Things I Learned from R. B. (July 5th, 2020)

Jonathots Daily Blog

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Episode 22

And then we got rich.

My wife’s mother passed away, leaving behind a sizeable inheritance that mingled with Grandma’s money—protected through years of a widow’s frugal living.

The number hung high in the six figures.

Now, before this bonanza, we didn’t feel poor. We were solvent, with plenty left over for charitable adventures. But after all the assets were counted, the sudden influx of finance was dazzling.

I quickly learned that money will not hang around unless it’s treated well. It doesn’t want you to continue to rent a small house in Old Hickory but thinks that you—and it—should have a house of your own, suitable to your status.

I spent too much time sitting around with my family and friends, thinking about items we might want to purchase. But first, we made donations to a whole cavalcade of travelers we knew.

One of them was R. B.

I was inclined to give him a thousand dollars. Since he was jobless, living off unemployment insurance, a thousand dollars was a lot of money. Hell—a thousand dollars is a lot of money.

R. B. was probably my most enthused onlooker. He patted me on the back a lot, smiled whenever he was in my presence and desperately wanted to ask me questions about the extent of my good fortune, but was prohibited by his New England upbringing.

Everything went along pretty well until we moved into our five-bedroom house on top of the hill near the lake. We built a pool, placed a gazebo in the front yard, and made all sorts of nifty little additions that landowners often do when they are convinced their money will last forever.

Then R. B. stopped coming around. His visits hadn’t been frequent to begin with, but now he “planned” to attend dinners and events and called at the last moment to cancel.

I thought I knew what the problem was. Matter of fact, I called my entire family together and told them that I believed R. B. needed a wife. Since he seemed unwilling to pursue such a relationship, I told my family that I was considering buying him one.

A wife, that is.

I had no basis whatsoever for knowing anything about such an endeavor—or whether it was even legal—but I had read a pamphlet about women in Eastern Europe and Russia who wanted to come to the United States, and were willing, on a temporary visa, to meet up with a man to see if they could make an “international connection.”

I went deep into the process, but gradually I began to feel like I was in an episode of “Law and Order”—and I was the one breaking the law and creating disorder.

A bit terrified, I backed out of the idea and instead came up with the possibility of sending R. B. on a cruise. (This was back when cruises were cool and didn’t kill people.)

I was trying to figure out how to approach him on the matter when my daughter-in-law piped up during an evening meal when he was in attendance and spurted out the possibility right in front of him. To my surprise, he lit up, smiling, and started asking questions.

The next day I bought him a seven-day cruise in the Bahamas, complete with air fare and extra money to buy clothes that weren’t made out of wool.

I kept waiting for him to back out.

But he didn’t.

On the day he was supposed to leave, he went to the airport, boarded the plane, landed in Miami, Florida and got on the ship.

He stayed for the entire cruise and when he returned, he was different.

He did not consummate a romance on the excursion, but there were two women on the boat with whom he enjoyed talking, sharing supper, and even listening to music.

He came back with both of their telephone numbers.

He was so transformed from the reticent fellow we put on the plane that I was moved to tears. To this day I will tell you—it was some of the best money I ever spent.

But it didn’t last long.

He tried to call the women a couple of times, but of course, they lived far away, and soon it was impossible to recapture the memories.

Painfully and slowly, he dismantled the happier soul he had temporarily become.

It made me realize three things:

1. Men do a lot of boasting, but deep in their hearts don’t believe themselves.

2. Men need a companion to confirm the boasts that are valid and boost the areas where they’re not.

3. Without this, men just feel like undiscovered liars.

Just One More… November 17, 2012

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Florida, Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana, Texas, New Mexico, Arizona, California, Nevada, Utah, Colorado, Kansas, Missouri, Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Ohio, Kentucky, Tennessee, North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia.

All of these places have been my home this year. I have established a temporary address in each one in an attempt to achieve some permanent results. It has been Tour 2012–and it finishes off tomorrow morning in New Albany, Indiana. You will probably never visit New Albany, Indiana. You don’t have to go … because I’ll take you with me.

At one of my stop-offs in Grand Junction, Colorado, a man asked me what my favorite scripture was. I thought he was just trying to make conversation, so I turned the tables on him and asked him to tell me his favorite passage. He said it was a toss-up between for God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten son” and “nothing can separate us from the love of God.”

I told him I thought those were excellent choices. He pursued. “But what’s your favorite one?”

“My favorite one is found in the gospels,where it reads, ‘and Jesus went to another village.’

He looked at me, perplexed. I didn’t expect him to totally understand. For you see, the power of the gospel does not lie in the establishment of a church–the organization of religion into practices and rituals. The power of the gospel is that it travels well and is best expressed when it’s moving. It’s why Jesus said, “Foxes have holes but the Son of Man has no place to lay his head.”

My traveling enables me to come into a town and love people, bring some incentives, make a few suggestions and exhort the areas where they are pursuing better paths–and then leave, allowing them, as mature people, to assimilate the message into their lives as they deem powerful. The danger of remaining in one community and believing that you can make a difference is that we all have a tendency to settle…and meddle. We “settle” into a series of repetitive actions determined to be normal, and then, when other people don’t follow our structure, we have a tendency to “meddle” in their affairs, taking away their freedom to be who God has made them to be.

Sometimes we use politics, sometimes we use corporations, but usually we use religious conviction as a club, attempting to hammer people into submission to the will of our local village.

It is most unfortunate.

Traveling as I do, I don’t have to “settle” for anything. I can live my life as I choose and share my discoveries with others without feeling the need for them to either condemn or affirm my purposes. Therefore, I don’t hang around long enough to meddle in their affairs or critique their concerns when those particular selections are not to my favor.

So you might ask me how you can do the same thing–to escape “settling and meddling”–and still maintain the integrity of a local post office box. That’s really easy. God gives every one of us a “tour schedule.” The beauty for most of you is that you don’t ever have to leave your own home. That tour schedule is called Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday.

Yes, all of you can be on a tour–as long as everything that happens on Monday is not carried over to your next stop, on Tuesday. So you have your Monday tour and then you climb into your wonderful tour bus of sleep to journey onto your next gig, which is called Tuesday. Now, if you take along the problems of Monday or celebrate too many of the victories, without being fully aware that the next tour stop will have its own conflicts, then you make a huge mistake. But as long as you live within the day, not worrying about tomorrow, and you don’t fuss over the affairs of the last performance from the day before, you can find yourself in the same position I do–touring.

For after all, we’re all just visiting this place anyway. And those who put down their roots too deeply become very dissatisfied, disillusioned and discontented at the brevity of the visitation.

So I have one more stop tomorrow–but actually, I never stop. Because even as I go on to Nashville, Tennessee, to eat Thanksgiving with my family, and then climb back into my van to tour for ten days with a Christmas presentation, to finally, arrive in Miami to spend the holidays with all my kin, I am always moving on. Sometimes it’s just from Monday to Tuesday; sometimes it’s from New Albany, Indiana to Knoxville, Tennessee. The gospel works best when you don’t try to make your location concrete, but instead, understand that we’re all just passing through–one day at a time.

“And Jesus went to another village…”

A lady recently told Janet that she had come to the conclusion that we were homeless. I guess in some people’s minds it might appear that way. Of course, for fifty years now, I have been a follower of a homeless man who ended up traveling around–and in so doing, changed the whole world. I guess I rather admire his choices, and pattern some of mine after them.

So you will find me, for the rest of my life, going to another village. You may follow suit by keeping your favorite pillow but permitting yourself the blessing of traveling from Monday to Tuesday without feeling the need to worry about the former day or be too concerned about the next one.

Just remember one of the great rules of the road: it’s not polite to steal towels from your last lodging.

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

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