Not Long Tales … October 22nd, 2019

Jonathots Daily Blog

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11.

Tuesday’s Toodle

After thirty-five years of “workin’ on the railroad all the livelong day,” Gerald McCallister retired to a tiny, two-bedroom home with purple shutters, a mile-and-a-half outside the little village of Coreyville, Georgia. He was a single man with no children and no relatives who seemed to recall the “tie that binds.”

After months of going through the desperation of trying to find a purpose for his life, he was nearly on his last breath of despair. It was especially difficult late at night, when he found himself tumbling into the deep-dark caverns of depression, dwelling with deep consideration on his demise, even the taking of his own life. In those agonizing junctures of dismay, it seemed logical to leave instead of continuing the absurdity of repetition.

But each morning the sunlight offered such a cheery outlook that he sat down at a small wooden table he had made for himself years before and relished his cup of coffee and a plateful of sliced corn-meal mush he had fried to a crisp and drizzled with maple syrup.

But it was a to-and-fro that certainly could not continue. The agony of the nighttime was consuming the hope of the new day.

Finally one night his heart was overthrown by anguish, and he made a promise to all the blackened room around him. He believed it to be a prayer, though he was not sure it had the power to ascend. “If anyone is listening,” he said, “please hear. I cannot pretend anymore. I will not fake my life. I will continue to faithfully chase the weeks and months if you will do three things. Yes — just three things. Every day I will make a simple list of people, happenings or events that I wish to see, and during my walk to town, my journey through the village, my lunch at the diner, and my return to my home, if I see those three things, I promise to you — or to anyone who’s listening — that I will not grab my hunting rifle and climb into the bathtub, tuck it under my chin, pull the trigger and blow my brains into the face of God.”

Strangely enough, this petition gave strength to Gerald’s heart, for the next morning he had a true purpose — to pick his three things. He decided to call it his “Toodle List” — short for “To Do Today.”

Gerald McCallister was not insane nor was he in search of miracles. Just connection. He was never going to place anything miraculous or outlandish on his list — nothing beyond the spectrum of what was available in his community. Just three insignificant little jobs. He figured it was one task for the Father, one for the Son and one for the Holy Ghost.

The list he made on the first morning was a request for a squirrel running by his feet, a bird singing in a tree and hearing the sound of an automobile’s honking horn. Sure enough — during the four-and-a-half hours of walking to Coreyville and back, all three were provided. This went on for weeks.

Gerald decided to do his Toodle list every day except Sunday. On Sunday he made the walk into town to attend the Glory Land Church of God in Christ. It was a black church, and Gerald was white — what you might call “china white.” He didn’t care. He loved the music, he loved the spirit, and even liked it a little bit that they stared at him, wondering why he didn’t go to the Baptist Church down the street, that was of a lighter hue.

But more than anything else, Gerald loved it when the black folks got to prayin’ and would suddenly slip out of their native tongue, into a language he didn’t understand, which he was told by the pastor was “heaven speak.”

Reverend Kepling, the minister of the congregation, told Gerald, “It’s when you get so close to God that your tongue goes heavenly and your talkin’ to just Him and nobody else.”

Gerald thought about how marvelous that sounded. He, himself, had no such dialect. But he sure loved to listen to them chat away.

There was one other white man who came to the church occasionally, but he usually showed up for the choir concerts, to tap his foot awhile to the Gospel tunes. He didn’t know about the supernal speaking that went on, from the Earthly angels.

Yet even though Gerald attended the church, he never got close to anyone, only having lunch at the Coreyville diner once a month with the pastor — more or less because they would always eventually run into each other. During one of those luncheons, Gerald worked up the courage to tell the young cleric about the deal he had made in the dark room. He was about halfway through his explanation — in the middle of describing the requests he made daily of God — when the young minister interrupted, horrified. “Thou shalt not tempt the Lord thy God!” he objected.

Gerald sat and stared at him, not certain of the meaning, but figured it was time to cease being transparent.

More time passed.

There was also an older woman at the church who expressed some fondness for Gerald, but when he finally worked up the courage to approach her about continuing their friendship outside the churchyard, she shook her head. She explained to him, “I likes you an’ all, but we lives in Coreyville, Georgia. And here I’m not a woman and you a man. Here, I’m black — and you white.”

Gerald looked at her, perplexed, but deep in his heart he knew what she was talking about, and unfortunately, he had to agree that she was probably right.

But this disappointment further fed the demon that kept trying to drag Gerald McCallister to the gates of hell. But once again, every morning came with light.

Most of the time, the Toodle list he made was so simple that the Father, Son and Holy Ghost seemed to have no problem completing their tasks. Every once in a while, the third one would be slow coming. Gerald figured that was just the Holy Ghost being new to the job.

For instance, one day Gerald asked, on his Toodle list, to see a rainbow. He thought it was plenty fair, because rain was in the forecast, but lo and behold, the weatherman was wrong. The day was brilliant and beautiful. So Gerald was on his way to leave town, a bit forlorn, wondering if he would have to follow through on his promise. All at once, he passed by the town fountain, spraying water into the air. The sun — the mighty sun in the sky — hit it just right, and suddenly there was a rainbow all around him.

Gerald felt like shouting hallelujah. He thought if he got started with it, he might even find his heavenly tongue, like the folks at the church. But looking around, he saw some children walking by. So he contained himself and instead sprouted the largest smile his face had ever known.

Today, for Tuesday’s Toodle, he had requested to see someone helping out another who was having car trouble. Secondly, he wanted the town grocer to say hello to him (which had only happened a half a dozen times over the months.) And finally, he wanted to catch a glimpse of a soul giving a donation to the homeless veteran who sat outside the hardware store. Everyone called him Sergeant Jack.

Well, the first two came quickly — so quickly that Gerald was nearly as excited as he’d been on Rainbow Thursday weeks before. But the third one — well, the third one became problematic.

Unbeknownst to Sergeant Jack, Gerald sat twenty paces away, watching for nearly two hours, as people stepped over and around the veteran, but no one gave the old soldier a single dime.

Gerald was astonished. Normally, Sergeant Jack was beloved and appreciated. Why were people ignoring him today? Was it a sign from God? Was God punching Gerald’s ticket, ready to take him home?

After three long hours, with tears in his eyes, Gerald stood to his feet and trudged his way home.

Upon arriving, he took off his shirt, removed his walking boots, grabbed his rifle and climbed into the bathtub, sinking himself deep into the tub, ensuring that most of the blood and brain matter would land inside instead of destroying the walls. He tucked his gun underneath his chin and he gently reached down to finger the trigger. He was careful not to pull it too soon — not until he was certain that the time was right.

He had one thought in his mind: A deal is a deal. He had never welched on a bet and he’d always tried to honor his promises. He could not understand why after all these months, the Father and Son delivered but the Holy Ghost was ignoring him.

Do I really want to live, he thought to himself, in a world where Sergeant Jack is ignored?

His confidence to pull the trigger was building with each moment as he realized that the only thing he had left was his integrity. After all, without it, his Toodle was just a game he played with himself, which made him not only a fool but a liar.

It was time to put up and forever shut up. He fingered the trigger, testing to see how much pressure it would take to pull it.

Suddenly there was a knock at the door. The knock was so surprising that Gerald nearly pulled the trigger accidentally. He remained quiet, waiting for the stranger to go away, but the knock came again, getting louder. It was followed by a voice — a familiar one. Reverend Kepling. He shouted, “Gerald! Gerald! Mr. McCallister! Gerald McCallister!”

He kept shouting, over and over again. Gerald was stymied. He didn’t know what to do. But he knew for a fact that he didn’t want this young man to discover him, headless. It could ruin his life and scare him away from the ministry.

So holding his finger on the trigger, letting up on some of the tension to so as not to complete the deed, he called out, as loudly as he could speak with a gun held under his chin, “In here!”

In the flash of a moment, the Reverend entered the bathroom and saw Gerald sitting there with a gun to his head. Trying desperately to maintain his calm through gulping gobs of dry throat, he said slowly, “What are you doing, Gerald?”

Gerald suddenly remembered that he had told the minister about his Toodle list, so earnestly — as rationally as he could — he explained that today’s list had gone unfulfilled. Unfortunately, Reverend Kepling did not remember quite as well. “What do you mean, unfulfilled?” he asked.

Frustrated, Gerald shifted his hands on the gun and replied, “It’s neither here nor there. I asked God to do something simple and told Him if He couldn’t, I would know that it was my Judgment Day.”

Suddenly, as if struck by the memory of an angel, the minister spoke up. “Oh, I know what you’re talking about! Wait, wait. What is it God didn’t do?”

“It wasn’t God,” answered Gerald. “It was Slow Joe, the Holy Ghost.”

Kepling nodded his head as if comprehending.

Gerald continued. “I had three things on my Toodle list today — you know that. The first two came quickly and easily. But the third one never showed.”

Kepling, grasping for inspiration, inquired, “Well, what was it, Gerald? What did the Holy Spirit fail to do?”

Exasperated, Gerald responded, “The Holy Ghost — well, the Holy Ghost was supposed to show me the sight of Sergeant Jack being blessed by a donation from one of the townsfolk.”

The pastor shook his head. Gerald, frustrated, replied, “Well, goddamn it, it didn’t happen.”

With this, Gerald motioned toward the trigger again. The minister rose to the occasion. “Listen. Listen, Gerald,” he said. “My brother, my brother — you got it all wrong. This was your fault.”

This surprised Gerald so much that he removed his hand from the trigger, taking his finger and pointing at himself. “Me?” he asked. “How was it my fault?”

Reverend Kepling burst into laughter. “Don’t you see? God can’t take your job and make it somebody else’s business. You were the one that came up with the idea to give a donation to Sergeant Jack. Not even the Holy Ghost can give your job to someone else.”

“What are you saying?” Gerald asked, confused.

Kepling inched his way over to sit on the edge of the bathtub. “I’m saying, Brother McCallister, that when you bring up being kindly to one of the lost souls of God, He is expecting you to have the good sense to know that you’re the one to do it, not someone else.”

Suddenly Gerald had a burst of understanding. His faith had been tested. The problem was, he was asking somebody else to do his business for him.

No wonder.

God was sittin’ there, right next to him, watching to see if Sergeant Jack would get a donation. But not from a stranger. No. From Mr. Gerald McCallister.

Suddenly in tears, Gerald slowly disengaged himself from his rifle, set it on the floor outside the bathtub, and climbed out. Crying like a baby, he pleaded, “I’ve gotta go to town, Preacher. I didn’t do my part. And I’m so tired. I’m so tired.”

Reverend Kepling supported Gerald as they walked out of the bathroom, clear from the present danger. “Brother McCallister,” he said, “it would be my honor to drive you into town in my car, so you can fulfill your third Toodle.”

Gerald stopped and gave the young fellow a hug. “Thank you, Preacher Man.”

They made their way into the car, drove into town, and found Sergeant Jack, who was about to head to the woods outside town to settle in for the night. They took him to dinner at the local diner and talked about things that none of the three men ever knew about each other.

 

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PoHymn: A Rustling in the Stagnant … June 7th, 2017

 Jonathots Daily Blog

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See Me Stop

Don’t tell me I’m livin’

When everything is dyin’

Don’t ask me to be givin’

To a system that’s lyin’

SEE ME STOP!

RIGHT IN THE MIDDLE OF THE ROAD!

How can you believe

If you never receive?

When will you release

And allow for some peace?

HALT THE FLOW!

BEFORE WE GO!

If God is good

And hell is hell

Why isn’t anyone

Doing well?

SLAM ON THE BRAKES!

IDENTIFY THE FLAKES!

Give me a shot of real

A bit of something to feel

A reason to bow and kneel

OR LEAVE ME THE HELL ALONE!

I want to be happy

I don’t think that’s sappy

Tired of feelin’ crappy

STAND UP! STOP CRAWLING!

I believe in Jesonian

Give me ideas

SCREW THE GUN!

Just you, then me

To find an identity

And then we’ll see

“What will be will be”

Becomes “we did it.”Donate ButtonThe producers of jonathots would humbly request a yearly subscription donation of $10 for this inspirational opportunity


 

 

 

 

 

Jesonian: Reasonable (Part 14) Living … March 6th, 2016

 Jonathots Daily Blog

(2865)

Jesonian hands

She had found her place.

She was satisfied.

She had substance and purpose.

Then, all at once, life, which had promised only good, interrupted with pain.

She was bleeding–not excessively. Just continually. Everything that was once pure became tainted by the introduction of this new evil.

Her sense of solvency was challenged. Now her money had only one purpose:

“Heal me. Stop the bleeding. Give me back my life as I knew it.”

A change was necessary. She went from having a life to needing to live.

For to live is finding a way to continue your life when it threatens to depart.

  • She sought cures.
  • She studied.
  • She examined.
  • She trolled for possibilities.

Expensive.

For twelve years, she struggled to find a treatment while simultaneously growing weaker as her affliction drained away the essence of her will and her finance.

Life had turned on her. Unfortunately, her passion and efforts to live also failed.

She remained sick as the doctors got rich.

She found herself languishing in poor health.

Her instinct to live left her bankrupt and teetering on death.

What now?

What do you do when life turns sour, and efforts to live are foiled?

There is one choice that remains: move towards living.

Go where there is still the energy of loving and pursuing. Escape away to any living possibility.

Because living is endurance. It is deciding to add joy to the process so as not to grow weary in such well-doing. She decides to leave nothing untried.

She hears about a “giver of life.” The rumors are mixed. Some deem this miracle man to be a savior, while others insist he is the son of hell.

But living is not a guarantee–rather, a desire to continue in hope.

So she makes a plan.

Planning makes her feel better–it helps her to realize that she still has some control.

She will touch the hem of this healer’s garment, with the anticipation that mere proximity to his virtue will grant her a cleansing from all sickness.

Her idea is childlike.

Her organization, tenuous.

But her faith, willingness and joy–persistent.

She pulls her plan off–and amazingly, it works.

She is whole.

She is free to go back to life, or to return to her city to live. But it seems ridiculous to merely pass time when living is available.

So she curls up in prayer, thanks God for His intervention, and allows herself … to be born again.

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380… April 8, 2012

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The story is related that 500 people saw Jesus as a raised being after his death. That’s a lot of folks. But less than three months later, 120 remained in an upper room, waiting to be filled with the Holy Spirit. Somewhere along the line, 380 of the eye witnesses to the risen Christ, chose to abandon the cause.

76% of the audience who viewed the show panned the performance.

Now, you and I would proclaim for a certainty that if we actually viewed such a miracle, our consecration would be lifelong. But if you follow those statistics, three out of four of us who actually experienced a resurrection, would, within ninety days, return to our normal lives. It isn’t something to be ashamed of; it isn’t something to lament. But it is well worth a quick study on this Easter morning–to understand what price we pay for believing and what toll can be imparted for ignoring. Let’s look at the reason that 76% of the people returned to their average lives after viewing the experience of the resurrection:

1. Seeing is NOT believing. We think if we can see things for ourselves it will completely transform our belief system and make us more faithful. Yet if you sit at a dinner table with twenty guests and bring up an extraordinary circumstance in your life that can only be explained in the realm of the miraculous, every person at the table will have a similar encounter. They will become wide-eyed with wonder as they share it with you, maybe even flirting with tears. They, too, have seen God. I do not know anyone–even atheists or agnostics–who have not had some supernatural event in their lives. Our disbelief is not based upon an absence of God‘s intervention, but rather, a peculiar categorizing that we all do with such phenomenon. Sometimes we explain it away as chance. Often we refer to it as a fluke. But the more prevalent explanation is that the intervention of a Divine Nature was granted to us so that we could continue to be mediocre. Belief is not achieved by seeing. Belief is accomplished by seeing, acquiring and continuing to put it into practice–test-marketing the idea every day. Which leads to:

2. Believing is NOT living. If believing were living, then the billions of Christians across the world would have certainly promoted the idea of the Golden Rule to the extent that at least in part there would be some waning in wars and lessening of bigotry. Believing is much like wedding vows–something we dress up for on one occasion, say fervently with tears in our eyes, but quickly forget in the midst of the next turmoil and argument. Just as seeing is not believing, believing is not living. Living is an entirely different matter.

3. Living is NOT changing. Most people have two rules for living: (a) “If you want to be my friend, don’t tell me I’m wrong too often;” and (b) “don’t ask me to do anything that wasn’t first my idea.” As you can see, just the pressures that come through Mother Nature continually defies that two-pronged philosophy. The natural order just doesn’t care about your feelings. It continues to promote the ideas of “seed time and harvest” and will be more than happy to let you know that what you sow you will also reap. Just as believing does not translate into living, living does not become a means for creating change. Otherwise our old folks, who have had so much experience, would be genteel, patient, expansive, open-minded and forgiving instead of overly sensitive, critical, worried and frustrated. Living does not create an environment for change. Case in point–there were 380 people who decided to walk away from the resurrection–a one-time occurrence not worthy of their faithfulness–and today we have nearly 380 denominations in Christendom alone. Amazing–one denomination for each excuse available to those who chose to forget the power of Easter. Yes, you do not have to change your life. When you run across a situation where it appears you are in danger of such a necessity, you can just change your denomination. Living is not changing.

4. And finally, changing is NOT human. The secret of the resurrection is that it demands supernatural, cosmic, Godly intervention into a human life that finally surrenders to its own death. It is impossible for human beings to change unless they are able to access the button inside them that is the image of God. Without this, we make excuses, we rationalize and we twist the truth to match our lie.

What is the importance of Easter Sunday? To let the 24% in our world–the ones who actually have discovered their own death–have a chance to access Holy Ghost power in order to resurrect from their culture, apprehension and inadequacies, to new life.

And here is the true miracle: 24% is enough.The principle of resurrection is so undeniable that if only one out of four people partake in it we can change the world. Because the other 76% are geared to follow the norm of the day; so if the 24% can alter that state, the 76% will come along for the ride.

500 people saw Jesus after his death–but only 120 of them allowed themselves to be resurrected.

They took seeing into believing, and they allowed a belief system to become their new lifestyle–and on a good day that lifestyle generated the desire for change. They superseded mere human frailty by touching their own “divine” and allowing the change to manifest resurrection.

Who are you today? Forget that. Who am I? I’m not sure.

All I know is that my tomb feels a bit cramped.

**************

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Sitting One

 I died today. 

I didn’t expect it to happen.  Then again, I did—well, not really.

No, I certainly didn’t expect it.

I’ve had moments of clarity in my life.  Amazingly enough, many of them were in the midst of a dream. For a brief second I would know the meaning of life or the missing treatment to cure cancer.  And then as quickly as it popped into my mind it was gone. I really don’t recollect dying.  Just this unbelievable sense of clear headedness—like walking into a room newly painted and knowing by the odor and brightness that the color on the wall is so splattering new that you should be careful not to touch it for fear of smearing the design. The greatest revelation of all? 

Twenty-five miles in the sky time ceases to exist.

The planet Pluto takes two hundred and forty-eight years to circle the sun. It doesn’t give a damn. 

The day of my death was the day I became free of the only burden I really ever had.  TIME.

Useless.

Time is fussy.  Time is worry. 

Time is fear.  Time is the culprit causing human-types to recoil from pending generosity. 

There just was never enough time. 

Time would not allow it.  Remember—“if time permits …”

Why if time permits?  Why not if I permit?  Why not if I dream?  Why not if I want?  Why does time get to dictate to me my passage? 

It was time that robbed me of my soulful nature.    It was time that convinced me that my selfishness was needed. 

I didn’t die. The clock in me died, leaving spirit to tick on.  

So why don’t we see the farce of time?  Why do we allow ourselves to fall under the power of the cruel despot?  Yes, time is a relentless master—very little wage for much demand.

I died today. 

Actually … a piece of time named after me was cast away.

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