Coffin

Coffin: (n) a long, narrow box in which a corpse is buried or cremated.

Staring down into the face of my older brother, who was quite dead, lying in a coffin, motionless, with eyes closed.

It freaked me out–mainly because I was staring at the bier. That’s another word for coffin. Now I’m just trying to show off. I tend to do so when I’m nervous. And looking at a coffin made me nervous.

Until that moment, I did not realize that I suffer from claustrophobia. Even though I was supposed to be the strong brother to support my nephew, sister-in-law and all the other relatives, I temporarily had to excuse myself and walk away to try to regain my state of mind.

All I could think about was lying in that coffin, scrunched, and having the lid shut down on my face. Every time that vision came to my brain, my heart started to pound and I found it difficult to breathe.

I was embarrassed.

I wanted to make sure no one observed my panic attack, so I found a private room and stepped inside. Unable to locate a light switch, I stood in the dark, finding no comfort whatsoever from my vision of horror.

Even though I am certain there was nobody in the room with me, I sensed a thought floating across the blackened space, landing in my consciousness. It wasn’t exactly verbalized, but it was very comforting.

The notion translated to my irrational thinking was, “Keep in mind, when you go in the coffin, you don’t have to breathe anymore.”

I laughed. It was so true. By the time I was fitted–or unfitted–for this box, I would be without the need for much of anything.

And of course, if it still freaked me out, they could always burn me up.

 

Donate Button

Subscribe to Jonathan’s New Podcast

 

 

Advertisements

Brother

j-r-practix-with-border-2

Brother: (n) a man or boy in relation to other sons and daughters of his parents.

I had four brothers who shared a common uterus with me. Not at the same time; we had different leasing arrangements.Dictionary B

I will tell you that those four individuals have importance in my life because we lived in a common household. But they are not closer to me than other folks who have stumbled across my path.

I believe we could have been great kinfolk–more intimate. But it is really the mother and father who decide how tight the bond will be among the children.

For instance, it is possible to accidentally pit your offspring against each other. Too much competition in a house creates enemies instead of fellow-laborers. And of course, favoritism makes one child work too hard and another one skate on thin ice.

Two of my brothers have already passed on. The oldest one never totally understood me and we never came to peace with each other. The second ghost and I had a violent relationship, which simmered into a warm broth, which we were able to enjoy.

And my other two brothers–well, we bounce between contact and alienation.

Now, it was my joy to be the father of three sons and three other young men that I “godfathered” to adulthood.

I must have done something right, because they don’t hate each other. Or maybe they just decided to ignore my attempts to generate boundaries and chasms, and worked on finding common ground.

I don’t know which one it is–but I will give you the definition for brother:

It is not someone of your own household who shares a mom with you.

It is not a male Christian counterpart who communes with you at an altar.

A brother is, and always will be, someone who refuses to believe the gossip he hears about you, but instead, comes to you directly…to get the real story.

Donate ButtonThank you for enjoying Words from Dic(tionary) —  J.R. Practix 

 

 

Brigadier

j-r-practix-with-border-2

Brigadier: (n) a rank of officer in the army, above colonel and below major general.

Sometimes foolishness gets a pass, but it has to be legitimate foolishness. Dictionary BI’m talking about that fresh kind that just slipped out of your stupid brain because of your ignorance. If you’ve done foolishness before, you can’t claim that it’s “innocent foolishness.”

I did a foolish thing.

I was so young, self-inspired and full of false confidence that life decided not to punish me for my presumption.

My younger brother decided to join the army. Considering he had never even played with army men and walked with the sensitivity of a marshmallow, the idea was ludicrous. But it was in full swing before any of us realized that he had sauntered off to be a soldier.

The first we knew of it was upon receiving a call from basic training, where he pleaded for us to “get him out of there”–or he was going to commit suicide.

Now, I can discuss with you the unfairness of him placing me in that situation, but instead, I will tell you that in an attempt to be a good big brother, I called the army base where he was doing his imitation of G.I. Joe, and talked to a Brigadier General. Now, I don’t know exactly what a Brigadier General is, but it sounds a whole lot more important than me.

For some reason, he took my call. I don’t know why. Maybe he was just a nice guy. Maybe he couldn’t believe that someone was asking for his younger brother to be released from basic training.

His first inclination was to laugh at me. After all, you can’t maintain a volunteer army while promising a money-back guarantee. If everyone who was displeased with the accommodations at “Fort Kick Your Ass” was released immediately, we wouldn’t have enough soldiers to march in a small-town parade.

So on the first call he chuckled.

On my second call, he took the fatherly approach, explaining how the military works.

On the third call he appealed to my patriotism.

On call 54, he asked me if I knew how powerful he was.

But somewhere along the line, on the 93rd call, he paused. This is what the Brigadier asked me:

“You’re going to keep calling me until we release him, aren’t you?”

I replied, “You can just stop taking my calls.”

“Then I would have a suicidal assistant to deal with,” he presented.

I really don’t know what happened.

I don’t know if what I said made any difference at all.

But this fine Brigadier General realized that I was sincere and that my brother was not even suited to the rigors of being a back-up in the chorus line.

They released him.

It was a miracle.

But actually, it was an expansive piece of grace … granted by a man who was trained to be ruthless.

Donate ButtonThank you for enjoying Words from Dic(tionary) —  J.R. Practix 


 Don’t let another Christmas season go by without owning Jonathan’s book of Christmas stories

Mr. Kringle’s Tales …26 Stories ‘Til Christmas

Only $5.99 plus $1.25 shipping and handling!

An advent calendar of stories, designed to enchant readers of all ages

“Quite literally the best Christmas stories I have ever read.” — Arthur Holland, Shelby, North Carolina

Only $5.99 plus $1.25 shipping and handling.

"Buy

 

 

 

Brethren

j-r-practix-with-border-2

Brethren: (n) archaic plural form of brother.

“I’m doin’ it so my family can have a better life,” he said, being interviewed on one of the singing competitions so prevalent over the airwaves.Dictionary B

I was supposed to be moved by his sentiment. I guess the goal was to get me in his corner by realizing what a fine damn fellow he was for loving his wife and children.

But is that really special?

How basic is it for us to just express affection to those we marry or procreate?

Isn’t the music more important?

Isn’t communicating with others through melody and harmony the greatest aspiration?

I just think I would be very disappointed if Beethoven wrote his symphonies for “a gal and his young’uns.”

Somewhere along the line, we need people to step out of the box of family life, and begin to refer to those around them, who do not share DNA, as “brethren.”

You are my brothers and sisters.

The fact that you look different and come from unique regions only makes you more intriguing.

When we settle for our clan, our cloister and our clump, we are admitting that we have second thoughts about loving the stranger.

Since most of us are strangers to the rest of the world … we might want to reconsider our position.

 Donate ButtonThank you for enjoying Words from Dic(tionary) —  J.R. Practix 


 Don’t let another Christmas season go by without owning Jonathan’s book of Christmas stories

Mr. Kringle’s Tales …26 Stories ‘Til Christmas

Only $5.99 plus $1.25 shipping and handling!

An advent calendar of stories, designed to enchant readers of all ages

“Quite literally the best Christmas stories I have ever read.” — Arthur Holland, Shelby, North Carolina

Only $5.99 plus $1.25 shipping and handling.

"Buy

 

 

 

Bill

Bill: (n) a common English name, short for William

Dictionary B

  • I have a brother
  • His name might be Bill.
  • We grew up in the same house.

There all similarities cease.

Our parents were doing their business of child-rearing in a season when discipline and alienation of children from the common conversation was considered prudent.

So accidentally they pitted all five of us sons against each other, competing for their affection and even the last pork chop on the platter.

So a couple of decades ago I tried to establish an adult relationship with my brother based on the affinity we might possess as partakers of a common mother.

It went poorly.

There was an immediate jockeying for position based upon age, education, experience and just general superiority.

I tried not to participate in the tug of war, but still found myself doing a bit of tugging.

Over the years, the situation has evolved to its present status of an occasional phone call which, if brief, normally remains civil. If it extends too long, old wounds are exposed and the common infections associated with brotherly familiarity surface with a vengeance.

So to a certain extent, Bill is my bill.

He is a price I pay for growing up in a family which was not close enough to remain loyal, but still has enough genetics to needfully and purposefully interact.

Donate Button

Thank you for enjoying Words from Dic(tionary) —  J.R. Practix 

 

Aunt

Aunt: (n) the sister of one’s father or mother or the wife of one’s uncle.

dictionary with letter AThe value of one’s relationship with an aunt is based upon the quality of the memories they have with your mother and father.

I wish I would have known that.

I had some pretty pukey aunts.They would not agree with that, I’m sure, but since they’re dead, I will risk offending their consciousness.

They were picky, they were self-righteous or they were completely disengaged.

I took it personally.

Being a kid, I tried to please them because I heard rumors at school about kids who had great aunts. Matter of fact, the abiding notion was that aunts were nicer than parents, or even grandparents, because they had so little invested in the future of the prodigy.

But my aunts were toads–and I don’t mean good toads. They just kind of sat there and peered at me, waiting for me to be either too loud or unmannerly.

Now that I’m older, I realize that these aunts didn’t have anything against me–they just didn’t like my mom and dad. So they decided to take it out on me.

After all, I was the swill that came from their bog.

I was the offspring of these people who the aunts had found fault with for years, had developed grudges against, and now persisted into the next generation.

I didn’t know this at the time. I thought I was perniciously ugly, fatally stupid or satanically infested.

It’s a good idea, if you happen to be an aunt and you’re pissed off at your sister or brother, to try to work that out with them and not pass the anger onto the kids.

Because in the long run, a good aunt is a treasure.

But a bad aunt would be better off living on the moon.

 

Donate Button

Thank you for enjoying Words from Dic(tionary) —  J.R. Practix

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

NEW BOOK RELEASE BY JONATHAN RICHARD CRING

WITHIN

A meeting place for folks who know they’re human

 $3.99 plus $2.00 S&H

$3.99 plus $2.00 Shipping  & Handling

$3.99 plus $2.00 Shipping & Handling

Buy Now Button

 

Andrew, St.

dictionary with letter A

Andrew, St.: An apostle, the brother of St. Peter. He is associated with the X-shaped cross because he is said to have been crucified on such a cross, and is the patron saint of Russia and Scotland. Feast Day, November 30.

Long before he was nailed down on a multiplication symbol and they started a special holiday in his honor, Andrew was a fisherman in a little town called Capernaum.

His prospects for being prosperous or well-known and his aptitude for upward mobility were less than promising–actually, comical.

Living in a village of less than five hundred people and a partner in a business in which his brother, with a more boisterous personality, took over the entire room, Andrew had little chance of surfacing socially, or even generating a jot and tittle in a history book.

Yet he possessed one powerful personality trait–he was curious.

While his brother probably took the time to sleep off the latest fishing jaunt, which included heavy wine drinking, Andrew was out and about, looking for possibilities. In the process, he met another unlikely earth-shaker named Jesus of Nazareth.

We don’t know why Andrew was impressed or why he was so moved by the Nazarene’s message. But we do know that he was one of Jesus’ early followers, and ends up bringing his brother to the cause.

As often is the case, there is no Peter without Andrew. There are no five loaves and two fishes for the five thousand fed without Andrew bringing the little boy’s lunch for consideration.

And even though after all the smoke cleared of the posturing and shuffling, he did not end up being one of the inner-three best friends of Jesus (positions held by Peter, James and John), we are never made aware that he is slighted or offended in the least.

He did three things that gave him personal salvation and a place for all time:

  1. He stayed interested.
  2. When he found something important, he got excited.
  3. He stuck with it to the end.

In many ways Andrew is the hero of the gospel story simply because he brought the right people at the right time … to the right person.

 

Donate Button

Thank you for enjoying Words from Dic(tionary) —  J.R. Practix