Crucial

Crucial: (adj) extremely important

I’m not sure I am qualified to determine what is crucial in my life.

I know each one of us relishes our independence and being free of interference from others.

But there are times when I live too close to my own skin to be objective about my person.

Why? Because sometimes I want to be comfortable instead of motivated. Other times I want to be busy instead of resting—because I fear that my brain will talk to me too much if I’m sitting still.

And there’s a constant seepage of my childhood training dribbling into my contemporary brain, often creating conflict—because after all, my parents, who taught me that childhood curriculum, did not have all the information we have today.

Am I prepared to make a crucial decision about my own life?

I certainly don’t want to turn it over to chance.

I am fed up with those who suggest that prayer is when we release our burdens to the Almighty. Every time I give something over to God, it comes back, “Return to Sender.”

I know I’m supposed to be responsible for my own life.

But can I really be responsible for the truth that would make my life more valuable?

I wish I had a little warning tag attached to my wrist, reading: “If you find this human being and he seems a bit baffled, take him to a safe place and talk nice to him until he regains his senses.”

Yeah, that’s a pretty good idea.

What is crucial?

What is extremely important?

I guess what’s extremely important is realizing that I am not often qualified to actually know what is extremely important.

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Avarice

Avarice: (n) extreme greed for wealth or material gain.dictionary with letter A

It often leaves me baffled that we humans are completely aware of a truth which eludes us as we pursue our present fantasy.

Even though every mortal breathing air is fully aware that they won’t be able to take wealth and possessions with them. they still pursue it with such ferocity that they often become a cartoon version of themselves.

Maybe this humble writer can offer a 4-step process which might aid us all in discovering a more rational path:

  1. Once you have covered what you need, what you’re left with is what you want. And since our whim is so fickle, it’s probably a good idea to wait twenty-four hours before acquiring the present desire of our hearts. After that period has passed, we normally find that we don’t really want it quite as much, and certainly don’t need it.
  2. Even if you accumulate enough cash flow to get what you want, then you will be tempted to try to acquire what other people think you should want. If you become foolish enough to pursue this path, you will find that other people are actually spending your money for you. What a horrible sensation.
  3. So you should pause at this juncture, take a deep breath and realize that lobster costs more than chicken, therefore never meant to be eaten at all three square meals.
  4. Which leads to:
  • Meet your need
  • Plant a seed
  • Avoid greed

We should have what we need.

Maybe a little extra to invest in good ideas.

But never buy something because somebody thinks you should or to maintain the appearance of your status. 

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Armageddon

dictionary with letter A

Armageddon: (n) in the New Testament, the last battle between good and evil before the Day of Judgment.

I have this memory from Sunday School class of a verse in which God shares with Cain that the blood of his brother “cried unto God from the Earth.”

Pretty powerful image.

So every time I think about Armageddon, I’m a bit baffled.

I have never had a desire to go to the Holy Land–mainly because I do not believe that any particular parcel of dust and stone is holy–and especially when the landscape has been so stained by human blood, shed for meaningless doctrines and interpretations.

I am not certain that this position I have taken would be a popular one with those who want to go and see where Moses received the Ten Commandments, or where Jesus walked on the water.

But if I found myself in the unenviable position of being the President of the United States, I would never send any troops into a kingdom that is already crimson with blood.

I would never allow myself to be known as the conduit that initiated a battle over nothing, which destroys everything.

There isn’t much I can do about the Jews and the Muslims wanting to fight with each other. It is my belief that Jesus came to break truth off of tradition, so that we could be human beings with each other instead of tribes.

But I guess as long as we insist on honoring our cultures more than humanity, protecting our kin more than seeking reasons to call the people of the world our brothers and sisters, and debating the personality of a God which is far beyond our comprehension, we will gradually inch our way periodically towareds Armageddon.

When we do, look for me in the rear, turning around and heading the other direction.

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Apparatus

dictionary with letter A

Apparatus (n.) 1. the equipment needed for a particular activity or purpose. 2. a complex structure within an organization: the apparatus of government.

Did you read the definition??

There’s that horrible word which is plaguing our society, leaving us bewildered and baffled as to what to do next.

“Complex.”

There are folks who enjoy complexity. It makes them feel they are problem-solvers and more intelligent than their competition, or worse, that they have the inside track on how something or other works.

I’m not so sure I’ve ever used the word “apparatus.” To me, it conjures a vision of going to a store and asking for a specific mechanism which is only suited for one particular compartmentalized purpose.

I am incapable of this.

If the apparatus is that special, it really requires a qualified technician.

I learned a long time ago–just because I know what’s wrong and maybe even what needs to be done, it does not authorize me to be the doer.

Just because I know how to screw up my life does not mean I don’t need help to get it screwed back down.

And when it comes to matters of fixing things, repair, or even everyday tasks, I only implement three simple tools: a hammer, a pair of pliers and a screwdriver.

If for some reason, the task before me cannot be addressed with one of these tools, I need a professional to bring in an apparatus.

I’m even in a bit of terror when I use a plunger on a toilet. Why? Because after my work is complete and I’ve “plunged in,” as it were, then I have to flush it, and will find out if my labor was in vain.

Scary shit.

Literally.

So if you don’t mind, I don’t need an apparatus.

I will be willing to stand back and pay a craftsman to complete the repair … instead of having me create the need for more repair.

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Annals

dictionary with letter A

Annals: (pl. n.) a record of events, year by year.

Baffled.

I like that word.

Because when I admit I’m baffled, I’m not saying I’m angry, frustrated, or out to get anyone. I’m just literally confused by the information that’s been provided to me.

I think it’s necessary to become baffled; otherwise, you start accepting what’s around you as normal, rather than looking back in the annals of history, the annals of intelligence and the annals of progress, to remind yourself that this present fad will pass away, lending itself to the possibility of sanity.

Yes, I recently became baffled when I realized that most of my friends whom I’ve known over the years have become more stodgy as they’ve become older instead of pursuing the path of wisdom–garnering the very best of what we’ve learned and bringing that package to the new possibilities before us.

Let me ask you:

  • Why do we line up to imitate the parents we used to rebel against?
  • Why do we suddenly become the gossipers we used to despise and make fun of because of their nasty tongues and bitter faces?
  • Why do we insist that those who are younger than us are somehow stupid or are pursuing destruction, when that is exactly what we were accused of by the stick-in-the-mud adults around us when we were coming of age?

I know we extol the value of mathematics, technology, reading and science, but somewhere along the line we need to hire some good history teachers to remind each and every generation of the ridiculous trends that nearly took us into the pits of hell, burning away our opportunities.

The annals of history are not the memories of old people who have now died and are decaying in graves, but rather, the memories of fresh, young faces who believed they could live forever, and made some poor choices along with their good ones, and found out much too late that life is short.

So I would say to all my friends:

Ease up. The greatest thing you can acquire as you get older is an open mind. Maybe all the extra oxygen coming into that wider space could prevent some dementia.

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Anesthesia

dictionary with letter A

Anesthesia: (n.) drugs or gases designed to create insensitivity to pain prior to surgical procedure.

It occurred to me while standing in the breakfast aisle at the local supermarket.

In previous years, I complained about going shopping and having rude little children point, giggle and laugh at me simply because I was a fat man.

On this day, what crossed my mind, standing next to the Honey Nut Cheerios, was that I couldn’t remember the last time that I had such a confrontation with a little one in the marketplace. I wondered if it was because our children had gained a new sensitivity and had ceased to mock unusual people.

Without being too cynical, I seriously doubt that. There is certainly as much prejudice around today as in any other time.

So it baffled me a little bit.

But then I realized–the secret to this absence of ridicule did not lie in the children, but rather in me.

  • I had stopped looking for the pain.
  • I had ceased to probe the room for disapproval or listen for the slightest chuckle.
  • I had learned to go about my business.
  • I had accepted the great anesthesia of confidence and peace of mind, to free me from the need to be pricked and probed until I screamed out in displeasure.

Maybe the kids are still laughing. But I am dull to their critique.

Maybe when I come zooming by, they poke each other, point and giggle at me. But I am already gone.

The glory of anesthesia is that necessary surgery can be done to our bodies without us fighting the treatment.

May God give me the anesthesia of soul satisfaction so the surgery that He needs to continue to do to my heart … will be painless and profitable.

 

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Addled

Words from Dic(tionary)

by J. R. Practix

dictionary with letter A

Addled: (adj.) confused and unable to think clearly (often humorous).

So what is the difference between addled, comedic, pitiful and hilarious? I guess it would be whether people laugh or shake their heads in disbelief. For after all, in order for confusion to be funny, we have to believe there’s some way that clarity could have won the day.

There are actually  many addled things in our society that do NOT evoke a smile:

Listening to Republicans and Democrats debate an issue which they don’t understand but still have developed a rock-solid conviction about is not a source of gaiety. It teeters between baffled and frustrated.

Going to a religious service to hear the mispronouncing of two-thousand-year-old names and locations, as people donned in robes insist that bread and wine purchased at the local grocery store has supernaturally transformed itself into everlasting life, is not exactly what I would call the “joy of the Lord.”

Even though I appreciate that the dictionary considers “addled” to have humorous overtones, watching your grandparent misplace his or her keys for the fortieth time this week does lose some of its charm.

I think we have a responsibility, at all costs to the human tribe, to avoid appearing addled. Matter of fact, there are times I am reluctant to ask others to help me look for something or remember something, but instead choose to find a nice, comfortable, cushy chair in my soul and relax there until memory serves me.

Yes, sometimes it’s better to shut up for fear that your brain has already been closed for repair.

Addled is not cute–and if you’re over the age of thirty-five, if you accidentally become disoriented in front of anyone younger than yourself, they will attach Alzheimer’s to you.

Politics and religion are argued because no one knows one way or the other, but everyone insists they have the answer.

So that’s addled–when you run across a mystery and you’re positive that Mr. Plum did it with a candlestick … in the conservatory.