Just Talk… March 9, 2013

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allAt 9:15 A.M. yesterday, I found myself tooling through the grocery store in search of those final ingredients that escaped my initial purchasing from earlier in the week. One of the things I was looking for was an inexpensive package of shrimp which I could add to a can of New England Clam Chowder, transforming it from a poor bowl of soup to go along with a tuna sandwich, into a meal fit for a Gloucester fisherman.

So I eyeballed the frozen foods and headed in that direction, discovering an older woman unpacking boxes nearby. She seemed a bit bedraggled by her task.

This is where I am probably weird. Maybe it’s that I’m arrogant–but I just don’t believe there’s any power in seeing someone under the weather or depressed and leaving them alone, hoping they’ll work it out by having an inspiring evening of prime time television. So I ventured a bit of conversation.

“How are you?” I asked

“Fine,” she replied, making her one-syllable answer sound even shorter.

You see, that in itself was a noble effort. But I didn’t leave it alone. “Are you sure you’re fine?” I chuckled.

She looked up from her mountain of boxes and gave me a small smile. She launched. Yes–she started to talk. In the two-and-a-half-minute conversation, I learned her entire financial situation, her frustrations with Medicare, her worries over the President and Congress, and the fact that her husband’s pension doesn’t cover much of anything.

Now, I will admit to you that there IS difficulty in finding a way to extricate yourself from the flood of words that proceed from people once the “dammit” is broken. But it’s worth it.

Because when I came around about five minutes, I paused to take a look her way.  Her pace had quickened and she was humming a bit to herself.

You see, it’s not that I am such a good Joe for talking with people. The point I’m trying to make is that we have become a nation instructed to listen and watch as OTHER people talk, giving us no outlet for our feelings, frustrations and especially, our ideas.

So when you see folks trudging along, there are three dark clouds that encircle them:

  1. “Nothing matters”
  2. “No one cares”
  3. “Never mind”

You may think this is no big deal, and often it isn’t–until you accidentally cross one of these storm clouds with all of this negative energy bottled up inside.

When we are not allowed to talk, we become creatures of silent defeat–and depending on the mental health status of the defeated one, it can lead to anything from reclusion to stepping into the marketplace with a semiautomatic rifle and opening up fire.

Just talk.

It has to be more than a tweet. Our new social media forces us to be brief and clever, instead of forthcoming and honest. Matter of fact, I would suggest that the church become a forerunner fo this great idea. Instead of projecting images on the wall that people sing and recite, cueing them on when to stand and clap, let’s have an hour sometime during the week when human beings can talk and share their hearts.

As the old verse says, we certainly ARE “saved by the word of our testimony.”

My words may encourage you, but it is your own words that motivate you.

The Bible may offer a great sense of comfort, but it is your interpretation and re-speaking of truth that makes it a reality.

There may be nothing greater that we can do for each other than overcoming the silent defeat that settles into the human soul because we don’t get the chance to talk about our feelings, and we begin to insist that nothing matters, no one cares and never mind.

I left a woman singing a song. That’s pretty good for this fat boy. And until we realize that watching and listening is no any replacement for feeling and sharing, we will have a country that is saturated with a sense of desperation–exhausted before it even begins to work.

Just talk. Just share. And make sure that any sensations of sadness have a chance to escape before you become convinced that we were meant to be lonely.

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

Fun Must Be Done… January 7, 2013

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kids textingAs I emerged from the sanctuary yesterday morning at Hope Lutheran Church in Port St. Lucie, Florida, I noticed a young man sitting behind a table in the lobby, busy working his phone, punching buttons furiously, almost to the point of breaking a sweat.

Now, there was a time in my life that I would have been upset that this eleven-year-old specimen of humanity was perched outside of the hearing of my show, involved in his social media. But yesterday, what crossed my mind was, “How can I come up with an app for his phone using my philosophy that will be interesting enough to this young fellow that he will savor it with the same intensity he is presently using with his preoccupation?”

We spend too much time trying to turn people into grown-ups, hoping they will share our misery and therefore, lighten the human load. I told you–it’s all about becoming like little children, and it is no different when we approach work.

Here are the three things I know about children–and since I’m trying to become one this year, it would be a good idea for me to study these carefully: (1) Children need purpose. (2) Children find purpose in work. (3) Work must be fun.

Here is the interesting fact: we never outgrow those three principles. We just attempt to ignore them by masking them with a frown.

I need purpose. In other words, I need at least two reasons for doing anything. If you give me just one, I will end up grumpy. But if there are two reasons to stop off at the shopping center to get something, then it has the potential to be an adventure instead of an inconvenience. Don’t tell me to love my neighbor as myself–I will act like I’m some sort of noble knight on a quest for the king. Explain to me that humanity is out there, ready to make my life easier. They make my purpose more purposeful. Intelligently teach me that people have the capacity for lightening my load.

We find our purpose in our work. If you are miserable on your job, you are not only losing precious moments of human enjoyment, but more than likely–through stress, apathy and complaining–you are shortening your life. Nothing is worth that.

My job was created by me to answer a calling I felt in my heart, and is constantly being retooled to be simpler and more enjoyable all the time. I will not do any work unless you can show me a way to accomplish it with fun.

Feel free to call that “childish” as you grumble your way through your daily activities. But know this–there is always a more pleasant way to accomplish any task that leaves us feeling satisfied and tired instead of exasperated and exhausted.

Here is my suggestion: link all the aspirations of what you do with your heart’s desire.

For instance, my heart’s desire is to be creative and bless as many people as I can while living comfortably. I have conjured a lifestyle that affords me that privilege. It’s why I am deliriously happy.

Now, instead of saying, “It must be nice…” start duplicating that in your own life. Don’t change your flat tire until you realize that after it’s changed, your vehicle will roll again and you can go out and reward yourself with a lovely treat.

Link your work with your heart’s desire to establish your purpose, and then find a way to make it fun.

It’s what children do. You don’t have to buy them toys–give them four rocks, six sticks a broken cardboard box and five minutes. They will create a fort and begin to launch into a fantasy of frivolity.

I want to be that child. Don’t tell me how difficult it is to be an adult–I will laugh at you. In my heart, I will mock your silliness, hoping that you will outgrow the notion that life is meant to be arduous and difficult.

  • We are children.
  • Children need purpose.
  • Purpose is found in work
  • And work must be fun.

Without this, Congress makes passing a bill to bless our country with financial gain and prosperity look as if they’re climbing Mt. Everest with a broken leg.

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

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