, I can tell you, there is a new attitude in the air.

Perhaps it’s wrong for me to use the word “new.” That connotes something positive or transforming. Instead, the experience is a bit regressive, harkening to a time when we made our decisions through the dark cloud of caution instead of the bright sunshine of optimism.

It may be the reason that the majority of our populace refers to themselves as “conservative”–simply because there’s an underlying message in that proclamation which cries out: “Leave me alone.”

If it is possible for me to share this without you feeling that I’m critical, then you have a true understanding of my heart.

There’s a three-headed monster at work. If you don’t understand this monstrosity, you could become discouraged, or even jaded.

  • Hurt
  • suspicion
  • and apathy dictate the choices of those who are in power and even the souls of those who feel powerless.

And it does no good to ask them why they hurt, the cause of their suspicion or to attempt to stimulate them out of apathy. Because people feel hurt, they are suspicious of anything that comes along that might increase their pain, so they choose to do nothing, to protect themselves from further damage–thus apathy.

Both Janet and I have sat down and considered the fields set before us and have carefully chosen our approach.

The only successful approach to hurt is mercy.

Mercy is a magnificent virtue. It not only grants healing to the suffering in front of you, but gives permission to others, and even God, to be merciful to you.

In trying to broach suspicion, the only path that has any prudence is patience.

That’s why the Good Book says “in your patience you possess your soul.” No one in this country will be successfully overwhelmed, pushed, criticized or evangelized into a new awakening. It will take patience. And that requires that I find something I enjoy doing, keep pursuing better ways to do it and run on my own pleasure instead of a clock.

After you hurdle the hurt through mercy and broach the suspicion with patience, apathy will only be overcome by good cheer.

Yes, I believe we have a much better chance of laughing our way out of our misery than we ever will debating it or legislating it. I contend that discovering powerful reasons for being alive opens the door to problem-solving.

It is different. It requires that we minister to hurt, suspicion and apathy.

It will take merciful people who patiently are enjoying themselves and are not in a hurry for results … and bring along buckets and buckets of good cheer.

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Arizona morning

After an appearance earlier this year in Surprise, Arizona, Janet and I were blessed to receive a “surprise” ourselves. Click on the beautiful Arizona picture above to share it with us!

Click here to get info on the "Gospel According to Common Sense" Tour

Click here to get info on the “Gospel According to Common Sense” Tour

Please contact Jonathan’s agent, Jackie Barnett, at (615) 481-1474, for information about scheduling SpiriTed in 2014.

Click here to listen to Spirited music

Click here to listen to Spirited music

 

 

The Third Story… August 30, 2013

Jonathots Daily Blog

(1991)

Story One

constructionI was driving along in Grand Rapids in my 1997 Toyota Tercel, late to pick up my wife from her shift at the Meijer Grocery Store. As often happens when one is running late, I looked ahead and they had closed off one lane, the road diminishing to one passageway, with traffic backing up. The last thing I needed was to be late again. Last week I had arrived tardy to pick up my lady, and she told me how frustrating it was to sit at the picnic table outside the store waiting for my arrival after a long shift, with her friends asking her if everything was okay. I did not want to be a jerk again.

As I neared the closing of the lane, I looked up and suddenly a big, black van pulled out in front of me, causing me to slow up my progress. I even had to brake. The person in the van needed to realize that his vehicle required more clearance, so I pulled into the next lane, even though I had only 100 feet before it closed. He speeded up so I was side by side with him, and I had to cut him off because he wouldn’t let me take my place.

When the road widened about two lights later, the driver in the big, black van–a  fat, bald guy–wouldn’t even look over at me, apologize or acknowledge his mistake. It really pissed me off.

I arrived five minutes late and explained to my wife that I had been delayed by a stupid dude with Florida tags who thought he owned the road.

Story Two

Stopping in to pick up some groceries at Aldi, Janet and I were heading out of the parking lot towards our headquarters and home when I noticed there was a sufficient space to pull onto the road in front of a Toyota Tercel. I realized that he might have to slow up a bit for my entrance, considering how large the van is, but thought he might not mind since the second lane was closing, and all traffic was having to adjust accordingly.

I acquired my place in the flow of traffic and was surprised to notice that the Toyota had come up beside me, even though there was no remaining lane. I didn’t know whether to slow down to let him in, or speed up to try to get him to go behind me. Because I delayed my decision, when the lane closed he swerved in front of me, barely missing my front bumper. I slid off the berm to miss him.

When I arrived, two lights later, past the construction, and was about to turn, I saw that he had pulled up next to me. Not wanting any confrontation with a local, I looked straight ahead and turned right.

I didn’t give it much more thought–but it did seem a little bizarre.

Story Three

When a big, black van is about to enter a flow of traffic that is closing down to one lane, the driver needs to know that like it or not, he probably should make eye contact with the next car to see if it will let him in. Whether he sees a space is  immaterial. And local people driving Toyota Tercels should realize they represent their community and offer a little graciousness, even if it means they might be forty-two seconds later to pick up their wife at work.

Evaluating your own character by choosing one minute of convenience over mercy is not necessarily a very good trade-off. And pulling a very large van out in front of a Toyota Tercel whose driver had not motioned to give permission for such an adventure is certainly failing to recognize the right of passage.

You see, this is life. As long as we have our own story and those who confront us have their story, and no one discovers the third story, we are constantly at each other’s throats, believing the worst.

May I learn and know … we just can’t afford the unnecessary conflict.

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

Please contact Jonathan’s agent, Jackie Barnett, at (615) 481-1474, for information about personal appearances or scheduling an event

He’s All Right … July 16, 2013

Jonathots Daily Blog

(1945)

richardRichard is dead.

For six years he has lain low in a grave, in a town not his home or even his casual acquaintance, purchased by a younger brother who selected the plot based upon a reasonable fare.

I have not thought much about him.

Alive, he was my friend–perhaps more honestly presented, I was his friend. He was a man without family, sporting a hair-do that would have been popular during the 1950’s, a bit cranky, with a tender heart which had crusted over through the years, leaving him occasionally willing but more often than not, at the wrong times.

So when he suddenly, inexplicably and nearly intrusively appeared in my dreams last night, I was a bit alarmed. But as I allowed myself to participate in what truly could have been more an apparition or night vision than a simple sleepy-time mirage, I found myself completely engorged in the emotion and revelation of the idea.

It was Richard but it was NOT Richard. He was younger, stronger. The ashen, pale-yellow pallor of his skin was replaced with a bronzed, glowing countenance. Although he still sported his pompadour, it was golden, well-kempt and seemingly free of the need of intrusive creams and sprays.

He was happy.

Perhaps that was the greatest shock of all. I never really saw Richard happy. God knows he tried. He even developed an impersonation of the emotion.

But this was different. He was aglow. He was excited. He was bubbling over with new ideas.

He was running across the top of a high building, breathlessly explaining to me that he believed the concert “needed to be held up here, and required tons and tons of sound and lights.”

He was sharing his ideas with such energy–when I noticed there were actual biceps in his arms instead of dangling flesh, barely disguising skeletal confines.

I looked over, and suddenly, standing next to me, was my friend, Janet. She had ambled up during my focus on the dazzling sight before me. She kept looking at me instead of at the top of the building and our cavorting comrade.

And then suddenly Richard did something completely out of his well-known human character. He pulled money from his pants and held it out to me, explaining that I would need lots of money–an abundance of money–to pull this concert off.

I motioned to Janet to take the money from him and she looked at me, perplexed, but still reached up, and when she pulled her hand down, all that was in it was a receipt for the meal we had just enjoyed.

“Here,” she said, handing it to me. “We should keep this for tax time.”

I was a bit aggravated that she was unable to see our resurrected buddy, who had obviously gone through a transformation beyond all earthly comprehension.

As I turned back to look at him, suddenly he was not more than four inches from my face–and he had translated himself into a litte four-year-old Chicano toddler. Rather than being startled, I found myself giggling. Before I could ask him what had happened, he spoke in a child’s tenor.

“We are all children here.”

I trembled.

I turned and ran away, hid in a room. I was followed by the memory of my young son, Jerrod, circa eight years old. He wanted me to play with him but I was too traumatized by my vision.

“Give Daddy a moment,” I said. “Just give me a moment.”

I closed the door and wept. No, I mean I really cried. And I realized that I had never mourned my friend on his passing. Too many details. Too much pain. And too much disappointment over the seeming meaninglessness of his journey.

But now I cried and I cried.

All at once, he was standing in the room next to me and he placed his hand on my shoulder, although I never felt it, and he simply said, “I’m all right.”

I awakened with tears in my eyes.

I don’t know why I had this visitation. Maybe wherever he is, he had graduated from one status to another and I was invited to the celebration. Maybe I just needed to feel something about his life since I was so vacant of emotion during his death.

Or maybe it’s a message that is important to me and to all of us: He’s all right.

And you know what?

Bless the Lord above:  we’re gonna be all right.

 

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

Please contact Jonathan’s agent, Jackie Barnett, at (615) 481-1474, for information about personal appearances or scheduling an event

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