Commend

Commend: (v) to praise formally or officially.

A face that is not tired of still trying to offer a smile.

A childlike silliness, even when you aren’t with children.

A hope that opportunity will provide finance.

A notion that even though people try to be different, it’s more fun to discover how we’re the same.

Being satisfied with beans and wieners.

Trying a new recipe, blowing it, but still eating a little.

Having it cross your mind to say “I love you” and doing it instead of choking it back.

Noticing someone who’s lonely and simply touching their shoulder as you go by.

Giving a dollar–or maybe two–to the homeless without wondering what they’re going to do with it.

Choosing to take action instead of just praying.

Listening instead of quoting a scripture.

Laughing when it’s time to stop crying.

Giving without thinking.

Caring without worrying.

Living fully without requiring a heavenly reward.

These are some things I commend.

 

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Childlike

Childlike: (adj) of an adult, having good qualities associated with a child.

After avoiding it for decades, I finally went to one of my high school reunion luncheons, to meet up with the old gang, whom I had not seen since I held diploma in my hand and dreams fluttered in my brain like butterflies.

We were older.

Unfortunately, we live in a society that deems aging as either a crime or a disease rather than a natural situation which is meant to garner advantage.

What is the advantage of being older? You have sorted through the younger things to do and eliminated the ones that cause humiliation and disease.

That’s pretty powerful.

But what I discovered when I sat down to eat my lunch was that my classmates from a former time were very concerned about their health–cholesterol, salt intake, circulatory system and bladder. I probably should also throw in a few mentions of bowel movements.

It started off well, but when I ended up being glib and funny instead of decrepit and dying, a resentment settled into the room.

I think my friends found me childish. “That guy never grew up. Doesn’t he know there’s a certain protocol for being our age?”

I kept talking about the things I was still doing, the places I wanted to go, the things I was seeing, the passages I was writing and the songs being composed. I was not bragging. I was thrilled to be alive, to share with these old haunts.

Try as I would, the conversation was incapable of reaching the level of being childlike. I brought up some of our former escapades, only to discover that rather than giggling over the incidents, heads were dipped in shame.

I don’t know much about heaven. Nobody does. It is an advertised hot spot without an adequate brochure.

But from what I have learned, it will be a mind trip into discovering the joys of being childlike, simple, joyous, playful and jubilant.

I sure hope we’re up for it.

 

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Beloved

Beloved: (adj) dearly loved.

Dictionary B

I didn’t like the script so I’ve written my own play.

The script provided for me by the American culture says I should really love those people who love me, who are attached to me, or who were spawned from my seed. The rest of the world is supposed to be viewed with various contortions of suspicion.

I found the premise for this theatrical presentation of “Life on Earth” to be boring, short-sighted, and lacking in plot twists to grant a thrill.

Somewhere along the line, mankind, humankind, or whatever-kind needs to become beloved to me.

This does not mean that everyone I meet will curry my favor, but it does promote the idea that if I start off viewing all women as my sisters, all men as my brothers and all children as my immediate kin, I have a much better chance of being valuable to the world than if I close off membership in my circle to the tiny ring I call friends.

Then, if I do run across those who are not very brotherly, sisterly or childlike, I can give myself a great gift: avoid them.

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Bated

Bated: (n) in great suspense; very anxiously or excitedly.Dictionary B

When asked recently what would make the world a better place, without delay I replied, “Excitement.”

Feeling we are too mature to wiggle and squirm in anticipation, the average adult plows through a day’s activities without much emotion.

We call it control.

We insist it’s grown-up.

We fear the appearance of childishness, and in the process, lose the better parts of being childlike.

  • So we declare that “Christmas is for the children.”
  • The roller coaster was exciting, but well within the scope of our coping.
  • And romance and its pleasures are a matter of well-timed course.

Excitement is what allows us to believe that things can get better. If we are fully aware of all the possibilities, then we are no longer able to be surprised. And any creature who is incapable of being astonished at the beauty of creation soon loses the true significance of living.

I like to be excited.

Sometimes I like to excite myself, just to make sure it’s not broken.

But mostly, I feel the need to let my breath be bated by the beauty of something unknown. 

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Authentic

Authentic: (adj) of undisputed origin; genuine.dictionary with letter A

I remember it like yesterday because when it happened, the combination of surprise, disappointment and confusion nearly overwhelmed me.

I met an older fellow who happened to be in my line of work and I immediately took a liking to him. I struggled to get his attention so we could become friends and maybe end up doing some projects together. But try as I might, he had absolutely no interest in entwining our efforts.

I was offended.

I was upset.

I thought this guy was cool, and the fact that he didn’t think I was cool just wasn’t cool.

So to avoid going crazy, I decided I would ask him about his indifference towards me.

I had just finished sharing my talents at a meeting and the two of us were sitting over a cup of coffee at a restaurant when I worked up the courage to pose the question.

“Why don’t you like me?”

He looked at me with a perplexed expression, hoping, I assume, to avoid any confrontation. I challenged him and begged him not to be insincere.

So, taking a big swig of coffee for courage, he explained.

“You are dangerous. At least, dangerous to me. You see, I do what I do because I’ve always done it, gotten pretty good at it, and see it as a way to make money without hurting too many people. Honestly, I don’t believe everything I say. And you probably have noticed–I don’t live everything I believe. You, on the other hand, are frightening. You are authentic. You are real. You have a childlike heart when you talk about your faith. It scares me. Actually, it convicts me because it makes me wonder why I don’t want that for myself. So of course I don’t want to work with you–and I never will. You remind me that what I preach can actually be done, and honestly, I just don’t want to work that hard.”

To my surprise, he downed the last bit of coffee in his cup, stood to his feet, shook my hand, and walked out of the restaurant.

I never saw him again.

In that moment, I temporarily wished to be a little less sincere.

I wanted to be friends with this friend.

But the power of being authentic is that it gives you a storyline that you don’t have to memorize because it’s your own.

But it also alienates you from those who just want to tell stories.

 

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Alarm

Words from Dic(tionary)

dictionary with letter A

Alarm: (n) 1. an anxious awareness of danger 2. the sound or warning of imminent danger

Do they still call it a fire drill?

I’m not sure.

When I was a kid, about every six or seven weeks, the school bell rang uncontrollably, and we were told to rise from our seats, get into single file and march out of the building into the awaiting parking lot in anticipation of what could have been a fire breaking out.

Of course, we all knew it was just a drill. A practice, if you will. But it was still a bit alarming to hear the bell, and delightful to be able to escape the world of desks, pens, paper and droning “teacher voices,” to go outside for a few minutes with your friends.

Of course, in the adult world, they had plans set in place to rectify that potential for pleasure.

You had to remain silent.

This was the same thing you were cautioned to do when standing in line for the cafeteria, gathering for an assembly or even finding your path to the bathroom.

Silence.

I realize now that we were never in danger of fire. And I’m not being critical of the craft of preparation. I understand it thoroughly and agree with the premise.

But the alarming part of the process of leaving our school, considering the potential for a blazing inferno, was actually the fact that we were taught to be non-social.

  • Couldn’t talk in class.
  • Couldn’t talk in the cafeteria.
  • And couldn’t talk on the way to the fire drill.

And then we wonder why human beings grow up sheltered, protected, suspicious and just downright cranky. After all, we’re not about to let our offspring chum with one another when we were forbidden to do so.

Yes, I would say the most alarming thing about hearing the alarm bell tell us to go to a fire drill, considering the alarming possibility of a burning school, was the fact that we weren’t allowed to be human and interactive.

I guess that’s true all over the world. I’m sure Chinese people discourage chattiness in their children just like Americans quell such outbursts. But I wonder if we lose something by being too alarmed.

Don’t we sacrifice the child-like instinct to enjoy ourselves, believe for the best and want to whisper interesting things to our neighbor?