Never Right… November 2, 2012

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A knock on the door.

It frightens you. It normally wouldn’t, but this is a different night. The wind is howling, the rain is pelting against your house and it sounds like all of hell is trying to seep through the walls of your home to capture your soul and drag you into the deep, dark pit of death. The lights flash, threatening to go out. Who would be knocking on the door at such a moment? It can’t be good, that’s for sure.

You open the door. There’s a woman there with two little children standing in the background, all of them completely drenched. She is frightened out of her mind and begs for entrance. But you see, you’re scared, too. Every apprehension that you’ve ever had about life, death, people, danger and the presence of your own inadequacy comes to the forefront. Mingle that with walking around in a society that demands you be suspicious of everyone around you, and even every piece of fruit you buy from the produce section, and before you have a chance to think, you refuse her entrance, shut your door–and feel grateful that hell is on the outside and you are on the inside.

This happened to a man on the east coast. The only trouble is, there’s always a morning after–when all of our decisions come to roost and are brought to our doorstep, demanding an explanation.

What are you going to do? Well, you’ve got to lie, right?  Because no one is going to understand how terrified you were by the storm and why your stupidity made a decision before your conscience had a chance to show up.

You are informed that the two children perished in the storm. For a split second, the goodness that remains within you realizes that you are a murderer. But the liar who controls the living room of your thoughts just continues to offer more and more feeble explanations.

Let us realize that for the next 24-hour news cycle, this man will be hated. Each one of us, in our little pious puddle of self-perceived purity, will insist that WE would have let this woman and her two sons into our homes, to escape the storm. We will judge him harshly, so that we don’t have to examine ourselves more closely.

I will tell you–these moments come to all of us and they‘re never “right.”

  • It’s never the “right” time.
  • It’s never the “right” people.
  • And it’s never the “right” mood.

My dear friends, if you catch me on a good day, I’m a saint. If you give me warning and let me know that a unique possibility is going to avail itself my way, I will bake a cake and prepare for the festivities. It just never works that way. And those people who insist they can trust their conscience to protect them against doing foolish things–always end up embarrassed the morning after, trying to justify their actions, as the bodies of two young boys are retrieved from a nearby marsh.

It’s never the right time. True adventure always knocks on our door when we are at our weakest, or when we least expect it.

It is never the right people. My God, if they looked like us, or appeared to be in the same economic category, or we recognized them in any way, we CERTAINLY would fling the door open and welcome them in. But desperation, frustration and destitution always come from another place, with another look–sometimes even speaking another language.They sport difference, and difference equals danger.

And of course, it’s never the right mood. Maybe you, yourself, are pissed off about the storm–wondering if that old oak tree in the back yard is going to fall over and destroy the bonus room you recently added to your property. Your mind is not on altruism or hospitality, but stuck with the pedal to the metal–in survival gear. You hope  that the better part of you will kick in and do the right thing. But the slowest-moving part of the human being is the conscience. It eventually does arrive, but has no desire whatsoever to be quick about it, and when it happens upon our scene, extraordinarily tardy, it only succeeds in reminding us how badly we have done without its help.

If you want to avoid the fate of this man, who found himself trapped in a never-the-right-moment, never-the-right-people and never-the-right-mood hole in the ground, then you must have something MORE than a mere conscience. You must realize, every day of your life, that you are completely capable of stupid, selfish and even evil things.

You don’t have to degrade yourself. You don’t necessarily have to share it with others. Just refuse to grant yourself the ridiculous notion that you’ve “arrived,” and would certainly never be tempted by folly again. Otherwise, you’ll trust your conscience to cover your butt–and that particular virtue will arrive like a turtle, just a little too late.

The reason most people spend excessive time lying is because they are angry that their conscience failed to rescue them from doing iniquity.

It’s never the right moment.

It’s never the right people.

And it’s never the right mood.

When tragic circumstances arrive at your house, you need more than a conscience. You need a heart that freely admits that you’re prone to doing absolutely insane things–unless you put a guard on the outside of your emotions to prevent wickedness from entering.

Don’t judge that man on the east coast too harshly. He is our brother. He is us. His ignorance cost two young boys their lives.

I’m sure we’ll hear more about the story. Or perhaps not. Maybe it will be swept away because all hearers of the tale will realize that they, too, might have turned the strangers away.

It is never the right time … to do good.

It is never the right people … who are brought to our attention.

And it is never the right mood that inhabits our thoughts … when it’s time to be a human angel.

Don’t trust your conscience. Build a second line of defense by admitting to yourself that much selfishness still dwells in the corners of your mind.

Then just maybe you will be ready for that knock on the door.

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

Why Don’t They? — October 20, 2011

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The absence of a question is the presence of an opinion. Opinions build walls which inhibit touching moments.Generally speaking, questioning is a good thing, but I am contending that there are two dumb questions, which not only fail to provide the potential for answers, but also generate great aggravation merely in the asking.

Yesterday we talked about “what if?” The obsession the human race has with the past and the future makes us often fail to be present in our own lives. Let me say it aloud: you are not destined to do anything. I am not destined to do anything. Unless you and I get up every morning, plug in our brains and move our feet, very little is ever accomplished.

I believe that God does have a will, but for some inexplicable reason, He always chooses to express it by using human agents. Those who wait for a heavenly solution are often struck dumb, deaf and blind by earthly events. So “what if?” is one of those dumb questions that leads to no conclusion and offers even further digression from us reaching our goals.

But the second question is equally as useless.  “Why don’t they?”

When we begin to speculate on the choices, will and personalities of other people, making ourselves a compass for their actions, we have lost all sight of what really makes this thing called life tick.

People are free-will creatures. Can I say it again? People are given free will and if you try to take it away from them, or even cast aspersions on them, you have stepped out of the mind of God.

I have trouble with this one. The “what if?” question has never been a source of conflict to me because I never did buy into the notion that God is my great puppeteer. But I have to remind myself every single day that people are not here for my pleasure, nor am I given license to gossip and question them in their free-will choices.

Here’s the bottom line–we have two possibilities when dealing with our everyday experiences. We can either change them or we can deal with them. Truthfully, we always make the wrong choice because we attempt to deal with our circumstances and we try to change people. It is exactly opposite of the way things work. We can become more proficient in our projects if we will understand that circumstances can change but people have to be dealt with. If you flip that the other direction, you will become an angry, insolent and frustrated traveler who just can’t understand why people don’t do the right thing. Often people don’t do the right thing because we either want them to or they don’t have to. You are not going to change that. God in heaven cannot change that. What you can do is select to deal with them or not deal with them. I think we spend entirely too much time trying to change people who not only don’t want to be changed, but every time we suggest they make a revision, they dig their heels a little deeper into the trench of resistance.

On the other hand, we tolerate circumstances that could easily be transformed into a different playing field because we have convinced ourselves that our surroundings are immutable. This is what messes us up. Let me say it again–when it comes to people, you must decide to deal with them or quietly walk away. In other words, “Deal or no deal.” When it comes to circumstances, they are your business and feel free to change them at your whim.

It’s a simple principle but it will keep you from becoming an anti-human force that is a guided missile out to destroy your fellow-man.

“Why don’t they?” is a dumb question because no one was born to be your servant. No one was born to answer to your call. And no one was born to worship your God.

Even when I hear people refer to the United States as a Judeo-Christian society, I realize they are making the error of thinking that a nation of individuals can become a clump of “agree-ers.” It’s just not going to happen.

So get rid of the dumb question. The next time you…and I…catch ourselves asking “why don’t they?” just pop back the answer, “Because they don’t have to.” And the next time you run across a circumstance that is not to your liking, jump right in there, get involved and see if you can’t improve it.

Things can change–people must be dealt with. I will say it again: things can change; people must be dealt with.

Give yourself a great gift. Find out what circumstances suit your taste. Abide therein, prosper and allow your example to be the shining light that causes people to reflect on how they might want to do some redecorating of their interior on their own.

Not only is it impossible to legislate morality–it is immoral to do so.

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

Jonathan sings “Let”

Jonathan Sings “Spent This Time”

Jonathan and his partner, Janet Clazzy, play “The Call”

What If? — October 19, 2011

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The first dumb question that crosses every human being’s lips is usuallywhat if?

“What if” I had done this? “What if” that happens? There is an ongoing flirtation we seem to have with the past and the future that leaves us either in regret or great anxiety.  I will tell you that if you want to relieve a good portion of your human frustration, you need to do nothing more than simply stop believing in destiny. Otherwise you spend all your time wondering if you missed your destiny or if your mysterious opportunity–predestined in the stars or the heavens–is right around the corner.

Let me tell you this–I can always pick out a charlatan. Anyone who says they know what’s going to happen in the furure is a phony. Why? Because the establishment of free will eliminates the possibility of there even being a future.

Although God is all-knowing, in some strange way beyond my comprehension, He isn’t quite sure what I’m going to be doing next( even though He probably should). Having granted me free will, that particular gift is honored above all others. So the introduction of the question “what if” is always dumb because it is either a re-telling of the past or a foolish exploation into a future that only exists in your and my hands. I do not want to live in a world controlled by either star constellations or angels. Even Biblical prophecy is more a citing of trends than a proclamation of certainties. God granted me free will, and I plan on using it–and the minute we start wondering “what if,” we become seekers of fortune rather than fortunate seekers.

I had a comical conversation yesterday with a young man in his mid-twenties. It was comical because he shared with me that he often finds his belief in the Christian faith to be difficult because some of the things that adherents hold to be true bother him. Things like Jonah and the whale and Noah’s ark. I didn’t argue with him but I had to smile because I know his particular entertainment choices include a vast panorama of fantasy, Lord of the Rings, vampire movies–and he, himself, recently appeared in a futuristic production about a creature who comes from another time–a robot–to save the human race.  He would say that he knows those stories are fiction–he just uses them for entertainment and inspiration. So what happens if somebody is a believer in Jesus and thinks that the Bible stories are great for entertainment and inspiration?

You see, we all choose when we’re going to become ethereal.  All I’m telling you is that the less heavenly-minded you choose to be, the more good you will find in the earth.

“What if” is a question that not only has no answer, but also makes us begin to believe that our decisions and lives are out of our control and are pre-determined in some sort of mystic world where “cloudy” decisions are made in the cosmos about our outcome.

Get one thing straight: free will is sacred. Period. Once you understand that, then God is not nearly as difficult to comprehend, and the difficulties that occur in our lives can normally be traced back to our inability to address our situations in the present.

Here’s a three-step process I’d like to pass along to you:

1. Live in the moment. The past is gone and the future will have to be decided by you later on. It could be affected, though, by what you do in the next moment.

2. As you live in that moment, take a moment to learn everything about the moment and enjoy everything the moment provides. Stop looking at life as a bus route where if you miss one, there will be another one coming along soon. If you believe that your steps are ordered of the Lord and He’s with you, then you’ll understand that life is more like a limousine that pulls up just for you–and you’d better hop in because they don’t arrive on the quarter hour. Do you see what I mean? It’s about treasuring the next moment’s opportunity as essential for you to use for your own benefit.

3. And finally, once you’ve taken a moment to live in the moment, understand that momentarily, things will evolve.  One of the major reasons we decide to live in the moment is that little, subtle nuances of opportunities sprout up, and if we’re looking into the past or gazing into the crystal ball of the future, we often miss this moment’s gentle offerings.

So live in the moment–and while you’re there, take a moment to get everything off of it you can, because momentarily things will evolve.

There you go.

In conclusion–that’s one dumb question so far.  “What if?”

We are not a people of destiny. We are a people of the moment. So the more we live within those boundaries, the more sense our lives will make and the more fruitful our endeavors will become.

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

Jonathan sings “Let”

Jonathan Sings “Spent This Time”

Jonathan and his partner, Janet Clazzy, play “The Call”

Published in: on October 19, 2011 at 12:02 pm  Comments (1)  
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