3 Things … December 20th, 2018


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That Help Make You Wise

 

1. Leave where you are if you find something better

2. Bring your gifts

3. Be prepared to be impressed

 

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Reverend Meningsbee (Part 38) Gramps Creekside… January 22nd, 2017

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Reverend Meningsbee

The local mailman decided to enter the cabin when he heard the old tick hound, Queenie, howling.

He found Gramps Creekside dead in his bed.

Now, “Gramps” was not his given baptism name. His bank signature read “Benjamin Donnelly.” But everybody in town called him Gramps because he seemed to be more aged than anyone else they knew–and “Creekside” because many years before he built a small cabin by a creek about three miles outside of town.

Gramps had the legendary blending of cantankerous, kindly and wise. He always seemed to have a good word when it was needed and a little piece of sass when the world became too complacent.

It’s safe to say that everybody in the town, at least once a year, made a pilgrimage out to the little cabin to visit with the old man as he sat and mused over life, spitting tobacco in his ‘toon.

Meningsbee had made such a journey just three days earlier. Feeling the need to be around someone as old as the hills, with the possibility of receiving irreverent counsel, he headed out and sat in the old man’s only extra chair.

As always, Meningsbee tried to start out nice, but Gramps just didn’t like preachers.

His contention was that ministers didn’t have enough work to keep them busy, which caused them to get nosy about other people’s business. Gramps had only attended the church one time, on no particularly special Sunday, and walked out giving Meningsbee the sideways compliment, “You’re better than most.”

So when the news came to town that Gramps was dead, there was a shudder of grief and a reluctance to accept the reality. Deep in their hearts, people knew they would get over his departure, but the absence of his freewheeling style of observation would certainly deplete their world.

The pastor was asked to conduct the memorial service on Sunday afternoon. The church was filled with those who had been graced by the touch and the gruffness of the aging philosopher.

On Saturday, Meningsbee went out to the cabin and walked around, looking for hints as to what to say at the memorial service. There wasn’t much there. Apparently, the old man had savored tobacco and beef jerky.

Gramps had a Bible on his nightstand, what appeared to be a year’s supply of black coffee, three dozen fresh hen’s eggs in the ice box and many cans of Vienna sausages.

Meningsbee picked up the Bible, opened it, and a little slip of paper fell onto the floor. He retrieved it up and read the brief paragraph with a smile. He had found his subject for the service.

When Sunday afternoon rolled around and everyone had tearfully finished their tributes to Gramps Creekside, the Reverend stood to his feet and said:

“Searching through the limited belongings of Benjamin Donnelly, who we lovingly know as Gramps Creekside, I quickly realized that this was not a man who was laying up treasures on Earth.”

The audience laughed.

“Matter of fact, in the whole cabin I could not locate a second pair of shoes, though he granted himself the luxury of three pair of underwear.”

More laughter.

“What I did find was a Bible–a Good Book which had the strokings of many a finger-passing. In that Bible was a note, handwritten by Gramps himself. It read: ‘Am I starting? Am I done? Don’t rightly know. Guess I’ll go on.'”

Reverend Meningsbee paused for a second to allow the words to sink in, and then continued. “Just like you, at first I was perplexed by the meaning, but then it was so much like Gramps that it was like he was whispering in my ear. You see, here’s a man who wasn’t sure how much time he had or whether it was time to leave. But because he didn’t know, he thought the smartest way to live was to keep going full speed until something stopped him. When I read the words, they convicted my heart. I thought about all the things that have stopped me recently, just because they challenged my ego. I thought about all the matters I worry about, which don’t amount to more than dust on a country road. And I realized that Gramps sat out there, not totally convinced that anybody cared, but always prepared to receive a visitor and encourage a heart. We are too busy being busy to really be busy. That’s the truth of the matter. Let me tell ya’–we’ve taken the last few months and allowed the world around us to come in and dissect us like a bunch of frogs. They’ve looked at our insides and concluded that we’re pretty messed up. Well, so be it. Truth is, everybody sitting in this room could tell a nice story about Gramps–and a bad story about him. He wasn’t very bigoted but he was impatient with children. I once heard him tell a mother of a fussy child at the grocery store, ‘Why don’t you leave that little brat home so the rest of us can enjoy squeezin’ our favorite loaf of bread?’ She was offended. But I will tell you–she is in this room today. Because less than six months later, when her husband died, Gramps was out in her driveway, shoveling snow so she could get to work. You see, it’s not about being right. It’s sure not about being wrong. As Gramps said in his note, it’s about keepin’ the thing going until it’s over. He did not lay down for a nap on Thursday thinking he was going to die. Never crossed his mind. That’s the way it should be.”

The service concluded and the folks trailed off to the cemetery to lay the old man to rest. It was decided by the city council to leave the cabin as it was for a while, so people could go out to visit and reminisce.

For the next two months there was a sweet spirit of revival that swept across Garsonville. Not a “Holy Ghost shouting” kind, but a gentle reflection, where everybody asked themselves, “Am I starting? Am I done? Don’t rightly know. Guess I’ll go on.”

 

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PoHymn: A Rustling in the Stagnant … August 24th, 2016

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PoHymn Mortal

The Dignity of Every Mortal

I always flip so I won’t flop

I continue the drip until my last drop

I dream ’til I smile to forget for a while

That I am a jerk, churning out work

 

I seek for a sign to challenge the Divine

Wondering why, yet failing to try

I simply maintain and choose to refrain

Life is the same–I’m not to blame.

 

I yearn for a kiss–and then I miss

The lips of my steady, I’m never quite ready

To pucker and peck–oh, what the heck

It drives me insane, so then I complain.

 

I refuse to address my unholy mess

But grumble at others, pronouncing my druthers

Looking for an excuse to justify my misuse

Master of my fate, unless it’s second-rate

 

So often caught and trapped in my thought

Perceiving myself wise, snagged by my lies

Yet humble becomes the heavenly portal

To save the dignity of every mortal.

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PoHymn: A Rustling in the Stagnant … March 30th, 2016

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PoHymn See Me Standing

See Me Standing Here

Does anyone see me standing here?

All alone, please draw near

I lack the will to strongly insist

Embrace my story and bring your twist

For lonely is never just being alone

But watching your soul turn into stone

Let me hear you speak a thought

Share the things you’ve been taught

Then linger for an extra space

Don’t rush away to join the race

I’m frightened, you see, of all that’s me

And me is all I ever see

Open my eyes to what is wise

Remove my mask and ugly disguise

Yes, I fool myself into believing

There is little power in receiving

So sweet and salty leave my taste

With sour and bitter the remaining waste

So I’m in here, hidden beneath the frown

Yearning for an up to displace my down

Please glance at me before you leave

Pardon this prisoner, grant a reprieve

God cannot give me what humans impart

Your flesh touching mine

Is what heals my heart.

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Jesonian: Good in Your Sight … March 8, 2015

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cute baby biggr border

Republicans and Democrats.

Religious and atheist.

Men and women.

Black and white.

Gay or straight.

We seem to live in a time when we love to square off against one another into camps of conflict. Anyone who suggests similarities between these warring compounds is considered to be quaint or foolish.

Trying to resolve the difficulty often places you in the center of the field of fire and therefore criticized by both sides.

One day Jesus stopped and breathed a public prayer. Actually, he wasn’t too fond of public prayer, warning that it could be a pretense. But on this day he felt it was important to make sure those around him understood his meaning. He thanked God that the heavenly Father had “hidden truth from the wise and prudent.”

That’s the way it is today. Some people think they’re wise and some people think they’re prudent. The wise people are proud because of what they know. The prudent folk tout what they believe.

And when knowledge meets belief, there’s an immediate conflict–because to some degree, all knowledge requires a certain amount of belief, and all of our beliefs should be challenged by knowledge.

But I guess it’s just easier to brag about being smart or brag about how you’re going to heaven.

Jesus said true knowledge is delivered to babes–God wanted it to be that way, and it was “good in His sight.”

Nobody wants to be a baby. It’s much more fun to brag about being wise or prudent. But for every piece of wisdom I gain, I must admit that it was   gained, which means at one time I did not have it.

So to some degree, I am perpetually ignorant, trying to move forward in my understanding. And for each time that I extol the value of prudence, I also have to accept that faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things unseen–or maybe not prudent.

It places me in a no-man’s land, where I am vulnerable to learning and dependent on mercy and grace.

I am a baby to my own planet. Any time I feel that I’ve achieved maturity and adulthood, I am always thrust back to the high chair, to be spoon-fed new knowledge, to reveal a fresh flavor of my faith.

How can we teach people to cease battling with one another over knowledge or belief instead of realizing that without having both, we are incomplete? Because every baby has to learn how the planet works and certainly is dependent on the love of a father.

  • Jesonian is when we’re not afraid to be babies.
  • Jesonian is when we abandon being wise or being prudent.

I am convinced that the truth about Republicans, Democrats, men, women, gay, straight, religious, atheist, black and white is yet to be fully ascertained.

I want to be there when the next shipment of revelation comes through, and instead of being entrenched, be ready, like a baby, to suckle the nourishment.

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