Confessing … August 29th, 2015

 Jonathots Daily Blog

(2677)

XVII.

I confess so I can heal.

If I deny, I remain sick.

They had been married just four months when their pastor asked them if they were willing to allow a traveling family to come and use their condo while they were away on vacation.

Being good Christians, they agreed.

We were that vagabond family–my wife, three children and myself, touring through the area, being blessed by the courtesy and hospitality of strangers.

The condo was beautiful–a blessed departure from the B-rated motels where we usually found ourselves. So we enjoyed the week.

There was even a downstairs area which had a pinball machine and a ping-pong table.

About three days after our departure from this lovely facility, I received a phone call. It was the husband of the pair who had so graciously provided us lodging, asking what had happened to the ping-pong table.

I explained to him that I had never even gone downstairs during the visit, and he shared with me that it was broken.

I told him that I was unaware but I would check with my sons and find out what happened.

I did. Both of my older boys denied any knowledge of the incident.

This placed me in a dilemma. Should I believe my children or should I take the word of these hospitable souls?

I got on the phone, called the gentleman back and told him my boys had not broken the table.

God, I felt noble.

I felt like “Dad of the Year,” sticking up for my children.

Obviously, the fellow insisted, causing me to dig my heels in, which led to an emotional tug of war followed by an all-out bitter fight.

Yet I insisted there was no way that my sons would lie to me about the situation.

As my original benefactor hung up the phone, he said, “Well, we’ll never do this again.”

Let me tell you–good kids don’t always tell the truth; they just eventually tell the truth.

I had good kids, but it was two weeks later, after a church service, when one of my sons tearfully admitted they had broken the ping-pong table, but were so embarrassed that they didn’t know what to do.

I was flushed with anger with a side order of foolishness.

I couldn’t decide what was the best path for handling the matter, so I did nothing.

The young couple who had been so open-minded never received my apology or an admission of guilt from my child. I convinced myself that the damage had already been done and could not be mended.

It was stupid.

It proved what a baby I was instead of the mature man I envisioned myself to be.

And because of my original stubbornness and the absence of a heart-felt apology, that young couple were led to believe that openness is a dangerous pit instead of the entrance to God.

 

confessing ping pong table

 

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Confessing… August 1st, 2015

 Jonathots Daily Blog

(2650)

XIII.

I confess so I can heal.

If I deny, I remain sick.

In the summer of my sixteenth year, my human sexuality cornered me like a ravenous jackal.

I discovered that my penis also had a “wonderful plan for my life.”

I was in the midst of my first serious relationship with a girl and my curiosity was out to see the cat. I had lived as a good church boy, vacant of any understanding of my body parts beyond my hands and knees for prayer. No one had ever told me what I was supposed to do with what.

Only when.

At the same time, I struck up a friendship with Ben, who was one year younger than me. He, too, was on the quest for fire.

So even though we spent sufficient time working on our church coffee-house together, whenever we were out driving around and talking, we were speculating on the anatomy of the various females we encountered, possessing the knowledge of a new-born baby pontificating on eating steak.

Now, there was a drive-in theater about fifteen miles from our home called the Queensland. On Saturday nights, this establishment showed X-rated movies. I had never seen such a flick, and was beginning to feel the absence.

So I talked to Ben and we decided to make a trip down to this theater and bring paper and pencil to become great students. A couple of other guys got wind of it and begged to go with us. Our first instinct was to say no, but when they continued to plead, we acquiesced.

It was only when we got a mile from the theater that we discovered the other two guys hadn’t brought any money along for admission. So I opened up the big trunk of my Impala and they crawled in to hide, so we could get into the drive-in without paying for them.

It worked beautifully.

Upon arriving and finding our speaker-box of choice, we slyly let them out of the trunk and they came into the car. For the next three-and-a-half hours, the four of us drooled like teething babies.

We saw things we had never seen before. Some of it we liked, and some of it was grotesque and scary.

But we watched it all.

I was the oldest one in the car, and therefore should have had better sense–especially in assessing who I took to see the “skin and sin.”

The following Wednesday, I was called to the preacher’s office. One of the young boys who had been in the back seat had a fit of conscience and confessed his evil deed to his parents. I was confronted, disciplined and told what a “terrible witness I was.”

I didn’t care.

I guess none of these young men ended up being rapists or sex offenders, but I’m very sorry for what I did. I had no right to tie their confusion in with my confusion to create chaos.

What should I have done?

I probably should have complained to the adults around me about how ignorant and devoid of knowledge they had left me, in a world of lions, tigers and bears–oh, my.

So when I became a father, I told my children very early about the sexual aspect of their lives.

I don’t know if it affected their purity… but it certainly eliminated their guilt.

 

confessing car trunk

 

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PoHymn: A Rustling in the Stagnant … July 22nd, 2015

 Jonathots Daily Blog

(2640)

PoHymn July 22

At Least (A Saga)

He said he was hungry

I thought he might be lazy

But I can’t make him work

I can help him eat

I can

The little boy was dripping with sweat

His tongue hanging out as he panted

Hot day–he should hydrate

He knows that

Not my problem

I could give him one of my cold bottles of water

But if he’s thirsty, why doesn’t he drink?

Maybe too tired

I can offer

I can

 

The family looks lost

I don’t know them

Don’t want to be pushy

God forbid I should interfere

But seems they could use a friendly word

I’m embarrassed, a chicken

A timid hen

They appear rejected

I might say something

Awkward

Still, I can be nice

I can

 

How did I end up here?

The guys from work wanted to go to a strip joint

Pardon–Gentlemen’s Club

Look at her

She is so naked

I mean, disrobed of her identity

Men poking, leering and groping

Let me outta here

Buy her a drink?

Offer her my coat and a chance to talk?

Too weird

Too naked

I can be a man instead of a boy

I can

 

Sick people make me sick

I get sick looking at them

Germs

Got to stay healthy

But being sick is so sickly

Feeling bad makes you think bad

I can visit

I can

 

Law breakers

Get what they deserve

Jail birds, but we clip their wings

Maybe they want more

A second chance

How lonely is prison?

I could come to see someone

Especially since my nephew is in there

What would I say?

Maybe nothing

I can sit and listen

I can

 

I can do much more

Than stand outside the door

And wonder what’s within

Hope, joy, faith or sin

Will I risk being odd

To find the touch of God?

Yes, my soul deserves a feast

So I can go…

At least.

 

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WITHIN

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Well… March 17, 2013

(1,823)

It was June 1995.

I got really sick. I didn’t know how to “do” sick. I had never been sick. I had the occasional colds, flu and some bad Chinese food that ran through me quicker than Genghis Khan‘s army, but I had never been check-in-the-hospital sick.

Although I never believed in macho, I certainly strove for strong. I needed to be strong. I liked to be the guy who picked up equipment and carried it in the door, sweating profusely and panting to the inspiration of surrounding admirers. I liked playing tennis on a 100-degree day in Shreveport, Louisiana, drenching my clothes with perspiration as people walked by shaking their heads in disbelief that anyone would be outside doing anything but trying to breathe.

It wasn’t an issue of pride–or maybe it WAS an issue of pride, but I was too prideful to see it. I don’t know.

Suddenly I was sick. Not only sick, but the doctor informed me I had diabetes. In the brief time I had known this gentleman–my caregiver–we had struck up a friendship. So when he came in to talk to me about the disease, he looked like he had been sucking on lemons for a week or had just attended a foreign film. He told me that diabetes was serious, that it would be with me all my life–certainly with me when I died.

It was depressing.

So on October 8th of last year, when my legs disappeared overnight, replaced by the lower limbs of a 92-year-old nursing home patient, I was torn between sensations of gratitude that it was just my legs and not a stroke or heart attack, and feeling cheated of the ability to lift heavy burdens and sweat like a pig.

It got me to thinking about the word well. I was always thrilled at the prospect of feeling well–I liked it.

And tonight when I went to the United Methodist Church in Lumberton, Texas, to set up, and I needed to climb into a wheel chair to make it into the building to do my sound check, I temporarily felt robbed of the sensation of wellness. Yes, I wanted to feel sorry for myself.

There was this wonderful gentleman, about my age, who helped us carry in the equipment. He was so strong and capable, and here I was, wheeling my way around from place to place. But as I took a moment in the lobby of the church to reflect before I went up to check out the sound in the room, I considered that there are two ways to be well: you can FEEL well and you can DO well.

And even though physically I am still pretty fit and healthy, the ability to impress with my stride, strength and the sheer sense of muscular prowess is not in my grasp. But God has still given me the blessing of DOING well.

I have not lost my mind (unless you want to include sharing so candidly in an essay openly and publicly on the Internet). I have not lost my talent, such as it is. I have not lost my anointing and the touch of God on my life.

I asked myself in that lobby tonight, can I be happy doing well without feeling well?

I wheeled myself up the ramp onto the stage to practice my latest song. I don’t need an answer–just enough life to give me opportunity.

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The First Time… March 22, 2012

(1,461) 

The first time I saw the ocean, I cried–a bit of marveling mingled with the saltiness of the air.

The first time I saw a bee, I giggled–bouncing from flower to flower, suspended yet animated.

The first time I kissed a girl, my heart stopped; then every sense accelerated into high gear, yearning to race to the finish line.

The first time I got sick, I wanted to die, but was later thankful for the prudent delay.

The first time I heard applause for my work, I smiled all over, refreshed by the wave of appreciation.

The first time I made love, my body briefly left my soul, to revel in its moment of acceptance.

The first time I was baptized, I opened my eyes under the water to view the cloudiness that was my heart.

The first time I heard a choir, I rejoiced in knowing that harmony in the masses was not only beautiful, but possible.

The first time I saw a mountain, I wanted to perch at its peak, minus the climb.

The first time I made people laugh, I felt like God–right after He created the sun.

The first time I was granted a miracle, my soul gazed at the heavens in wonder, as my head remained bowed.

The first time I held my son, I was in Eden, dancing around the Tree of Life.

The first time I failed, I was in awe that the rising dawn was unaware of my inadequacy.

The first time I drove a car–honestly, I favored the brake.

The first time I ate Chinese food, I resisted thinking about our family cat.

The first time I sang, I felt as if I were whispering into God’s ear.

And every first time I have a first time, I am grateful for this time … to discover The First.

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

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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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