Charity

Charity: (n) the voluntary giving of help, typically in the form of money, to those in need.

“I’m no charity case!”

It is a statement often flung in my direction when I’m attempting to be generous to someone who obviously could use some bolstering.

The statement is prideful statement, and unfortunately, doused in ignorance. For truly, there is not a soul among us who does not
occasionally require the charity provided by strangers.

In viewing my abundant life, there have been many times when I have possessed finance to fund an unnecessary, extravagant dinner–and also specific occasions when a dollar bill lit up and danced before my eyes because its arrival was truly divinely inspired.

If we go with the Old English definition of charity–which is love–the desperation each of us possesses to be loved is incomprehensible.

Denying it makes us look like foolish, pouting children.

Demanding it too often has the whiff of the charlatan.

So I have a simple saying in my life:

“May those around me who happen to arrive at just the right moment to come to my aid find me busy doing my best, unaware that they are on their way.”

 

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Brigadier

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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.

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Belong

Belong: (v) to fit in a specified place or environment.

Dictionary B

Shortly after my arrival, I was told that I belonged to a family.

I was also informed that this collection of people was supposed to be supreme in my mind, and I should defer to them in all cases.

It didn’t take long before I was required to belong to a school.

  • We had a mascot.
  • We had teams.
  • We had jerseys.
  • Our school was better than your school. At least, purported.

I also belonged to a church. It was not the only church in town, but in many ways, I was instructed that it was the only church in town. To belong to this institution, I had to believe in their ideas, doctrines which granted them a sense of importance, uniqueness and preference.

My genealogy told me that I was of German descent. So apparently, I belonged in the white race, the offspring of Germanic tribes. That seemed to carry some significance which I never totally fathomed.

I met a woman. Actually, I met several women. But I had to pick one so we could belong together. Picking more than one was considered scandalous.

I graduated from school and was told I needed to belong to a corporation and have a job. I found that limiting and tried to launch out on my own, only to be scolded for failing to belong to the good working folk of America.

It did not take long to realize that other people belonged to different things than I belonged to, and because of that, it would be impossible for us to achieve high levels of interaction or fellowship.

It seemed to me that belonging was just a well-organized way of clumping–and once clumped, a certain amount of defensiveness was necessary in order to maintain the integrity of our particular heap.

I grew weary of such foolishness.

I belong to the human race.

That’s it.

I am not in the mood to join any other faction. 

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Belie

Belie: (v) to fail to give a true notion or impression of something.Dictionary B

I have been accused of being either crazy or a glutton for punishment because I watch the political debates.

I, myself, am not political.

But I think it would be total foolishness to live in this day and age and wish for a different time, or else pretend, through self-righteousness, that I am above the fray. The Republicans and Democrats are my brothers and sisters whether they embarrass me or not.

On this particular evening of viewing, there was a lot of noise, banging and viciousness. I know it is popular to criticize these politicians who aspire to be the President of the United States, for their attacks and ferocity.

But I must tell you–they are not the culprits. In many ways, they are the victims.

Because as the debate ended and the camera swirled across the audience, it fell for a moment on the countenance of the moderator–the newsman–the journalist who had been in charge of the affair.

There was a tiny smirk on his face.

It angered me.

The smirk was not a smile of success, but rather, belied an agenda by a news organization to sensationalize an activity in order to gain ratings, with no real concern about the toll it was taking on the gentleness of the American people.

It was rotten.

And for that brief moment, I felt sorry for those gentlemen running for the Oval Office. They are being used. The American public is being refused a chance for a kinder way.

It belies us to believe that any goodness can come out of those who make the most profit off of reporting the evil.

 

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Batch

Batch: (n) a quantity or consignment of goods produced at one time.Dictionary B

Christmas cookies.

They are delightful–and unfortunately, limited to one season instead of being sprinkled throughout the calendar.

We happened upon a great recipe for such a batch of treats which was so simple to put together, but so delicious, that we often made them in huge quantities.

All that was required were corn flakes, marshmallows, butter, green food coloring and red cinnamon candies to simulate holly.

The first batch of these delicacies were so moist, chewy and delicious that we quickly decided to make a second and then a third.

About a week later, I got a hankering for more of these sweet treats, so I opened up the cupboard. I discovered we had plenty of corn flakes, not so many marshmallows, and just a little bit of butter. We had lots of green food coloring and cinnamon candies.

I thought to myself, what difference would it really make? After all, what is a marshmallow, or a teaspoon of butter here or there?

So I stirred up the mixture, and immediately realized that this particular batch seemed stiffer. I didn’t think much about it.

I put them on the cookie sheet to set for a few minutes. When I returned, I discovered that my Yuletide yummies were as hard as rocks.

But I persisted. Honestly, I nearly broke a tooth trying to bite into one.

I was angry. Or was I disappointed? I’m not sure–but somewhere suspended between those two emotions, I lamented that my new batch had failed to fulfill my taste buds.

Someone mentioned the fact that I had altered the recipe, thus tainting this particular batch, but I pooh-poohed that idea, saying, “It should still have worked.”

I have since recanted such foolishness. I am now fully aware that if you want to make a good batch of anything … you’ve got to follow the recipe.

 

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Banter

Banter: (n) the playful and friendly exchange of teasing remarks.Dictionary B

I do not know whether you’ve heard yet, or discovered it in the obituary columns, but banter has died.

The silly, challenging, comical, poking fun and sometimes nearly flirting with degrading conversations that friends once had with each other have been murdered because the movement of social media has deteriorated our interaction to, “please like me–or I hate you.”

Here is a startling statement: every piece of critique or even criticism is not necessarily meant to be confrontational.

I sometimes find myself joking with strangers in a grocery store, only to discover that they become alarmed if I even connote that they are anything short of divine.

Here’s what I know for sure–repentance is impossible if you already think you’re God.

If all your ways are righteous in your own eyes, then you will fail to realize that your emotional soul may be desperately in dissaray or on the verge of disintegration.

Introspection is what the human race requires to survive and to make sure that we don’t kill each other off.

And the best way to allow for introspection is to permit banter, which is a “safe zone,” where suggestions or ideas for discussion can be hatched without blatantly or viciously attacking another person.

Yes, long before I tell you that I think you’re an ass, I could have relieved some pressure by asserting that “even a monkey could learn how to change the toilet paper roll.”

We think we become more civilized by saying the right thing all the time, when all we’ve done is set up a situation for saying what we really feel–at the wrong time.

  • I would much rather you would joke with me than insult me.
  • I would prefer that you would poke fun at my foolishness instead of gossiping about me behind my back.

Banter is the gentle comedy we use to steer our friends in a different direction, so we don’t have to intervene … and constantly send them to rehab. 

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Bandy

Bandy: (v) to pass from one to another or back and forth; give and take; to bandy wordsDictionary B

An optimist may feel ordained by the angels to bring hope to any given situation, but becomes ineffective because being in the presence of a pessimist causes him or her to be depressed.

This leaves the realist sitting on the sidelines, shaking his or her head over the foolishness of both extremes.

Thus we have the standoff on Earth which promotes more self-righteousness than progress.

  • Optimists believe they are good.
  • Pessimists contend that evil is too strong.
  • And realists are ignored because they don’t offer any tools on how to tear down the wall.

It has come time in our season on Earth to begin to bandy about ideas which are enriching to the human heart, without trying to turn our emotions into mere marshmallow cream.

What do I desire to be bandied about in the general populace?

  1. Human beings are neither good nor evil. They ascend from dust to become earth, to hopefully reach for the stars.
  2. Forgiveness is not resolution. It is the perfect way to ignore stupidity while you’re waiting for karma to expose it.
  3. Men and women are not different. As long as we insist they are, we will treat one better than the other.
  4. We are not bound by or to our culture. Rather, we are blessed with customs which are endearing but also commanded by life to find similarities with all our brothers and sisters.
  5. And finally, revenge doesn’t work because it has no end. Sooner or later someone has to scream to the surrounding chaos, “What the hell? Let’s move on.” The sooner we do this, the lower the death toll.

These are just a few ideas I present which are not optimistic, pessimistic or realistic.

I would venture to call them humanistic.

 

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