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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Crown

Crown: (n) headgear worn by a monarch

Waking up feeling refreshed.

Biting into a shrimp and getting that immediate aftertaste which lets you know it’s a shrimp instead of some sort of fish.

A chocolate milkshake after you haven’t had one for a decade.

Buying a candy bar at the grocery store and realizing it’s fresh, so your teeth won’t have to break through a crust that’s like the surface of the moon.

The two, sometimes five, seconds that occur, transforming your body into a tingling mass of jiggling gelatin right at the point of orgasm.

Praying and knowing that even if the heavens didn’t hear, you heard, and feel enriched.

Seeing a mile marker on a long trip, delighted to discover you’re closer to home than you thought.

When the scrambled eggs come out just right.

Those occasions when a conversation could have been a fight but instead became an open door to deeper feelings.

Being loved.  Loving.

Catching yourself being unloving just in time.

Letting someone in front of you in traffic and getting honked at by the guy behind you.

Sometimes I just think about all the good things that happen in life.

To do this adequately, I must first sit down, turn off the television and close out my surroundings, and tune out the “fret mode” of my brain.

When I do this, I am filled with some sort of spirit, be it Holy or other.

It is the best feeling in the world. It makes me wonder why those who wrote the Bible thought it was necessary to promise heaven as a place where we will receive our crown and reward.

I don’t need a crown.

I’m not a king. And even if I were a king, I would pass on the crown.

There are just too many crowning events in life to ever require additional honor.

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Cranium

Cranium: (n) the part of the skull that encloses the brain.

 After nearly six years of living in a vegetative state, unable to communicate, in what appeared to be constant discomfort and pain, my son, Joshua, died of pneumonia.funny wisdom on words that begin with a C

We were traveling at the time, and found ourselves in the state of Washington. The state law required an autopsy. I was in no mood to object. I certainly did not want to interrupt my grieving by arguing over a body that had long ago lost its impetus, and now was finally granted rest.

After a couple of days, the coroner called me on the phone and told me I could come in and meet with him to go over the results of his findings. We had a lovely chat.

When I arrived at the surprisingly small facility, he invited me back to the morgue where he was working on a murder victim who had just come in. I don’t know whether I was supposed to be there—if it was legal or proper, but I think from our conversation on the phone, the coroner had developed some tenderness and empathy, and felt like we could talk.

Shortly after I arrived in the room, where there was a body covered with a sheet, the coroner was beckoned to take a phone call.  I sat in a chair, waiting for his return, trying to mentally gain perspective on the past few days.

I was peering around the room when my eyes suddenly fell on a skull sitting on a shelf. A cranium.

For some reason, even though there was plenty of light in the room, I felt all alone and frightened. I wanted to run away. I had no business being in that room, and certainly not in my present broken condition.

When the coroner didn’t return, I stared at that skull. That cranium. A bony case which once held a brain—a mind filled with millions of thoughts, feelings, connections, purposes and perhaps a poem memorized at age five.

It was surreal.

How could we humans be so alive, so full of wonder, inspiration and creativity, and then, with the removal of blood and oxygen, turn into what appeared to be a cheap prop from a horror flick?

I cried.

Part of me was crying for my lost son. But some of me was weeping for us, as humans.

How noble our creation.

How fragile our pose.

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Cotillion

Cotillion: (n) a formal ball given especially for debutantes.

A cotillion used to be subtitled “a coming out ball.”

Now that phrase would evoke great laughter—because “coming out” means something completely different from it did when we were funny wisdom on words that begin with a C
referring to the first time a sixteen-year-old girl was dressing up like a woman and spraying perfume in her hair.

Somewhere lodged between the fallacy that “everything in the past was better” and the hard sell of “everything now is superior” lies some sort of compromise.

Maybe if we approached the passage of time similarly to the way we eat food at a smorgasbord, we might just arrive at a blending of practices which would be satisfying and beneficial to our well-being. For after all, at a buffet you grab a plate and walk the line, take a little bit of half-a-dozen or more items, go sit down and discover what is pleasing to the palate.

This is exactly what I try to do with my human life.

I have no desire to live in the past, filled with disease, pestilence and prejudice. Yet I’m not particularly satisfied with being overwhelmed in the present, with forms of idiocy which have merely donned contemporary costumes.

I do like a little bit of the cotillion to go along with my Facebook and Instagram.

I like the idea of the transitions in life being honored with celebration and a touch of reverence instead of the crude way of thinking that a young girl becomes a woman by losing her virginity.

How can we balance the human heart, spirit and brain? The heart wants to be moved, the spirit wants to be inspired and the brain desires learning.

So I guess my goal is to feel my way along, looking for those things that inspire me, and then try to make them my own.


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Confess

Confess: (v) to admit or state that one has committed a crime or is at fault in some way

I am fat.

At least 51% of this is my fault.

I am a recovering “liarholic.”

Please help me stay away from the booze of explanation.

I am self-piteous.

Not as much as I used to be. (Of course, adding that caveat expresses a little self-pity.)funny wisdom on words that begin with a C

I am egotistical.

But I have been careful to immerse myself in the beauty of humility to avoid the cesspool of humiliation.

I am still somewhat opinionated.

Yet I am generally able to avoid this vice by putting invisible duct tape over my mouth.

I am capable of judging people.

This one is especially dangerous, since I am incapable of being judged.

I am occasionally ungrateful…

As I learn to be grateful for every occasion.

I still catch myself complaining.

I am so relieved when I stop and my brain opens back up for business.

I am vulnerable to sin.

I do so much better when sin and I take different paths home.

I am learning to confess.

Word has it that such an endeavor is the only true doorway to healing.


Mr. Kringle's Tales...26 Stories 'Til Christmas

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Cock

Cock: (n) a male bird

How should I handle this word? You see, everything I mention will come across as a double entendre.

Even the dictionary definition is “a male bird.” Where did your brain go on that one?

Some words just don’t have permission to be uttered in public. I even giggle inwardly when I hear a storyteller speaking to young children utter the term, “Cock-a-doodle-doo.”

A pundit, becoming extremely pungent, might say, “Cock and bull story.” I’m sorry. My brain is off and away.

I am not dirty-minded. But I do have dirty laundry laying around. And because of that, certain words, phrases and ideas cannot be spoken in front of me without my brain doing a childish tap dance.

I am fully aware that being so vulnerable as to share this with you, I run the risk that some of you, when hearing the word “cock,” may actually think of a rooster. In that case, I do not know whether to congratulate you for being pure, or pity you for being absent a bit of noble naughtiness.

But as for me and my self, I shall not speak “cock” nor can I hear “cock” without becoming twelve years old again, always prepared to burst into laughter over the sound of a fart.Donate Button

 

Cobalt

Cobalt: (n) the chemical element of atomic number 27, a hard silvery-white magnetic metal.

My dad decided to die when I was sixteen years old.

He had planned it for nearly thirty years.

As a cigarette smoker who actually bought tobacco in the can and “rolled his own,” he had pretty well determined the end of his story long before he’d lived out all the plot lines.

I was one of the plot lines.

Before I found out that he had terminal lung cancer which had spread to his brain, there was a brief, three-month period when he became warmer, more tender–wanting some closeness with me.

Unfortunately, by that time I had created so much distance there was no way for me to transport myself to his side–even when I discovered he was dying.

They sat down and explained it to me, pointing out that he would be going through radiation treatments, which involved cobalt. He did.

Yet he barely survived the only cure they had available. When he returned home, he could barely walk and had trouble breathing. His skin was red like he had a deep sunburn, and he smelled like the trash we burned in the back yard.

Being around him just scared the hell out of me.

Everyone wanted me to turn into the devoted son who held the hand of his ailing father up to death’s door.

I just couldn’t do it.

Even when his breathing became so heavy that I could hear it through the walls while sitting on our porch stoop, I couldn’t bring myself to tell him that I loved him or even be present when the last gasp escaped his being.

This is my memory of cobalt.

It was used in the early years of radiation treatment, and left the patient nearly vacant of the resources to think and move.

As I sit here today, I can wish that I had been a better son and he a better father.

But that is because I have an older mind, and sometimes find it difficult to regain the fury involved in being sixteen.

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