PoHymn: A Rustling in the Stagnant…February 11, 2015

Jonathots Daily Blog

(2500)

PoHymn Feb 11

Nearly seven years ago I began this daily essay called Jonathots–2,500 entries. I would like to dedicate today’s offering to all the little voices I have cried out into the wilderness.

I Write

I write because I am wrong.

I am wrong because I am not right.

I scribble, searching for truth.

Truth scurries from my pen, mocking me.

I persevere because I require a mission.

I seek a mission to learn the power to persevere.

I question, starving for answers.

I want answers to justify my questions.

I believe in God because I don’t want to give up on people.

I study people. They are the breath of God.

I love my neighbor because hate is exhausting.

I am still exhausted because my love is incomplete.

I laugh to avoid crying.

I cry because the laughing fails to heal.

I have stopped judging because the blowback is ferocious.

And being ferocious only scares the infirmed, who need my gentleness.

I write to question the wrong.

I am wronged to have reasons to write.

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Come Out … May 1, 2012

(1,501) 

You are living in Paris, France, in 1942.

You have just finished your morning croissant and tea, and you step out of your house into a world filled with huge red flags sporting swastikas.The Nazis are in control. The Nazis are everywhere. The Nazis seem powerful–hell, invincible. The Nazis insist they make sense, so you are gradually lured into accepting the perceived sensibility. The Nazis … well, the Nazis are Nazis.

What should you do?

Move ahead in time. Conservative, liberals, Puritans, Epicureans, religious, atheist, Republican, Democrat, “innies” and “outies.” The world is determined to start a gang, get as many members as are willing to submit to the rules, and reign with power and intimidation as necessary, in order to achieve the agenda.

It never makes it right.

How about 1958 in Birmingham, Alabama? It was not only improper, but illegal for a black person to partake of a white person’s drinking fountain. The rule of the day was wrong–but that didn’t make any difference, because it was not only the law but also the custom, which was also the preference–which ended up being the acceptable. But it wasn’t really acceptable.

There is no way to be part of this world and ever find a path of righteousness. Simultaneously, you can’t hate the world around you and think that you are enacting the love of God. What is right? What can you do if you are living in Nazi-occupied France in 1942? How about Jim-Crow-Alabama in 1958? Vietnam War era 1969? Watergate, 1972? Moral majority–1985? Clinton and Monica, 1998? Weapons of mass destruction, 2003? Banks, finance corporations and lending institutions–2008?

Don’t you think these are good questions? Because it doesn’t make any difference whether the goal of your organization is to reestablish purity or if the aspiration or your particular clique is to push forward some more liberal agenda. In both cases a standard is being established which alienates human beings, and therefore will historically be foolish.

I have friends who hate the world. I have friends in the world who hate the church. I know churches who hate sinners. I know sinners who think they despise God. All of these friends make their cases, scream their arguments and at the end of the rant, are all wrong. Because here’s the truth: NoOne is better than anyone else.

Any movement, doctrine, philosophy or disposition that mocks and contradicts that concept is in itself going to be the source of ridicule within a generation. In other words, stupidity seems powerful until truth sheds light on its weaknesses and leaves it naked and barren of purpose.The only principle that remains steadfast–since the beginning of time– is NoOne is better than anyone else.

So if you’re sitting in some religious conclave, deciding that some individuals are inferior in God’s eyes because you have discovered the essence of doctrinal supremacy, you are wrong and will be left desolate. The only truth that has lasted since Adam started his gardening is that we’re all in this together and separating ourselves off into ANY kind of difference only creates conflict, which when resolved, makes the combatants look like imbeciles.

I love the church. I love the world. I love Republicans. I love Democrats. I love Christians, Jews, Hindus, Muslims and anyone else that has human skin and a soul. And what do I mean by love?

  1. I will leave you alone to the evaluation of our heavenly Father.
  2. If you insist on being detrimental to humanity, I will defeat you by continuing to enact that “NoOne is better than anyone else.”
  3. I will use the greatest weapon available to achieve those purposes by instituting good cheer in my own life and allowing Jesus to overcome the world.
  4. I will come out and be separate, refusing to participate in any endeavor which targets human beings for scrutiny instead of embracing them as brothers and sisters.
  5. I will honor only one tradition–my space is sacred as long as your space is, too.
  6. I will undermine efforts to create any kind of super-race, super-cult, super-party or super-god which is determined to alienate instead of rejuvenate.
  7. I will outlast you.

I have friends, members of my family, acquaintances and notables in our society who all believe the best path is to give in to the present insanity. They are Frenchmen, devouring their croissants, and reluctantly–but still faithfully–saluting Hitler. They are trying to get by through giving in. They see a world that has gone crazy, and are assuming that some form of lunacy is necessary in order to maintain integrity. They are surrounded by tanks, flags and despots who really have no idea what to do next–yet they believe they are in the hands of the powerful.

The United States of America is one major disaster away from bankruptcy, yet we still continue to listen to our economists, politicians, intellectuals and pundits offer their predictable opinions with little revision. As Jesus said about the Pharisees, you should give them respect for their position, but for God’s sakes, don’t listen to anything they say.

Hear, hear. We desperately need some intelligent people of fortitude who will cease to argue with the world, but at the same time, will come out from among the confused horde and be separate. Is this a popular message? No. Quite the contrary. “Popular” is what gets us in trouble. This is a voice crying in the wilderness, saying, “Prepare the way of the Lord and make His path straight.” It is a voice that refuses to give into the voice of repetition simply because it’s so loud.

It is a voice that holds ONE truth to be self-evident: NoOne is better than anyone else.

 

  

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

Fifteen Hundred … April 30, 2012

(1,500) 

In Los Angeles

Four years and forty days ago, we brought forth to this world a new website, dedicated to the proposition that “NoOne is better than anyone else.”

Too pretentious??

Well, fifteen hundred daily columns IS an accompolishment. Just to give you perspective, fifteen hundred jonathots is the equavalent of ten novels, twenty-five screenplays, forty self-help books and six thousand personal letters informing you of the antics of your ever-expanding off-spring. I certainly did not anticipate ever hitting fifteen hundred–and I do recall that when I reached one thousand, I was convinced I had climbed Mt. Everest. (Obviously, I had not peaked.)  

What have I learned? Here it is: I need to constantly retrieve from my own being an awareness of who I am and where I’m going. Otherwise, I become predictable, socially and culturally amalgamated and devoid of fresh-bread inspiration. To escape such a dreary profile, I have developed four questions I ask myself each and every week. I would like to share them with you on this fifteen hundredth essay, for your own consideration. I will then tell you what my answers are. I would be very curious about your responses.

  1. What do I know?
  2. What do I want?
  3. What do I fear?
  4. What do I believe?

I think you will find that within that quartet of inquisitors, there is a good barometer for the atmosphere you have created for yourself. So on this fifteen hundredth jonathot, I am going to go ahead and answer those questions for myself–and hopefully, for your enlightenment (or at least, amusement).

1. What do I know? People and God are inseparable. Likewise, God and people. If you try to block them away from each other, you will find yourself gradually turning into a curmudgeon, convinced of your faith in the Almighty as you become more and more cynical about one of His favorite creations. It would be similar to going to Colonel Sanders’ house and requesting a roast beef alternative for Sunday dinner.

2. What do I want? I want to be prepared to matter in the present. The past is significant because it grants me insight on foibles. The future is completely up to me; so therefore, until I determine my own motivations, tomorrow is cloudy, to say the least. What I want to do is matter in the present. For instance, as I dictate this jonathots, I am driving on I-5 in Los Angeles, California, backed up in traffic–a condition which seems to be mandatory as a cultural experience from the Chamber of Commerce. So obviously, I want to talk to you about what’s in my heart, but I also want to pay attention to traffic–so that my heart can continue to beat. What is useless is to be frustrated that I am stalled or to wonder how long such a delay will continue. In fact, that’s why I saved my writing session for this drive–so I can stay busy with my mind so it doesn’t flip-flop on me and become my worst enemy. Yes, I want to be prepared to matter in the present. Otherwise, I will overlook my opportunity to touch your life and also rob myself of the benefits of such an experience.

3. What do I fear? I fear a piece of personal dishonesty being disclosed because I failed to be candid. It’s really our only danger, folks. If we have a pure heart and we haven’t tried to deceive ourselves or other people, we don’t have to go into the great press of humanity nervously twitching, wondering when we will be discovered for the charlatans we are. Now, the first time I said something about myself in candor, I was embarrassed, apprehensive and filled with trepidation. I thought the world was going to end because people would know how frivolous and weak I could be. Yet, rather than warranting ridicule, my confession was received with delight, understanding and a bit of reciprocation from those around me, who felt liberated to be equally as transparent. Fear is always born of a lack of love, and a lack of love is always birthed through not caring enough about yourself to be truthful.

4. And finally, what do I believe? Earth needs my attention and heaven is unknown, but by all reports seems well-staffed. Since God made BOTH heaven and earth, I just find it best to work on the turf that is beneath my feet. The only time I get in trouble in my life is when I start looking to the future, searching for destiny instead of opportunity and wondering whether eternity will afford me my due reward. What do I believe in? The joy, contentment, peace, understanding, compassion and silliness that I feel right now. If God thinks He can do better, let Him bring it on. I welcome the expansion.

So there you go.

I will continue to parade my thoughts and feelings in front of you, drenching them in veracity (as much as I know) and salting them with inspiration.I have found that trying to separate my heart from my soul makes me an emotional wreck. Divorcing my spirit from my mind causes me to become mentally dwarfed, incapacitated from achieving renewal. And disconnecting my mind from my body is like walking around in a continual human texting activity, oblivious to the world around me–about to run into a wall.

So here’s to fifteen hundred days we’ve had together. (And let me tell you–I’ve always respected you in the morning.)

And no matter how many more there may be, always realize that you can get in touch with yourself by finding out what you know, what you want, what you fear and what you truly believe. 

  

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

Not Really Evil … April 29, 2012

(1,499) 

In Los Angeles

When two dreams are separated and ignored, what lies between is a nightmare–a surrender to sleep, devoid of rest.

Such was my life for a season. About twenty years ago I stopped traveling. I ceased writing. I refrained from sharing. I removed creativity, suffocating my dreams. I settled into the San Francisco Bay area in a motel room with my wife and three children and attempted forced domestication. I worked the “dead man’s shift” at the front desk of the same motel to cover my expenses.

I was at that position late one night when he walked in the door. I had heard rumors from the maids and maintenance staff that he had checked into room 214 and was planning on staying a while, but it seemed so unlikely that I dismissed it as idle chatter. But all at once, in the night hours, he came strolling in, looking for a book of matches.

It was Evil Knievel. I didn’t know much about him. I mean, I had a cursory understanding of his fame and the bold endeavors he had undertaken by leaping over things with his motorcycle. So I was a bit starstruck and dumbfounded at the same time. I fumbled around, found him some matches and he stood there, staring at me, saying nothing. It was very intimidating.

I wanted to speak or maybe even ask a question, but each idea I formed in my mind was more stupid and comical than the previous, so I pretended to be working on some figures behind the desk–as he continued to stare. He only stayed for ten minutes. During that time he asked me three questions.

1. “Have you always been fat?” (That one was easy. I said “yes” and then began a sentence to explain, trailing off prior to verb usage.)

2. “Does the motel offer anything other than Danish for breakfast?” (Another easy answer. We didn’t. We wouldn’t. We can’t. And we shouldn’t. All the excuses I had been provided.)

3. And finally, he said, “What’s your name and what in the hell are you doing here?” (He tricked me with a two-part question. Through my flustered condition, I still was able to retain my name–Jonathan Richard Cring–but I was not sure what I was doing there, though I couldn’t confirm it was hell. But in a strange burst of boldness, I flipped it. “Let me ask you, Mr. Knievel. What in the hell are YOU doing here?”)

He gave a quick laugh which turned into a smoker’s cough, with a long clearing of the throat. “Damned good question, my man,” he said. He turned on his heel, walked out, disappeared around the corner and I never saw him again. About three weeks later he checked out of the motel and I followed his career enough to know that he had a couple of come-backs over the next few years before he took his final leap over the River Styx into eternity.

But in that brief visitation with this man, who had achieved such great fame and now was discussing breakfast choices, I realized that I had escaped down a hole simply because it appeared in front of me. I had decided that traveling around the country with my family, sharing a message of hope and love, was a bizarre thing for a father to do and that I was tired of being out of the box. I wanted to be normal. So I settled in and began to live in a motel, which in itself was extraordinarily abnormal. So here I was, trying to please an existing social system that was not of my heart or making, and even though I had forsaken all of my sense of calling and the energy which rattled my soul to excellence, I had still fallen short of the demands of my culture. What a fool. Just like Evil Knievel, I was hiding away because the hideaway was made available.

It was shortly after that visit that I packed my bags up and took my family back out on the road to reestablish our identity, such as it was. Because life does not consist of a marching army of conformed troops adorned in the same uniform. Life is a personalized journey through a wilderness, where survival is contingent on using what is available while maintaining the best attitude you possibly can.

Evil walked through my door that night–but he really wasn’t so bad. He wasn’t mean. Evil wasn’t out to get me. The main thing I will remember about Evil is that he was lonely. Loneliness is what we’re left with when we follow a voice that is not our own, which ends up not being God.

For after all, respectability is achieved when my needs are covered and you are happy over my choices. Contentment is when my needs are supplied … and I am happy with my choices.

  

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

My First San Diego… April 15, 2012

(1,485) 

We live our lives peering into a mirror instead of occupying a small, glass box, viewed as an experiment by a great white Father, King of the Cosmos.

What we do matters. What we decide is our own and therefore generates our own conclusions. We are not searching for God‘s will for ou lives, but rather, pursuing a plan that helps us uncover the will of God. I learned this early.

Matter of fact, arriving in California yesterday, it brought back memories of the first time I made the  journey to the Golden State. I was thirty-four years old. Even though I had crisscrossed the country many times in my twenties, I had never actually made it all the way to California, only achieving Washington and Oregon–nearby touchstones.

It was a journey with my family in a green utility van that finally brought me to San Diego, California. We didn’t know anyone, so we set out to try to establish some contacts with churches that might be interested in having in some vagabond troubadours. We found such a place. Arrangements were made and we drove out into the countryside of San Diego County, arriving at the church about an hour ahead of time so we could set up and prepare.

Traveling with me were my three sons. One of them had been in a hit-and-run car accident four years previously and was incapacitated and needed to be carried from place to place. The other two boys were fourteen and nine years old, and had recently begun playing instruments, creating our family band. It was the 1980’s, and they were kids and wanted to dress like kids instead of Jesuit priests. So at first glance, they looked like adolescent version of the Bee Gees. I saw nothing wrong with it. They wore leather pants (which were really plastic, since we couldn’t afford real leather) and glitter ties, which certainly made them look like Hollywood pimps.

I was so accustomed to seeing them dress this way that I didn’t give it a second thought. But upon arriving at the church, one of the young men–a leader in the congregation–greeted us and apparently became upset with how worldly my sons were adorned. Matter of fact, he took it upon himself to talk to the minister about asking us to leave and refusing to allow us to present our program. You see, I didn’t know this because the pastor of the church, being a man of character, decided not to cave in but to pursue his original decision to welcome us to the fold. No, it was AFTER the delightful evening of sharing in music, word and ministry, while out to dinner with the pastor, that he explained what had transpired.

We became friends. Over the next seven years, I returned to that church eight times to give my heart, soul and care to its inhabitants. Every time we came, the fellowship was richer and the experience deeper. Matter of fact, the young man who originally objected to our first appearance, nearly nixing our efforts, found himself in a time of need during one of our visits and I was granted the privilege of helping him reestablish his faith.

As I drove into California yesterday and arrived in San Diego, that story came back to my mind. For if we begin to believe that we have lost control of our lives and must merely react to propriety or the whim of loud voices around us, we sacrifice the greatest gift that human beings possess–the free will to redecorate until we get it right.

Yet caution has replaced experimentation; following the rules is more important than creativity and trying to find the elusive will of God often leaves us stagnant–in an attitude of indecision rendering us insipid at the point of contact. Yesterday I thought about what would have happened if that pastor so many years ago had given into the pressure and fear of one member of his congregation. We would never have had the friendship, the countless hours of fellowship–and we even would have lost the chance to help our critic find his peace in his hour of need.

So I don’t know what’s going to happen in San Diego, but I know this–it will be a mission of my own making and desire rather than tip-toeing through the tulips, hoping to never disappoint the distraught gardener.

It’s my life. I thank God for it. I welcome God into it.

I am prepared to surprise His Highness. 

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

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.

Filmy… April 14, 2012

(1,484) 

I have concluded that naïve is the word we use to describe someone when our more courtly nature  restrains us from referring to them as “stupid.” So let me begin this essay today by being generous to myself and saying that I am often naïve. I make no apologies for it. Those who fear naivety often slide down the slope into the cesspool of “jaded.”

For instance, I was naïve at eighteen years of age when I thought I had the right to compose songs. I was equally as naïve when I moved to Nashville,Tennessee, assuming that the music industry would be enhanced and enriched by my presence. Can I be candid with you and tell you I was naïve to think that a man who wanted to make music could also fund the needs of four sons? I was very naïve when I went on the road with my family in 1984 to tour the country in a beat-up van that was barely suitable for utility trips to the junkyard. In 1996 I was naïve to consider writing symphonic music because I had just partnered with a dear lady who was more better acquainted with the downbeat than I was.

And in 2005, when my oldest son came to me talking about the movie industry and his desire to become more intricately involved in making independent films, I was very naïve to think I could write screenplays. Of course, I had written books; I had written stage plays. I had been involved in many video productions during my stay in Shreveport, Louisiana. I had been on the set of movies in the midst of my experience in Nashville,Tennessee. But there was a certain kind of audacious innocence that prodded me on—to embrace the notion that I was capable of writing a screenplay.

I purchased the Final Draft software, studied the format, read a few examples and then took an idea that I thought was going to become a novel, and instead, approached it as a script for a movie. It was a ferocious story—one that many of my friends of more tender conscience considered to be a bit risqué for a Christian writer.

(Before we go any further, let me make something clear. I am not a Christian writer. I am not even a writer who happens to be a Christian. The two callings are quite separate in my mind and each demands its own level of consecration. To be a Christian is to honor the lifestyle of Jesus of Nazareth, surnamed the Christ, and to hold fast to the principle that “NoOne is better than anyone else.” Being a writer is not merely an ability to put words on paper or even to form amazingly structured sentences. There are copy-editors who can always edit your work if, at the heart of the endeavor lies a great, truthful idea. Writers are not scribblers nor are they adventurers in adjectives and adverbs. They are people with a constant flow of ideas which never turns off, leaving them at the mercy of perpetual inspiration. Forgive my digression.) 

So I decided to take this story, which I entitled Lenders Morgan–named after a small fictional town in Southern Ohio–and transform it into a screen production. It was the fable of a girl corralled in this little burg, named Taylor Feazle. She was plagued by a bit of naivete of her own. When she was lured by an equally inexperienced boy from her town, who had personal demons of his own, into what started out as a playful flirt—the two lost children found themselves entangled in a web of adult mayhem.

It was an agonizing story to write, and there are those who would consider it impossible to receive. But I loved it. It was raw, real and filled with human character “gone awry,” which can potentially drop each and every one of us into the pit of the pathetic.

I finished writing the screenplay and as is often the case, it was much too short. So I jumped back in and wrote a couple more scenes that were delightfully enhancing and ended up with my first screenplay—and my first collaboration with my son and daughter-in-law. It won entrance to many film festivals.

Honestly, many of you reading my jonathots would probably not enjoy this movie. The movie industry that we are familiar with has fallen into two ridiculous syndromes: (a) Let’s write about something so extreme that people will be shocked into purchasing a ticket. Arriving at the theater, we will poach additional money off of them for candy and soft drinks.  (b) Let us write a story and then sterilize it so that it will be suitable for the entire family and won’t offend any group whatsoever. I must tell you that both of those approaches fail to deliver the kind of emotional impact that art is intended to produce.

In sharp contrast, I have four guiding lights I use when I find myself in the blessed position of constructing a story which will end up on the screen:

1. Truth on the inward parts. It’s what the Bible says God demands. It’s also what good writers must produce in order to continue their faithful journey. I can’t write trying to sensationalize my plot, nor can I write with any clarity when I attempt to spic-n-span my characters to please a Mr. Clean community. There’s truth—and truth comes from honoring your characters and letting them tell their own stories, leaving the conclusion to an unfolding provided for the viewer’s discretion.

2. Redeem whoever repents. I think it is  important in a movie to reward human evolution towards intelligence and maturity with the blessedness of redemption. I am sick of calling movies “realistic” because they focus on some obscure occurrence that might happen one time in a million, expanding its importance beyond any reasonableness. If my characters repent, they should be given redemption.

3. For those characters who do not transform, I feel it is my job as a writer to “let it play out” to a natural conclusion instead of involving angels and demons. Often the greatest curse a character can have is being forbidden to enter the “heaven on earth” that he or she desires.

4. And finally, I give all of my characters free will to determine their end and their means—just like real people. I hate it when a movie manipulates the ending to please the numbed senses of the populace. My endings are not a surprise; they’re just not predictable.

So I wish to thank God, my sense of naivety, my son and daughter-in-law, and the hundreds and thousands of people who have viewed my writing and been impacted by the message. It was a season of growth for me, when I allowed the sense of being a writer—and that is possessing an ever-flowing basket of ideas—to spill out on paper through the performances of aspiring actors and onto the silver screen.

I thought you might find it interesting. And if you didn’t, be grateful. It isn’t a continuing series.

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

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.

Here You Add–November 13, 2011

(1,329)

She was sad, having absolutely no idea how to rise from the ashes of a devastating relationship which had produced three young whelps who had plans of their own which certainly did not include her well-earned Master’s Degree in Music and virtuoso ability on the oboe. She sat in a room with me, having fresh tears on her cheeks, the veteran of an abusive situation with the man who was the father of her children, but certainly not the husband of her dreams, leaving her financially destitute, with no recourse but to find the best job possible in the quickest way possible. She said, “I guess I’ll never play oboe again.”

I was saddened, alarmed, infuriated, passionate and bewildered–all in the same moment. “Why?” I inquired.

“Because I have messed up so badly and I need to be a mother to these children and make money as quickly as possible, and that just doesn’t have anything to do with blowing through a horn.”

She was speaking conventional wisdom, which is great if you’re going to a convention, but usually doesn’t do much for the personal welfare of an individual human being. It made me think about my situation–not because I was trying to be selfish, but because I realized that the purpose of having a clean emotional slate is to make you able to evaluate what you’ve really got and muster a thankful thinking that allows you to take your mustard seed of ability and faith and plant it in the right direction. 

I had been successful doing things that were musical and had achieved some prowess with writing. Now I wondered if I could compose music for the oboe and take this dear woman’s abilities and keep them moving forward, generating some finance for her family and also producing some new possibilities for my own career. I prepared myself for the multiplication of talents.

The reason most people never multiply their talents is because they’re unwilling to admit they have talent. Why? Because the admission of talent brings forth two crazy “r’s” in our lives.  The first one if responsibility.  If I have a talent, it’s safe to assume I’m responsible to do something with it instead of burying it in the ground or hiding it under a bushel. Yes, most people “bushel their talent” because the responsibility of using it is so frightening that they would rather pretend they weren’t granted such agility. 

Because the second “r” is rejection. What happens if you share your talent and people tell you you’re not very good? What if you decide to live off your talent and the daily wage necessary to sustain life doesn’t come trickling in? Yes, responsibility and rejection often keep us from admitting we have the talent–and the lack of confessing our gift eliminates the possibility of expanding it and multiplying it, to foster new areas.

I had written gospel music; I had written plays. I had written a few books and I was working on a novel. Could I have the faith, with my little mustard seed, to believe that I could write music for oboe with a symphonic bend, that would allow this dear woman to continue her work in a craft that brought her joy, so that raising her children would be a pleasant experience instead of an adult burden?

The power of discovering your mustard seed of talent is that you no longer have to convince yourself that God has blessed you. The only challenge that remains is how far you can stretch that blessing before it breaks. 

I asked her if she wanted to work with me. That was fifteen years ago–two novels, seven books, fourteen CD’s, eleven symphonies and seventeen screenplays completed.

Once you free your spirit of the burden of unrequited emotions, your brain becomes thankful and a mind of gratitude develops the faith to use the mustard seed of talent, to launch out in trust with what you have and in the process, avenues appear for potential multiplication.

I do not know what I would have done that day if Janet Clazzy had shared her burden about her life and I had been emotionally bound up, unaware of what capacity was within me, distrustful of being grateful about my life, and had not already learned to plant my mustard seed into the ground to let it grow. But because I had gone through the “here you go,” the “here you got,” the “here you adopt” and the “here you adapt” phases,  by the grace of God, I was ready for “here you add.”

I sat down at a keyboard and started writing music that we will be sharing in front of a congregation even this very day.

Fresh things don’t happen if we allow our beliefs to become stale. Joy is not spawned from trepidation. And talent does not overtake us–but is taken over by our desire to believe that we can actually contribute something of quality to human life around us.

I am so glad she didn’t quit playing the oboe.  Aren’t you? I am so glad she learned how to conduct a symphony orchestra, and began one that reached tens of thousands of people in Tennessee. And I am so glad that she is sitting right here with me now, typing this document as my friend and co-producer of all sorts of new ideas.

If you want to have good spiritual and mental health, you need to stop being afraid of the responsibility and rejection that often accompany talent–because burying your talent in the ground only makes it invisible to the masses.

You still know it’s there.

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

Here comes Christmas! For your listening pleasure, below is Manger Medley, Jonathan’s arrangement of Away in the Manger, which closes with him singing his gorgeous song, Messiah.  Looking forward to the holidays with you!

 

Jonathan sings “Let”

 

Jonathan Sings “Spent This Time”

 

Jonathan and his partner, Janet Clazzy, play “The Call”

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