Things I Learned from R. B. (April 26th, 2020)


Jonathots Daily Blog

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Episode 12

Three phone calls.

This is the extent of the contact I had with R. B. over the next two years. On the first two occasions, he tracked me down through a young man who was assisting us with scheduling and knew where we were at all times.

The first call was a chatty conversation about his latest meet-up with Kristall—how it was bittersweet because she was moving to New York City. He was already making plans to follow her, believing they were entwined in a harmony of purposes.

The second dial-up was to inform me that he had lost his job in Dallas and was moving to Tacoma, Washington. He explained all the maladies of his Texas situation—how he had needed to move on and was grateful for the urging provided by the firing.

But the third phone call came from me.

I tracked him down in Tacoma—really just by using the old-fashioned telephone book. My reason was practical.

I had received notice through the mail that a woman in Missouri was interested in purchasing one hundred copies of my first book, “The Gospel According to Common Sense.” She explained how much she had enjoyed it, and wanted to pass it along to strangers, who might find it easier to understand than Brothers Matthew, Mark, Luke or John.

I was so moved.

My soul was so hungry for some confirmation that what I was doing was worthwhile and who I was, meaningful.

Yet my book was out of print. I felt compelled to try to get it printed again and get those one hundred copies into this lady’s hands.

Maybe it was mission, or maybe vanity. I still don’t know.

I priced the printing and found out that all I needed was a hundred and twenty-five dollars. I had fifty.

I know it may sound ridiculous, but I had absolutely no way to lay my hands on that other seventy-five dollars except…

I called R. B. I told him I needed a loan. I explained it would be a brief period of time—because as soon as the woman sent me back the check for the books, I would be able to reimburse him.

My plea for the money was about two minutes long but the conversation lasted two hours.

R. B. stated, in a hundred different ways, how he was taught never to loan money. He asked me a half dozen times why I didn’t already have the money. He questioned whether my story was truthful. He made me grovel.

At the end of the two hours, having given me no official answer, he said he would think about it and call me next week.

As I hung up the phone, I realized he hadn’t asked for my telephone number—nor did it seem he wanted one.

I waited and I waited.

Finally, after two weeks, I contacted him again. He apologized and said he could give me the money at the end of the month—which was three weeks away. I reiterated that this was a time-sensitive affair, since the order was now four weeks old. He didn’t understand why a few more days would make a difference.

While I was waiting for R. B. to provide the final funds to order the books, a letter arrived from the lady canceling her request and scolding me for not having the integrity to respond in time.

It hurt so badly.

Not only did I fail to give my writings an opportunity to be used, but I was thrust into the role of the incompetent child.

I did place a brief fifth call. (I forgot about those last two.) It was to inform R. B. that he would no longer need to provide the funds.

He laughed and said, “Well, it’s probably for the best.”

It wasn’t—for the best, that is.

As I look back on my journey with this fellow, I have to be honest and admit that this incident might have colored many of my views and inhibited some of my compassion. I would hope not, but I am a bit suspicious of myself.

 

3 Things … July 18th, 2019

Jonathots Daily Blog

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That Make for Great Kissing

 

1. Give the lips some space and time to get acquainted—even if they are old friends.

 

2. Don’t rush in with the hands. Allow the lips, mouth and tongue a chance to do their best work.

 

3. Stop kissing for a few moments and look in your lover’s eyes, to find even greater inspiration.

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Party Planners… November 7, 2012

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Ellie and Don wanted to plan a party.

They decided to work together on the idea. It was exciting. But within a few days they ran into some problems. Don wanted to try some new concepts and experiment, and even though Ellie was intrigued by the possibility, she wanted to make sure she didn’t disinclude old friends. What at first was a casual conversation changed into a disagreement, became a conflict and ended up in a rift.

So Ellie decided to have her own party, and Don likewise pursued his. Ellie got all of her old friends acquaintances and they defined exactly what they thought a party should be. Even though they wanted the occasion to be rich with expansion and open to new encounters, they also were intent on maintaining the integrity of their lifestyles and positions. It was an intense discussion.

Meanwhile, Don got together with a few of his chums and began to assemble a format–or actually, more a direction–for their particular party. Don’s idea was different. He candidly told his gathered helpers that he really liked them a lot, but that he was also interested in trying to enlarge his surrounding host of friends to include new faces. To his amazement, his committee agreed.

So Don went out and bought a book on party planning, shared it with his little council of helpers, and they followed the guidelines meticulously. The first step in planning a party, according to this book, was to invite more people. So instead of relying on a Rolodex of names and telephone numbers, they spread their net out to welcome people from everywhere, most of whom they did not know personally. As Don read the book, he realized that it was impossible to make new, lasting relationships if you didn’t go out and meet new people.

Meanwhile, Ellie and her cohorts decided to limit the guest list of their party to people they knew or people who understood the style and approach of what this particular extravaganza needed to be. So it was agreed in Ellie’s meeting that each member would be given a couple of tickets to pass out to their immediate family or individuals they deemed would be comfortable with the scheme.

As Don read further into his book, he discovered that the second step to having a great party was to serve good food–lots of it and different types. So as they sat down to plan a menu with the caterers of the event, the party planners for Don’s little foray actually picked delicacies that many of them had never even tasted. They were a little bit nervous, but also excited at the prospect of spicing up their lives through variety.

Ellie also planned a menu. It was decided to go with foods that were tried and true–possessing the quality of the taste of time. A couple of suggestions were made to Ellie that they include a few unusual recipes, so cautiously, they inserted one or two of these unknown quantities, but in very limited amounts.

Meanwhile, back at Don’s party, the book suggested that the party have easy directions to a known location. The point the book made was that it’s ridiculous to have a festive occasion if people have difficulty finding it or they are completely unfamiliar with their surroundings. So Don and his little group found a lovely facility right off the freeway, well-lit, with lots of parking.

At Ellie’s session, one of the members mentioned that there was a beautiful mansion available up on top of a hill, about twenty-five miles outside of town. It was practically abandoned and they could probably get it for a song, and people would enjoy the adventure of finding this remote location and strolling around the old halls, viewing the ancient architecture. Everyone was thrilled.

So Don’s party was held–right off the freeway in a simple building–and Ellie’s was out of town, but in an elegant, traditional setting.

Finally, as Don read the last chapter of his book, he concluded that the overall message he received from the volume was that the party should be a place where people could have fun. Of course, everyone had a different definition for fun, but it was generally agreed by one and all that having fun had something to do with pursuing your own happiness without being restricted by others.

Ellie brought up the same subject to her friends. They agreed that fun was a wonderful idea, but in the process of trying to achieve this levity, they should be careful not to lose control of the situation and to make sure to put enough guidelines in place so as to avoid the danger of activities that might be beyond acceptability. Matter of fact, a huge discussion ensued, which raged into the night, about what actually WAS permissible. They decided to make a list of forbidden practices and include it in the invitation sent out to the chosen few.

All was prepared. Both Ellie and Don finished their preliminaries, dates were set and advertising was put in motion.

Don trusted his book and invited all the people he could find, served good food and lots of it to stimulate any taste bud, printed out easy directions for their common location and advertised clearly that all those who came could have fun as long as they didn’t infringe on the rights of others.

It was uncanny that Ellie actually ended up reading the same book that Don pursued–but her conclusions were quite different. The guest list at Ellie’s party was more trimmed and tailored to the specifications of her existing friends. The menu was limited, but tasty. The directions were quite complex, but there was the promise that upon arrival it would be well worth the journey. And fun was so well-defined that confusion and rabble-rousing were absolutely eliminated.

Don’s party was packed. It was disorganized, rowdy and at times bordered on a bit of confusion. Ellie’s party was less well attended, but much more specific to taste, and proper in its proportions.

Over half the people at Don’s party were strangers–unknown to the committee which had originally initiated the idea.

Ellie knew everyone at her party and actually was related to most of them.

Ellie and Don caught up with each other a week later and shared their findings. Of course, each of them put a bit of “spin to the positive” on the affair. Don shook his head as he explained that his results were a little rowdy, but certainly filled with inclusion and excitement. Ellie smiled and said she was glad that her party was much more orderly and contained, even though not nearly as unpredictable and crowded.

But the biggest shock was when they realized that both of them had consulted the same book to plan their parties. It was a volume that had been around for thousands of years and was available to anyone who was willing to learn and receive.

It was the Bible of the party, and from this Bible, Don had learned to invite more people, serve great food, make things easy and have fun. Ellie gleaned from the message to limit invitations, go with tried and tested formulas, make it a little more difficult to get to the destination, but reward those who made it, and to carefully define what was acceptable pleasure so as not to end up with undesirable results.

Two parties. One book. Different ideas.

The amazing part of the whole endeavor was that the book that Don and Ellie consulted did contain information to support both of their assertions, so it was no longer an issue of who was right and wrong–but rather, which idea bore the most fruit to benefit humankind.

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

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