Could and Couldn’t

Could: (v) expression of possibility

Couldn’t: (v) unable

I don’t think anybody wants to be negative.

Some folks have just found it a safer position because they have surmised that most things fail. I’m also sure there are individuals who are negative because funny wisdom on words that begin with a C
they want to appear mature and cautious.

But the trouble with the two words, could and couldn’t, is that neither one allows for the possibility that something has a great chance.

Even when we venture out and say, “I could win,” we’re allowing ourselves an awful lot of room for explanation if things fall apart.

And if we go ahead and say, “I couldn’t,” we close the door on the adventure completely.

I think could and couldn’t sum up the human race.

We are never so positive that we move with great confidence, ease and style into resolution, and we certainly seem better suited for retreating or rejecting.

Is there another word?

“Might” doesn’t work. That’s really uncertain.

“Should” seems judgmental.

“Would” sounds like it’s ready to make an immediate excuse upon any drawback.

And there’s just something downright arrogant about saying “I will.” There are too many variables in life that we do not control for us to guarantee the result.

So what is the best situation?

I am certainly tired of living in a world of “could” and “couldn’t.” I don’t want to embrace the negativity that goes into being cautious with “could” and dark with “couldn’t.”

Language trips us up because it describes the actual condition of our internal emotions. Eventually, our tongues will confess what is deeply brewing in our hearts.


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Arrow

Arrow: (n) a shaft sharpened at the front and with feathers or vanes at the back, shot from a bow as a weapon or for sport.dictionary with letter A

“I shot an arrow into the air, and where it falls I know not where.”

Isn’t that irresponsible? I think if we’re going to be arrow-shooters, we should be conscientious to know where they fall.

The parallels of this into other areas of our lives are so numerous that I would be frightened to jump in, lest it appear that I’ve purchased some sort of soap box on which to stand for proclamation.

Yet I will tell you that there is a certain amount of control that proves we have respect for the world around us. There is too much arrow-shooting into the air with a “devil-may-care” attitude.

Are we supposed to be cautious? Are we supposed to be careful not to offend or hurt others with our arrows?

I don’t think it’s so much an issue of being cautious or careful about our offenses, but rather, to take the time to understand that arrows are pointed, and therefore can be quite lethal.

If I simply tell you that I don’t believe something, I am shooting an arrow into the air without any concern for how it will strike your heart, which happens to hold that belief dear.

There is a power in saying, “As for me…”

“As for me, I’ve found the following to be true.”

As for me, I don’t shoot my arrows into the air, but instead, find targets. And when I shoot at a target and take precise aim, then my intention is clear.

To shoot an arrow into the air and not know where it’s going to fall is the beginning of every war. It is the consummation of every family struggle, lending itself to the destruction of the unity.

We need to know where our arrows fall, and the only way to achieve that is by never pulling out an arrow … unless you’ve chosen a target.

 

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

Approach

dictionary with letter A

Ap·proach (n): 1. a way of dealing with something. E.G.: “We need a whole new approach.”

I find myself in Clarksville, Tennessee.

If you’re going to be a journeyman, you should be prepared to journey and become a better man in all situations.

I think I pride myself in the fact that I’m able to blend with various cultures and be of benefit to the people around me, as they also share their flavors and insights in my direction.

At breakfast this morning, there was a man who serves the food, who happens to be a fellow of color. I had been interacting with him for several days with a bit of conversation, generosity and expressing interest in his life.

Honestly, I felt quite cosmopolitan doing so, feeling that I was “a man for all seasons.” (Remember, arrogance is always more likely when one thinks one is being righteous)

As I sat at breakfast, two other young chaps, who happened to be of his hue, came into the room, sat down, and began to talk. I didn’t want to be impolite by listening in, but I did anyway, and it didn’t make any difference.

I was only able to catch about every tenth word and make out its meaning from my limited translating ears.

My acquaintance was a different individual around these two than he was with me. I realized that when he spoke to me he was more cautious, overly respectful and maintained a certain distance.

It wouldn’t even have occurred to me had these two gentlemen not come in and brought out his internal workings. I realized that through the combination of the Southern culture, his upbringing, racial tensions in America, and honestly, my ignorance, that he and I had barely brushed against each other.

I had deceived myself into believing that I was a “great communicator,” when really, I was still just a color, a shape and an obstacle.

It gave me pause.

What is the approach we will need to cross these horrible barriers we’ve constructed between each other, and to heal the inconsideration and atrocities of careless ancestors?

I’m not sure what the approach should be, but I know that somewhere along the line we will have to be honest about our lackings, laugh at our weaknesses and give some good ground to one another–or nothing will change.

 

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

Amass

dictionary with letter A

Amass: (v.) to gather together or accumulate a large amount or number

Oh, cautious soul that I truly am, I am always suspicious of the majority.

When human beings amass in large quantities, stuffing themselves into arenas, large sanctuaries or convention halls, I become a bit disconcerted.

Because to gain applause you have to get the approval of many people at the same time. Already that connotes a great degree of compromise. It also encourages demagogues, who espouse the present popular stumping, screaming from the podium until the listeners become frenzied.

Every time I become concerned about my level of popularity or fame I go on the Internet and watch a news reel of Adolph Hitler circa 1932 in Germany. No one could have had more charisma. If you read his speeches in English, they are filled with nationalism, pride and a great sense of “Yay us.” So of course, people amassed behind such encouraging themes.

But here is the startling fact: human beings are just better when we’re not kissing our own ass (or nearby asses).

Certainly we require a certain amount of appreciation, but mingled in with that should be adequate doses of challenges, questioning and even the occasional on-the-spot review.

Although I realize that I am in the minority in my lack of acceptance for the majority, I will tell you that the best decisions I have made in my life, the most amazing transitions and the most valuable conclusions arrived at in my soul, were accomplished in moments of reflection, and punctuated by seasons of repentance.

  • So those who amass wealth are prodded in their spirits to give it away. If they aren’t, we call them “stingy butt-holes.”
  • Those who amass friends are in need of sharing that friendship with the entire world instead of swallowing it whole. Otherwise we think of them as glory-hounds, flitting from one party to another.
  • And those who amass respect are obligated to share it with “the least of the brethren” around them, so as not to convince the gathered horde that superiority has been achieved, and therefore the inferior ones should be trekked to the gas chamber.

I don’t believe in a lonely life. But I do believe that the “road less traveled” is not only quieter, but gives you a chance to look deep inside and discover the need for improvement.

 

Adopt

Words from Dic(tionary)

dictionary with letter A

Adopt: (v) to legally take another’s child and bring it up as one’s own

I think the definition for success is something that catches our fancy that we’re still willing to do when it ends up being more difficult than we thought.

About seventeen years ago, I decided to take three young boys into my home. Their mother had just gone through a very hostile divorce and the fellows were a little shell-shocked by the whole experience. Fortunately for me, I had a son of my own who was about the same age as the middle child in the trio. It made for a nice situation and seemed quite logical.

I will tell you that logic is what fools refer to as tribulation when they discover there’s hard work ahead. Yes–NOTHING is easy. It’s not meant to be. Matter of fact, adopting anything immediately demands that you use another similar word: adapt.

I learned a long time ago that just because I want to do something is reason enough for everybody in the world to come against it. After I had my motives questioned, my sanity perused and got accused by some of the family members of the mother of being a “cult leader,” I realized that merely trying to pursue generosity makes cautious people get pissed off.

I had to adapt. I had to learn that I was getting to know these young men slowly and needed to gain their respect by being honest and forthcoming.

And the truth of the matter is, if you adopt something and you’re willing to adapt, after a time you will become more adept.

Yes, I got better at being a father.

I am grateful that I ended up with seven opportunities to do so–because in many ways, I think I needed them all.

In the late eighteenth century, when our country adopted a Constitution, we had no idea what trouble we would cause for ourselves. We are still adapting, with the prospect of becoming adept looming in the distance.

Don’t get discouraged. It gets better as long as you don’t give up on the purity–and the joy–of the original decision.

Abiotic

by J. R. Practix

dictionary with letter A

Abiotic: adj. 1.physical rather than biological; not derived from living organisms. 2. Devoid of life; sterile

I found a definition for Congress!!  “Devoid of life and sterile!” A physical body not producing any life. How remarkable! Do you think anyone in that particular institution would comprehend it if I refered to them as abiotic?

I was thinking about other things in our society that are abiotic:

Certainly, the entertainment industry came to mind, which continues to pop out pet projects from a group of spoiled technicians who refuse to allow new ideas into their coven of interaction for fear of losing both prestige and dollars.

Certainly our religious system is abiotic. For after all, we more celebrate the death of our leader than we do his life, and even gather around his carcass weekly to grab a hunk, for old times sake.

Our educational system seems to have become abiotic, trapping us into a repetitive merry-go-round of stats and facts, which don’t always add up to the requirements of our ever-burgeoning world.

What a fascinating word!

Sometimes I’m abiotic. I see life happening in front of me and I pull up a chair instead of putting on my tennis shoes.

Abiotic–ignoring life in motion. Being present in the physical without generating any living thing.

Because after all, to live a cautious life is to have completely misunderstood the directions that came with our kit.