Cumber

 

Cumber: (v) to hinder or hamper

Pellets of energy.

Think about it.

I know some folks believe that human beings are good, and others insist that we are naturally evil.

This has not been my finding. I would be hard pressed to describe the human race as good, and equally distraught to characterize them as only devious.

Actually, every single day, each one of us is bestowed pellets of energy. Energy doesn’t come with character specifications. It is neither hellish nor celestial.

It’s just energy.

And because it’s energy, it can be useful, and it can also be squandered.

Every morning when I rise, I yearn for my pellets of energy. I’m careful not to make too many promises, just in case I turn into an asshole between breakfast and lunch.

But I am fully aware that my value to other folks lies in realizing that if I don’t use my pellets of energy well, I’m just hanging around cumbering the Earth.

We don’t use the word “cumber” anymore.

It’s an Old English term, often associated with Biblical quotes.

But it fascinates me that we struggle for longevity without demanding that it be accompanied with purpose.

There has to be something more than gardening.

We can’t expect to sustain value merely from arriving on time to our doctor appointments.

And for the younger crowd, simply passing a test does not qualify anyone for superb consideration.

I don’t want to cumber the Earth. I don’t want my family to be ashamed of themselves because they wistfully wonder when I’m finally going to croak.

I want myself—and hopefully everyone else—to be fully aware of why I still hang around and notice the by-products of my hanging.

I do not want to cumber your life.

I do not want to cumber the Earth, filling it with carbon dioxide instead of sucking some of it back out.

I do not want my friends to feel responsibility to me today because of what I did yesterday.

I do not want to cumber the ground, the Earth, my surroundings, my loved ones or the cosmos.

I would like to take my pellets of energy and turn them into goodness instead of mediocrity or darkness.

What shall we do with these pellets of energy?

Get ready—it’s coming around again tomorrow.

funny wisdom on words that begin with a C

Croak

Croak: (slang) to die.

There is a general reluctance among the populace to admit to things deemed frailties.

I believe lots of individuals would cautiously, but freely, be tagged as “sex addicts.” Or if someone attributed the fault of “over-talented” to them, they would sheepishly hang their head but allow the assertion to remain unchallenged.

Yet I suspect a good number of human beings would be offended to accept the term “hypochondriac” if attributed to them.

Even when you’re in the presence of an admitted hypochondriac, he or she will insist that you are ill-informed and have not read up on their mysterious, unknown or unproven condition.

So I am going to step out and tell you that for most of my life I have battled being a hypochondriac.

From the time I was a nine-year-old boy, frightened to go to sleep because I thought I might swallow my tongue, to my early twenties, when I was trying to stay awake driving, and overdosed on the caffeine in No-Doze, and had to go to the hospital because I thought I was having a heart attack, to any myriad of symptoms that might stumble my way, I am frighteningly susceptible to dwelling on them longer than they deserve.

As a father of young sons, I occasionally yelled at my children for getting colds—not because I was concerned about the pain they were experiencing or the discomfort of runny noses. No, I was just pissed because I was afraid I would get their cold, too.

I am not happy to report this to you, but if you spend all of your life wondering when you’re going to croak, then, in that brief season when it actually happens, you will be quite disappointed that you squandered the non-dying time.

I realize this.

I never thought I would live as long as I have.

So rather than wondering whether I’m going to live a lot longer, I have chosen to believe that I’m on borrowed time. In other words, “playing with house money.”

This makes me happy.

Because as exciting as it is to be alive, there is an extra thrill in knowing that by the grace of God, you’re cheating death.

 

funny wisdom on words that begin with a C

 


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Convivial

Convivial: (adj) friendly and agreeable

It becomes obvious to me why some words are foreign to my ear, or for some reason, have ceased to be popular. After all, when would the word “convivial” actually come up in our present-day society?funny wisdom on words that begin with a C

I suppose if we found ourselves at a particularly exciting party, and inebriation was only making people silly, a wordsmith might offer “convivial” to describe the event.

Yet to live a life where you are pursuing a convivial attitude might cause the large majority of fellow-travelers to be suspicious, if not angry, over your lack of awareness about how miserable everything truly is.

I have often wondered what I would have done if I were on the deck of the Titanic the night it struck the iceberg, and it became obvious that in a short time I would be floating in the water, an iceberg myself.

Would I turn religious?

Would I pray, scream to the heavens?

Would I get angry and push people around because I wanted to be the last one in line to croak?

Would I crawl into a lifeboat and pretend I was “Mrs. Something-or-Other?”

Would I grab my banjo and join the band in playing, “Nearer My God to Thee?”

Since I assume the galley would be deserted, would I go down and hit the pastry tray, knowing it wouldn’t make any difference anymore?

Or would I look around into the frightened, horrified and distraught faces of my cohorts and try to make our last moments convivial?


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Circulation

Circulation: (n) movement to and fro or around something, especially that of blood in the body.

“If da blood don’t get der, you be dead.”

It’s not exactly a quote from a medical journal, but it’s still true.

At one time I had poor circulation in my left foot, which made it impossible for the blood to get down there and clean out an infection
through medication.

So I lost two toes.

I’m not looking for sympathy–just a realistic appreciation that circulation has to happen.

In the body it’s blood. If the blood doesn’t get there, it turns gray and dies.

The same thing is true with life in general. When the circulation of newness, freshness, open thinking, forgiveness and compassion does not reach our soul parts, we just turn gray and die.

Just as it takes a good bit of exercise to keep some pink in the old man’s cheeks, it requires a lot of awareness, gentleness and even humor to keep each of us in the pink with our brothers and sisters–especially those younger ones who assume that as soon as we creak, we’re ready to croak.

Circulation of blood requires movement.

Circulation of spirit means that we need to move toward solution instead of taking our cemented ideas and building really, really, really big walls.

 

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Acclivity

by J. R. Practix

dictionary with letter A

Acclivity: (n) an upward slope.

I suppose you could have a long debate over the issue of whether life is downhill, even-footed, or a climb.

Candidly, there have been times when I have felt noble to suffer the slings and arrows of misfortune, believing myself to be on a holy quest–uphill–for the common good. Yet too often, in the end I discovered that I put myself through some unnecessary puncture wounds for very little payoff.

Likewise, I have run away from the acclivity and have searched out a path that tilted downwards, only to discover that it was an access road to an unforseen hell.

Yet at the same time, walking straight ahead on a plain path often brings bland results, with no challenges, improvements or subtleties to discuss over dinner with your equally bored family.

So what IS the case? Are we supposed to be looking for the acclivities, approaching them as slopes to climb “because they’re there?” Or are we smarter if we lower our blood pressure points and seek an easy path?

Here’s what I have found: Find important things to do and never question if they’re difficult OR easy. Just confirm that they’re important. If they happen to be easy, allow yourself some style points and creativity in embellishing your results, to get extra credit. If they end up being hard, then take a few extra minutes of planning to simplify the process down to its rudimentary necessities and try to make it fun.

But if you find yourself walking straight ahead, repeating the same things over and over again, be very frightened. That is the broad way of destruction, which is always crowded with mediocrity, boredom and bickering.

Human beings don’t die from a challenge. Most human beings don’t croak because they have rested up. Human beings are much more likely to deteriorate because difficulty is avoided at all costs.

So am I looking for an acclivity? No. But if it’s important, I’m not afraid of it and certainly have talents which enable me to make it enjoyable.

It’s not so much the style of the path as it is making sure that the path has great style.