Assemble: (v) to fit together the separate component partsdictionary with letter A

When I was a young father walking through a toy store with my offspring, I had one peculiar horror that lay deep within my heart, constantly plaguing me with apprehension.

It was not the fact that my children were going to beg for toys; this is their God-given right. This terror was not based upon my unwillingness to turn them down and tell them the status of our budget or that their birthday was near and they should wait; that was my God-given right.

What scared me into beads of sweat was the possibility that one of my children would pick up a reasonably priced toy, well within budget, but displayed on the front of the box would be the three most dastardly words ever printed:

“Some assembly required.”

For the record, for all time and even for those folks who think I might be teachable–I am a klutz at putting things together.

There are occasions when changing the roll of toilet paper requires some reflection, space and maybe even a bit of consternation and prayer.

I can read directions, but I can never locate A on the object, where it’s supposed to meet up with B, thus making me unable to move on to C.

  • I have tried reading the directions slowly.
  • I have had someone read them to me, trying to comprehend them from a distance.

It doesn’t make any difference.

Whenever I see a set of directions, what I view is an upset of directions.

I have disappointed my children as they watched their father fumble with pieces. Matter of fact, one day, with a particularly notorious bicycle, which touted that it was “only seven pieces,” I took so long that my son fell asleep on the couch.

And you want to know the worst part? I always eventually have to turn it over to someone else.

I do not even achieve the satisfaction, at the end of my arduous effort, of standing back and pointing to the object of my frustration and proclaiming victory. Someone mercifully steps in and takes the pain from my fevered grasp and relieves my agony.

Some people are good at one thing and some at another.

Yes. if I were ever stranded on a desert isle, my greatest problem would not be maintaining my calm or industriously finding materials to provide me shelter.

I would just have no freaking idea … how to turn it into a hut.


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Assault: (n) a physical attackdictionary with letter A

Every time I’ve cut myself, there’s been blood, treatment and eventually, healing.

It’s a good process.

The body seems to know how to mend itself quite well.

It astounds me that we have more concern for our physical well-being than we do for the cuts that happen to our emotions, our soul and even our minds.

They don’t heal as well.

Since they are not exposed to the air and sunlight for nurturing, they can hide away in a cave and fester with infection.

There are human beings who believe that as long as they don’t produce physical harm to another traveler, that they are not guilty of assault.

But I have found a simple formula to determine whether I am of value to others, or a source of pain–be it accidental. May I share it with you?

1. Unless people are hurting themselves or destroying their lives, bring something to their situation that’s edifying instead of your own opinion, which could easily be disproven as faulty through time.

2. Never assume that the words of anger or frustration spoken against you by friends or strangers are really meant for you, but instead, intended for someone who is not there–or even a “god” who has fallen out of their favor.

3. Always try to close every conversation with a piece of hope.

It has become my great concern in this latter part of my human journey to make sure that first and foremost, above all things…that I try to do no harm.


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Assassin: (n) a murderer of an important person in a surprise attack for political or religious reasons.dictionary with letter A

In no other holiday do we have such a tidal wave of emotional upheaval as occurs during Easter week. In the course of four days, we commemorate the arrest, trial, death, burial and resurrection of a Savior. It is a collage of emotions that normally would be spread over a longer period of time.

But during the Easter season, my thoughts always go to the relationship between Judas and Jesus.

Historically, we have begun to call Judas “Iscariot,” which is the Greek word for “assassin.” Also, through the passage of time, Jesus of Nazareth has gained a different surname, being referred to as “Christ.”

But at one time, these two men walked together as friends–both human, both encountering similar situations, but coming to completely different conclusions.

Therefore, for all posterity, one will be an assassin and the other, the anointed one of God.

Some people think this isn’t even fair. They demand a more balanced approach.

But Judas made one very major mistake, and it is the same error that causes every assassin to become notorious instead of glorious.

Every assassin gets in a hurry.

Deep in their minds, they have an agenda which they feel needs to be performed, and because of their impatience, they lose their own souls.

Whether it’s Lee Harvey Oswald, John Wilkes Booth, Sirhan Sirhan, or Judas of Kerioth–known as “the Iscariot”–in all cases, they fail to realize that time, circumstances and the need for perseverance are often much better eliminators of riff-raff than a bullet or a betrayal.

Judas was an assassin. He was an impatient Jew who was tired of Roman rule and was angry that Jesus did not share similar vengeance in his heart.

It was a dastardly choice.

Unfortunately … eternal.


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Assailant: (n) a person who physically attacks anotherdictionary with letter A

It happens every time without fail–especially when I’m watching some sort of special broadcast about the assassination of John Kennedy or Abraham Lincoln.

It’s the idea that one isolated human being can literally become pickled in his or her own thoughts, leaving such a sense of nastiness inside that the poison must be released in some manner to keep them from disintegrating right before our eyes.

When my children were much younger, one of them asked me why people did such evil deeds to one another–why an assailant would viciously and brutally mutilate another human being.

I gave a very simple answer–one I hoped my son’s young mind could understand.

“You’ve got to take care of your crazies.”

Whether we want to admit it or not, every family has one crazy, and maybe more. It’s just a human being who’s born a bit emotionally mis-shapen, spiritually vacant and mentally twisted.

This kind of individual never learns to absorb the beauty which comes in life and is stored deep inside of us, to protect us from the despair that often fallows.

If we don’t watch out for the crazies we know, and instead pretend it’s none of our business, we will soon find ourselves interviewed by CNN, asking us when we knew that our loved one or friend had taken a turn for the worse.

What would have happened if the sane people in Lee Harvey Oswald’s life had quietly cornered him and disembowled his hatred and diffused the ticking bomb in his heart?

What if the family and friends of John Wilkes Booth had kept him busy with conversations, or even family projects, which would have preoccupied his mind, away from the insanity of killing Lincoln?

What if the young friends of Adolph Hitler had curtailed his insanity in the early days of his youth, using peer pressure, intimidation and positive reinforcement?

It’s just too easy to call evil “satanic” and to refer to everything good as falling from the heavens and the hands of God.

We have a responsibility to extol the good and the best in one another and smother the monsters inside the crazies of life–before they have a chance to grow.


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Ass: (n) a foolish or stupid persondictionary with letter A

  • I have been foolish in my life. It did not make me an ass.
  • I have been stupid–many times. Once again, not an ass.

I would have to disagree that merely making mistakes or lacking the memory to recall how to avoid them classifies any human being as an ass.

What makes us into asses is the desire to make ourselves look good, even when we are foolish and stupid.

Arrogance is what “assifies” the human being.

Quickly admitting foolishness is beneficial. Being willing to attest to your stupidity can be downright endearing.

But insisting that your particular rendition of the truth–which has proven to be riddled with falseness–is still viable and worthy of consideration, is what places you in the position of being an ass–and needing to be kicked there.

Now there is another word, which is “asshole.”

If you will allow me to put forth my personal interpretation of that word, it would be as follows:

Since an ass is an individual who becomes prideful over his or her foolishness or stupidity, an asshole is someone who decides to preach and teach their arrogance…to others.

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Aspirin: (n) a tablet containing aspirin.dictionary with letter A

Since life can sometimes be a headache and such discomfort is a real pain…well, in the head, I have occasionally pursued the consumption and absorption of aspirin into my body to try to alleviate the malady.

Sometimes it has worked. And when it has, it nearly seems to be a “Jesus-moment-of-miracle-healing-the-blind-man.”

Then there are times when the pain is so severe–such as an abscessed tooth–that the aspirin doesn’t do much except to dull the agony and give you a minor LSD trip.

Also the problem with aspirin is that it can make your stomach bleed.

Several years ago, when I was younger than I am now (which is customary) I went through an eight-day period when I wasn’t getting much sleep and was achy, so I started popping aspirin like they were Skittles. A few days later, I started getting light-headed, weak and my vision was impaired to the point that I couldn’t stand to be in bright lights. My heart raced.

So I finally cruised off to the hospital–to discover that I had lost a lot of blood. The volume was so low that they feared I had some form of cancer. I explained that I had been taking a lot of aspirin, but they were convinced there was more to it than that. But after a very brief stay, I got better.

They examined all of my internal stuff and decided that I had just taken too much aspirin, and nearly used up all my blood.

So since that day, I have told people that I am allergic to aspirin. I’m probably not.

I am probably the typical human being who is, and always will be, allergic to way too much of a good thing.



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Aspiration: (n) a hope or ambition of achieving something.dictionary with letter A

“Hope deferred makes the heart sick.”

I’ve always found that proverb to be deep and meaningful. For I believe we live in a time when hope is touted as a very powerful emotional yearning which draws us closer to our true goals.

Honestly, I don’t think anything could be further from the truth.

There are two aspects of human behavior which I think are dangerous and need to be handled carefully: complaining and aspirations.

They appear to be polar opposites–with complaining fostering the idea of negativity and aspirations touting that they are extraordinarily positive. But they are actually the result of one another, when we grow tired of pursuing each one.

  • People who complain eventually grow weary of their own negativity and start grabbing onto anything they can aspire toward for gratification.
  • And people with great aspirations soon run into reality and find themselves complaining.

There is an amazing holy balance available to us, when we avoid complaining, which is a cancer for creativity, by refusing to pursue unrealistic aspirations, which is truly the Petrie dish for all sorts of negative emotions.

What should our profile be? How can we look ahead with great hope without unrealistic aspirations?

I think it’s all found in the power of the concept of counting the cost. When you take a good, hard look at what you have, what you’re willing to do and what assistance you might require, you come up with a factual assessment of your actual.

If you ignore that and start aspiring to more possibilities than actually exist within the realm of your scope, then you normally end up looking and feeling like a fool.

Likewise, if you refuse to take this personal inventory and just complain about what you seem to lack, you never achieve any aspiration to get you down the road to at least get something started.

Of the three great virtues–faith, hope and love–hope, or aspiration, certainly takes the third seat.

Hope is the passenger we are allowed to take along with us once our love has set the mood for our faith to function.

Then our aspiration is grounded in reality … instead of fairy tales.

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