PoHymn: A Rustling in the Stagnant … May 23rd, 2018

 Jonathots Daily Blog

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For Awhile

by Jonathan Richard Cring

I came to stay awhile

Taking my turn at the trial

Giggling at the silly dog

Admiring the antics of the leaping frog

Considering the second mile.

 

Birth–beyond my control

Gradually took its toll

Making me question my reason

Always striving to be pleasin’

Without losing my soul.

 

The minutes jump the hour

And soon become a day

The days abandon the week

A month just slips away

The years are far too meek

The last breath slowly released

 

So grab on tightly with all your might

Train your thoughts for the good fight

“There is no God,” taunts the fool

Yet Father walks in the twilight cool

Still lingering in the Eden Garden.

 

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Forty-two Months… May 24, 2013

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ShreveportIt was a hot, humid, May evening in an area of the country that only knows how to be hot and humid in May.

It was the night that I first met my partner, Janet Clazzy. She was the principal oboist in the Shreveport Symphony and came out to a press conference I had put together to publicize my musical, Mountain, the Sermon on the Mount set to music. I was twenty-nine years old–energetic and just stupid enough to believe that great things could be done with little effort.

This initial meeting came to my mind last night as we drove into Shreveport to do a gig.

The first time I arrived in that town, I was a refugee from a year of my life which had been crowded with too much activity and laced with disaster.

1980.

I moved from Nashville, Tennessee, traveling the country with my Broadway-style show, Mountain, to twenty-five cities. After that I took a position at a church in Alabama. My second-oldest son, Joshua, was in a hit-and-run accident with a car and suffered a massive brain trauma. I left Alabama and moved to Shreveport to take a position at a small Bible college, which appeared to be getting smaller all the time.

I was damaged goods.

I did not know the extent of the buffeting that had occurred in my soul, but I was fully aware of the residue of the bruises. I stayed in Shreveport, Louisiana for forty-two months–in what I would call a complete human overhaul. It was more than healing–it was a rediscovery of my self, my talents, my faith, my potential and certainly–my limitations.

Nearly all the people I met when I was in Shreveport during those forty-two months are still in my life in some capacity. Some of them are close to me, a few have abandoned our former relationship, and most have moved on, taking bits and pieces of what they learned in that season and salting their lives with the experience.

When I finished up last night, walked out to my van and looked at the skyline of the city, I was grateful. It was in Shreveport that I remembered I could write again. I composed songs, penned dramas that were aired on the radio and was called “pastor” by a handful of loving souls.

I learned to fight for what I believed in without becoming aggressive. I became a producer of videos for public access TV and argued with the zoning commission of the town to permit us to have a location for our tiny fellowship. I found myself going down to the county jail in the middle of the night to help people who had fallen through the cracks, and practically begged companies to give food, bread and blankets for us to distribute to the hungry and needy.

I grew a soul.

A soul is like anything else that grows–it requires seeds. Some of those sprouts are unconventional–things like tears, pain, heartache, disappointment and anguish. Yet they all produce beautiful fruit when they are allowed time to mature. But the laughter, joy, cleverness, creativity and the unexpected blessings also were sown into my spirit, “bringing in the sheaves,” rejoicing.

I would not be the man I am today if it were not for that forty-two months I spent in Shreveport–in “spiritual rehab.”

Even though my son eventually passed away and the little work I began there as an outreach is no longer intact, the manifestations of that effort are still evident every day in the lives of my friends and colleagues.

So I am grateful.  I am grateful to Shreveport.

I am overjoyed that instead of giving up on the idea of God, I decided to reinvent faith … inside my tattered being.

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The Last Twenty… March 25, 2012

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I spent the first twenty years of my life more or less kicking my own tires and revving my engine to see what I had under the hood. I didn’t do anything to excess–except eating. I studied enough algebra to discover I would never use  it and I am always astounded that I actually received good marks in chemistry, despite a lack of any awareness of even attending class. I attempted to learn the Golden Rule but was never encouraged to believe it was plausible. I went from baby to child to young man to fully grown male of the species without breaking a bone, but spraining everything else available. I guess I was just normal.

That was my first twenty.

My second twenty was spent trying to learn how to eek out a living so people wouldn’t criticize me for being lazy and banks wouldn’t charge me overdraft fees. I also discovered sex, which opened the door to procreation, which forced me into a room–at gunpoint–of fatherhood. It isn’t that I didn’t enjoy the experience. It’s just that I’ve never been so ill-prepared for anything since the day our teacher told us that we would ONLY be speaking Spanish in class for the entire period. Yes, in that second twenty years I tried to learn how to be a man, an artist, a husband, a provider and a father. Five things. (Something’s gotta give, right?) I did my best.

In the next twenty years, as my children launched out on their own, I decided to pursue my career. Normally one does that younger, but I saw no reason to be in step with society. In that twenty years period, I wrote three novels, eleven symphonies, seventeen screenplays, many songs, and traveled the country back and forth a couple dozen times. I also joined my dear business partner in starting a symphony, which ended up being both a creative and a philanthropic endeavor in our community. Exciting stuff.

But I woke up on Tuesday of this week and realized that I am probably in my last twenty. At first I tried to slide into some silly, melancholy sentiments–but then I realized how long twenty can be. Now I’m not saying that I have twenty more years left. God knows there are always little surprises for all of us. It may be only twenty minutes. Twenty days. Twenty weeks. Twenty months. Or I might win the jackpot and get the full twenty years. But whatever happens, I’d like to keep my mind on that idea of twenty.

Because I’ll tell you right now–if I only had twenty minutes to live, what I would do, knowing what I know about my heavenly Father, who will hopefully be my next innkeeper, I would be kind and smile at everyone.

If information was given to me that I had twenty days to linger on this planet, I would limit my projects, and instead of trying to look like “Mr. Busy Man,” I would finish them all instead of leaving a bunch of half-eaten doughnuts lying around.

How about if God whispered in my ear that I had twenty weeks to live? Well, I’ll tell you right now–I would make a weekly contact with everyone I know and love–with a special message from my heart.

If twenty months were graciously afforded me, I would be creative, making sure that in some way, shape or form, I left my own footprints in the sand.

And if by some stroke of mercy and grace, this old body of mine can muster up twenty more years, I would do everything aforementioned in great good cheer, without ever going to bed worrying.

I guess any way you look at it, at any age we are all in our last twenty of something. After all, what could be more sad than the last twenty potato chips in the bag?

We will never be judged on our longevity, nor honestly, on whether we were in perfect physical condition. But someone will bring up how we decided to use our time. Actually, they won’t even need to bring it up, now, will they? The evidence will remain–to either convict us … or make us free.

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Below is the first chapter of Jonathan Richard Cring’s stunning novel entitled Preparing a Place for Myself—the story of a journey after death. It is a delicious blend of theology and science fiction that will inspire and entertain. I thought you might enjoy reading it. After you do, if you would like to read the book in its entirety, please click on the link below and go to our tour store. The book is being offered at the special price of $4.99 plus $3.99 shipping–a total of $8.98. Enjoy.

http://www.janethan.com/tour_store.htm

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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