Danger

Danger: (n) risk, peril

“Beauty is in the eye of the beholder.”

Perhaps danger is in the heart of the fearful.

There is legitimate danger. Becoming too familiar with a tiger during feeding times is not faith, but rather foolishness lending itself to lethal danger.

But some things are not dangerous. Some things are poorly marked that way, by the timid minds of those who are afraid of human freedom.

My last year of attending church camp was froth with controversy.

The counselors were convinced that the best way to avoid difficulty was to cut any danger off at the pass. “Danger,” in this case, referred to activities which might stimulate teenagers to think about sex.

It is fascinating to me that once people cross the age of twenty-one, they forget that sex, to a teenager, is not a thought nor a temptation but instead, oxygen to breathe. Curiosity, sensuality, raging hormones and immense amounts of energy always collide in some way to manipulate an indiscretion.

We were given five simple rules for high school campers:

  1. Boys and girls were never to be left alone without supervision.
  2. Girls could not wear bathing suits around boys, only knee-length shorts and appropriate tops.
  3. Dirty jokes were forbidden, and if continued, would result in expulsion from camp.
  4. Girls would dine with girls and boys with boys.
  5. When swimming in the lake, a distance of two feet must be maintained between a girl and a guy.

The list ended with this admonition:

“In following these guidelines, we hope to avoid the danger of promiscuity and illicit behavior.”

Yet, nature always makes a way.

That summer, all the guys and girls learned of a cave just outside the camp, which was quickly referred to as “The Humping Hole.”

The girls—adorned in their knee-length shorts—would go in with their favorite guy, and hump through their clothes.

I will tell you—it was much more popular than the class on the missionary journeys of the Apostle Paul.

Girls and guys also learned how to sit in such a configuration that they could hold hands behind their backs, and counselors never saw what was going on.

There was always a way, where there seemed to be no way, for teenagers to be horny.

For you see, the only danger in life is ignorance.

The more you know about a situation and the greater the knowledge you can possess, the better chance you have of escaping tragedy and forming a plan that is blessed by honesty and truly works.

Damage

Damage: (n) injury or harm that reduces value or usefulness

Hello, stranger.

Pardon me, I don’t know your name.

I’m not really trying to introduce myself. More or less, I just want you to understand my position.

I’m not sure if I would be gregarious even if the option were available to me. Since you are unfamiliar to my world, I feel compelled to go slowly—perhaps stop.

It’s nothing personal.

I see you’re a little put off and perhaps don’t understand my misgivings, but that’s because you haven’t lived in my world or my time, surrounded by a topsy-turvy environment, nurturing terror.

There are blessings.

But as people, both religious and secular, will concur, the trials and difficulties greatly outweigh the payoffs.

It may seem like a negative way of looking at one’s lifespan, but still, all in all, it is safer to embrace caution and to ignore any temptation to take a risk by pursuing new relationships, new friends, ethnicities or environments.

Understand?

Haven’t you been hurt?

Healed of the wound, the scar and internal blistering is still sensitive.

Is it not nature’s way—to give us a constant reminder of our foolishness, our sins and our naivete by leaving behind bruises and discoloration?

Perhaps you’re a fine person.

Let me rephrase that. I don’t know you’re a fine person. That’s why I must treat you as if you’re not. I simply can’t afford to take on any new conflicts.

I have damage.

It has been addressed, discussed and I suppose might seem covered by the grace of the Divine. But still, it quietly lies within me, warning me of the many troubles of those who wander too far from reclusion.

Perhaps there will be a day when you will be better known to me or my damage will once and for all be contained.

Perhaps not.

Here is what I see:

After meeting thousands of people, we eliminate all the comers to two or three we claim to hold dear, but still maintain our intimacy at arm’s length.

Curable

Curable: (adj) capable of being cured

People are frightened of fear.

Fear can be terrifying—therefore, the desire to avoid it produces a great intimidation to be fearful.

Just this morning, a colleague was so intense on proving her innocence that she produced a fear of being intimidated into considering her weakness, which made it impossible for her to be curable.

Denial is the path to destruction.

Any successful curing begins with the realization that the disease is present, the weakness is at work, and the fault is in full bloom.

“Here is the treatment and here is the prognosis.”

Nothing is curable if it’s not treatable.

Nothing is treatable if it’s not acknowledged.

So if one decides to live a life free of the contemplation of error, there will never be a sensation of being cured—just a maintaining of the symptoms.

There is something beautiful about being curable.

There is something magical about being declared cured.

And there is something humbling about allowing the curing process to do its anointing all over our circumstances.

 

funny wisdom on words that begin with a C

Cue Ball

Cue ball: (n) the ball a player strikes with the cue, as distinguished from the other balls on the table.

I insisted it was not fair.

Every time I played pool with my friends—Eight Ball—I did a great job clearing the balls on the table.

That is, until I got down to the cue ball and the eight ball.

Then it was time to put the eight ball away, naming the pocket where I planned to place it, thus closing the game with a slam-dunk.

Here was my problem.

Every time I got to that stage, I either hit the eight ball and it would go into a pocket I did not name, or more often, the cue ball followed the eight ball into the pocket, thus making me a loser.

I argued.

After all, I completed 90% of the task of winning the game. How could I lose the 90% over a 10% mistake?

It was unrighteous.

It was a plot.

It was un-American.

My friends didn’t care. “The rules say…”

That’s how they began every discussion, declaring me a loser.

I got to the point that I hated the cue ball. I feared it. Once I began fearing it, I was afraid to strike it with my stick.

Of course, if you can’t strike the cue ball with your stick, you won’t have a very good break at the beginning of the game. So I stopped wanting to have the first break—which certainly robbed me of an advantage. So I sat around, hoping someone would miss a shot since I had passed on breaking the balls.

All at once, a game I had been very efficient at playing I now despised.

All because of the cue ball.

That damned cue ball that followed the eight ball into the pocket.

Or the eight ball which refused to go to where I declared its home to be.

At no time did it occur to me that I could practice and become better. Why would you want to practice something that was unfair?

So I pouted.

After a while, when I went with my friends to play pool, I just sat and watched.

Soon I wouldn’t go along if they were going to play pool.

They, on the other hand, could never guarantee that pool wouldn’t crop up in the evening’s activities. So I started staying home.

I soon became a recluse. Nobody wanted to be around me.

Since I wasn’t going to be around people, I stopped bathing, didn’t shave and only occasionally brushed my teeth. My breath was repugnant, even to my own mouth.

Pretty soon people were praying for me instead of visiting me.

I went into a mental hospital and was diagnosed with a personality disorder.

I had to stay in my room, though, because the recreational area had a pool table and it sent me into a fit of rage.

I tried to overdose on aspirin but failed miserably.

You see? This is what can happen when you are viciously attacked by a cue ball.

Epilogue

By the way, everything I shared after the word “un-American” was completely made up—seeking your sympathy.

funny wisdom on words that begin with a C

 

Cubbyhole

Cubbyhole: (n) a small, snug place

 Maybe we shouldn’t teach our children to play hide-and-seek.

Attempting to be invisible could deter the better mental health of our race. I know it’s just a game.

But I become very concerned when someone I know is looking for a cubbyhole–pretending it’s a niche.

That’s what these folks tell me: “I’m looking for my niche, where I’ll be comfortable and able to be who I am without intimidation or fear.”

Of course, there is no place free of intimidation or fear.

There really isn’t a locale where you can totally “be yourself.”

Therefore, setting off on a mystical journey may be what causes folks to become permanently frustrated or barren of communication skills.

The minute we look for cubbyholes, we’re trying to hide something.

Why are we hiding things?

There is always a danger of being arrogant. Normally, this is taken care of by people trimming back our egos through critique.

There is also the possibility of being loud-mouthed and wrong. But as you well know, truth eventually sheds a light and exposes all dirty crevices.

But through erroneous determination, we can find a cubbyhole and wrap some secret in a napkin, tucking it away and believing it will never bother us again.

Unfortunately, the shadow of defeat continues to nag, even when we have actually won.

Hide-and-seek is a dangerous game.

Because in real life, when we hide, people stop seeking us.

funny wisdom on words that begin with a C

 

Cronkite

Cronkite, Walter: 1916–2009, U.S. newscaster. 

He had the right look to calm our prejudices.

The perfect voice to allay our fears.

A coiffed mustache to parallel favorite uncle.

And a serious tone to let us know he knew the hell what he was talking about.

We never could confirm if he was a Republican or a Democrat. He felt that his political leanings were inconsequential—even detrimental in delivering the news.

He cried once, when a President was shot.

And he beamed like a proud father when he saw American brothers walking on the moon.

His name was Walter Cronkite.

We don’t have anyone like him, basically because we’ve decided that people who bring us the news events from around the world need to be pretty, opinionated, over-bearing, caustic and political.

It would be difficult for the younger generation to imagine a “newsman.” They are accustomed to talking heads, pundits and rating whores.

When there was no 24-hour news cycle, but there was a need to know what was going on in the world, millions of Americans invited one man into their homes, through their singular television set which sat in the living room in a corner, offering three channels.

This man was Walter Cronkite.

We don’t know if he had fetishes, affairs or a history of juvenile delinquency. It wasn’t because he was secretive. It was because Mr. Cronkite did not believe that he mattered—only that he accurately, truthfully, and dispassionately delivered the update of what was going on in our world.

He was a treasure. He is still a treasure.

And through the miracle of video tape, he can be viewed by some of the young news gatherers, who might just gain credence by personally taking on a revival of his spirit.

funny wisdom on words that begin with a C


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Convent

Convent: (n) a community of persons devoted to religious life under a superior.  

 I’ve never been motivated by fear, even when some of it may have been legitimate.

I cannot stand to be intimidated and frightened just so somebody will believe that I’m adequately aware of a pending horror.

I have been a fortunate man because my journey has taken me every place I wanted to go, and many places I did not envision going but ended up benefitting me.funny wisdom on words that begin with a C

I once found myself, along with my family, staying for two days at a convent. It was an experience. Let me tell you the difference between “experience” and “blessing:”

A blessing is something you wish would go on forever.

An experience, though initially pleasant, is something you are overjoyed has an expiration date.

The women living in the convent, serving God, praying, and taking vows of both chastity and poverty, were some of the sweetest, gentlest and kindest souls I had ever met. But after about thirty-six hours, I discovered that their profile and practices were initiated through a fear of being displeasing to their Master—their husband. God.

Over breakfast one morning, I shared with these lovely souls my intention to write a novel on the life of Jesus, with him telling his own story. I felt confident that they would be moved by such an adventure. The intimacy we had shared over the stay made me relaxed, and I was forthcoming about details.

They were shocked.

They were offended.

Matter of fact, they pleaded with me to not write such a book, because it would “be offensive to God.”

Honestly, the last thing in the world I wanted to do was argue with nuns—especially on their home turf, the convent. I listened patiently to their objections, and for the rest of my visit I remained quiet, eager to get back to a world where poverty is not preferable and there is a God who welcomes scrutiny instead of feigning offense.


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