Confusion

Congenial: (adj) a pleasant personality

If you will allow me to advance this theory–human virtue rarely travels alone.

This is what often perplexes those who are trying to improve their image.

For instance, someone says you are not kind enough, so you attempt to “go out and be kind”–only to return by mid-day, spitting, cussing and swearing never again to pursue such a farce.

The reason for the failure is that kindness does not work by itself. Kindness needs to team up with a couple of other contributors. Those two friends are patiencefunny wisdom on words that begin with a C
and joy.

Otherwise, you will find yourself being kind to the unkind, and rather than patiently waiting for your overtures to pay off with the next traveler, you will give up, not allowing your joy to give you the strength to be kind again.

Congenial is an idea, but not really one that is easily put into practice. We often regret being gentle when others respond in a gruff manner.

If you truly want to achieve the attribute of congeniality, then it is necessary to link your kindness with some enduring patience, knowing that the joy that will come through the victory will propel you on to a lifestyle of openness.

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Coated

Coated: (n) a layer of covering

I, for one, appreciate and enjoy the candy coating on my aspirin.

I know it’s just a brief whiz-by of sweetness, but it keeps me from tasting any of that aspirin flavor that sticks in the back of your throat and makes you cough.

It’s just damned considerate.

This crossed my mind about twenty years ago, but I didn’t really do anything about it until last year. (Sometimes it takes nineteen years to work up the gumption to follow through on one of your own pieces of brilliance.)

But twenty years ago, I thought to myself, the problem with human relationships is that they aren’t candy-coated.

We walk around with some adult, grown-up notion that things should be nasty, and the more bitter they are the better it is–because we’ll end up with such a great, complaining story.

It wasn’t until last year that I realized that this applied to me. I was waiting for somebody else to put it into practice. But then I sat down one afternoon and realized that I am sometimes hard to swallow:

I can be bitter

I can be nasty

I can be sour.

And the truth of the matter is, my responsibilities require that I use candor and truthfulness to get the job done. After all, can there be anything worse than a writer who’s a liar–which may force him to write more lies later?

Yet there are human ingredients of sweetness that can be added to truth, so that we can feel love as we embrace reality.

May we never lose kindness.

May we never forget the power of being gentle.

May we always take into consideration a sense of humor.

And certainly, may our daily lives be blessed by the power of apology and the simplicity of a thank you.

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Armed

dictionary with letter A

Armed: 1. (adj) equipped with or carrying a weapon or weapons.

I shot a gun seven times in my life.

Now, there’s an odd sentence.

What do I remember about the experience? I recall it as being fun.

I pointed a gun at a tin can and shot five times before I finally hit the thing. There was a real sense of satisfaction upon knocking over the former bean container.

I wanted to do it again.

If I really believed that being armed was a choice of recreation, I could completely comprehend the desire.

What I have trouble with is when people tell me they want to be armed so they can prepare to be dangerous.

After many years of dealing with human beings, I can tell you–we were never meant to be dangerous. Matter of fact, there is a real danger in us being dangerous, Why?

1. We are impetuous.

We do many things and are sorry later. It’s just hard to apologize for shooting someone.

2. We feel powerful about the wrong things.

The best gift we have is our ability to negotiate life and get along with others. Feeling the power of being armed sometimes makes us unwilling to be pliable.

3. We need good thoughts.

As long as we feel protected by a weapon, we will not use our better angels to fly in and solve our problems. And if we do, it may be in the back of our minds that we are still armed.

I know the classic saying is, “Guns don’t kill people; people kill people.”

I can’t argue with that.

But long before we actually kill one another, we can develop an attitude of intolerance because we feel endorsed by our weaponry.

  • It makes us nasty when we could be gentle.
  • It makes us pushy when we might achieve compromise.
  • And it makes us confident in implements of anger instead of instruments of peace.

 

 

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Amish

dictionary with letter A

Amish: (n) the members of a strict Mennonite sect that established major settlements in Pennsylvania, Ohio, and elsewhere in North America from 1720 onward.

I grew up around the Amish.

Which in turn, means they also grew up around me. But you see, there’s the problem. They really didn’t.

They came into town to buy groceries. They were civil. They were kind. They were gentle.

It didn’t bother me that they dressed differently or that they all wore beards. (I guess the women didn’t…)

I wasn’t particularly upset about them living without electricity or the comforts of the modern world. After all, I went to a church camp or two where such restrictions were levied for a week to get us all mindful of things non-electronic.

It’s just that I have grown weary of all human attempts of separation, much to the chagrin of my family and friends who would like to hold on to a nice big slice of the popular culture, so as not to abandon existing relationships with friends who have reserved a lane on the broad path. I just don’t understand how we expect to co-exist–(Oh my dear Lord, forget that. Survive!) if we continue to build smaller and smaller boxes wherein to place those we consider to be more valuable–from our strain of DNA.

I, for one, am tired of the word “culture.” Has anyone noticed that the root of the word is cult? Normally we look down on cults. We consider them to be limiting, segregating and self-righteous. But I guess if you put a u-r-e on the end it’s ok, because it denotes some kind of honor of your ancestors.

I watched a show on PBS about the Cambodian community. Many of the young transplants from Cambodia have begun to hold weekly barbeques, eating only the food of their former land. It makes for a rather bizarre bit of recipes and diet, including cow intestines, bugs and various broths. The young people are very proud of it.

But here’s what I thought: there’s a bunch of people in their graves who would like to tell these youthful adherents that they would gladly have eaten hot dogs, hamburgers and chicken, but could only afford cow intestines. They would like to encourage their offspring to upgrade.

Much of what we call culture were merely survival practices of our forefathers and mothers, who struggled to get us where we are–so we wouldn’t have to partake of their pain.

So be careful.

If you want to live on a farm somewhere, turn off the lights, grow a beard and wear plain clothes, it is America and you are free to do so. But when you include the name of God in it, who claims to be no respecter of persons, and insist that there is some special holiness in doing without, I have to shake my head.

It won’t keep me from buying your food products, though. They’re really quite good.