Colon

Colon: (n) large intestine or large bowel

Talk about “it’s a dirty job but somebody’s gotta do it.”

How’d you like to be a colon?

“What’s your job, Mr. Colon?”

“My entire function is to take the shit to the hole.”

I’ve had two colonoscopies in my life. That’s where they go into your intestine with a camera to make sure that it’s ooey-gooey and doing its job. They want to confirm that you don’t have cancer or polyps, which are possible precursors of the disease.

The first time I had a colonoscopy I went into the hospital feeling really bad. A beautiful young woman from China was my doctor. She was so sweet–but I knew
she thought I had cancer. It’s not that I believed I was free of the affliction, but I saw no particularly good reason to etch my tombstone until I had more information.

So they prepared me for the whole process.

The day before the event they brought in a gallon of fluid and told me to drink all of it in as short amount of time as possible. The drink loosens the bowels and empties everything inside–or at least, everything that is willing to be dislodged.

I was faithful. I pooped until my poop looked like water. (And that is a little weird.)

Well, long story short, she went in with her camera and found out there was no cancer and gave me a clean bill of health.

What I remember most about that experience is the legitimate joy on her face when she came to tell me I was alright. It was so intimate, tender and childlike that I teared up and cried.

Was I crying over her gentleness, or was it releasing tension I didn’t know I had about the possible diagnosis?

I don’t know. But it was beautiful.

So every time I go to the bathroom–well, nearly every time–I think about my colon and how patient it is to do its job.

And I also think about someone who was a complete stranger to me–a doctor–who possessed such empathy that she took a moment of grace and the memory of it will last for my whole lifetime.

 

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Codicil

Codicil: (n) an addition or supplement that explains, modifies, or revokes a will or part of one.

It was probably a Saturday morning, and the young fellow was perched in his tiny office in the back of the sanctuary, wondering what in the hell he was gonna talk about the following morning during his sermon at the church.

Although he wanted to be a minister, he forgot how terrifying it could be, to try to come up with a twenty-one minute homily once a week which would both appease and inspire. (Unfortunately, those two words–“appease” and “inspire”–often tend to contradict each other.)

So imagine his glee when he came up with the thought that God’s love–which he had taught about many times–was unconditional.

How good that was going to make everybody feel! The classic warm-and-fuzzy and oh-so-cuddly. He certainly had enough Bible verses to back up his contention.

So when he shared it the following morning it became so popular that it spread across the town, the Internet and eventually became a phrase that evoked tears and deep-rooted reflection from everyone who uttered it: unconditional love.

Unfortunately, the young minister who began this tumbling dice of good feeling failed to remind his congregation that there are codicils.

If love is the will of God, then we must sit down like good attorneys and read over the “will” a bit more carefully to understand how it is executed.

Just as grace demands that we be gracious and mercy is obtained by being merciful, God’s love is possessed by expressing affection and concern for those we deem to be “the least.”

If we fail to do this–in other words, be gracious–He resists our pride.

No mercy? Well–no mercy.

And if our love is not extended to those whom we psychologically view as untouchable, then God is completely willing to view us as equally uninteresting.

If I were to sum up the Bible in one word, it would be “if:”

  • If you want love, give love.
  • If you want mercy, share mercy.
  • If you want grace, be gracious.
  • And if you want understanding, try to understand something that you pretend is completely unacceptable.

 

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Clueless

Clueless: (adj) having no knowledge, understanding, or ability.

Three categories.

No knowledge: Hardly seems likely. In this information age, a decision to go without knowledge has to be a purposeful dodge to avoid it. It’s feasible, but even if we’re trying to escape, some of the volume still pierces our defenses. Therefore it’s difficult to use “no knowledge” as an excuse for avoiding responsibility.

No understanding: The ability to interpret the circumstances around us and come up with a suitable solution does require engaging our souls. If we’re just looking into a pool of self-interest or trying to ignore becoming connected with the people around us, we can certainly pretend we did not understand the severity of the situation.

Yet if you’re around someone who’s crazy and they threaten to do something drastic, it is unlikely that you can claim ignorance of the crime.

No ability: We might lack expertise. Expertise is achieved when we take the ability we have and teach it to be useful.

The concept of “natural talent” is humorous. The idea that our ability arrives intact and ready to go is mind-boggling.

Ability demands an obstacle course before it can be classified as capable of overcoming obstacles.

Clueless is a choice.

Attempting to remove oneself from knowledge, understanding and ability might temporarily give us the free pass of grace, but ultimately exposes us as charlatans who run away from the heat of the battle.

 

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Chide

Chide: (v) to scold or rebuke

Some of the more painful moments in life are when we experience disappointment or defeat–and after the sting of the failure is dying down–the chiders show up.

They have three distinct approaches that really do stink:

  1. “I had a feeling this wouldn’t work.”

It’s usually not a feeling they shared with you–and certainly not based on any sentiments they previously expressed. No, after the fact they create new facts.

  1. “I’m disappointed in you.”

Oh, I see. It’s not enough that life has slapped me in the face. You have brought fresh salt for the wound. It doesn’t even matter if I’m impressed enough by you to be hurt by your disappointment. Disappointment is often the straw that kills many a camel.

  1. “If it were me…”

Yes, folks who have all the facts available to them have now seen the outcome and understand the complete situation, but relentlessly explain how they would have done things just right.

We talk about love all the time. It’s a good thing.

We talk about kindness. Certainly valuable.

But the greatest gift a human being can offer is mercy.

Since life has kicked you in the teeth, I promise not to remind you of the high cost of dental bills.

A great man once said that merciful people are happy because they have the confidence that the mercy they express will be given back to them.

Because most certainly, each one of us takes our turn at being the fool.

So to withhold chiding is opening the door to grace–which can cover a multitude of our deluded efforts.

 

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Charming

Charming: (adj) pleasant or attractive.

Mr. Webster, please make up your mind.

Is it pleasant, or attractive? Truthfully, the two rarely run races together.

Those who are attractive don’t necessarily feel the need to be pleasant. The absence of pimples and the presence of dimples grants them
license to be just as snooty as they deem necessary.

And those who are not attractive often don the apparel of “pleasant,” to clothe themselves in a righteousness that should be suitable for the runway of life.

So which is it?

I suppose there might be a tiny handful of humans who are attractive and pleasant–which enables them to go into a bar and get a date without buying her a drink.

So I disagree that charming has anything to do with pleasant or attractive. Charming is just damn smart. It’s the realization that not everyone will find you attractive, no matter how much you primp, and being pleasant may be suspicious rather than advantageous.

My definition for charming is finding a way to be sensitive to the moment.

Weep with those who are weeping, rejoice with those who are rejoicing. And stop thinking that God has voted you to be in charge of all moods.

If you are able to sensitize yourself to the situations around you, granting a bit of grace to the emotions that crop up, you will bear fruit in the human family.

 

 

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Chaos

Chaos: (n) complete disorder and confusion.

I am sorry, Mr. Webster. Complete disorder does not create confusion, unless, for some reason, we are rebellious to the power of disorder.

In an attempt to put human beings in charge of everything, we have created a climate which promotes, preaches and honors destiny.

But anyone who has lived through a storm or a cataclysmic earth event can tell you that Mother Nature is in charge. She has been appointed the arbiter of human affairs by offering forewarning her natural ways for those who do not stubbornly insist on only promoting their own agenda.

Religious people place God in the role of protecting us from Mother Nature, so that grace can keep us from needing to live a normal human life and provide free passes to the front of the blessing line.

Secular folks love pre-destination because they are heartened by the notion that somewhere there is a lottery ticket waiting–held by their soul-mates.

  • Chaos is a way of keeping an even field, and using Mother Nature to enforce the playground.
  • Chaos is not devoid of rules, just constantly changing them
  • Chaos can be navigated if you don’t try to make your ship too big and unable to turn in the waters of difficulty.
  • Chaos is what gives everyone a chance.
  • Chaos has no favorites, no chosen people and no enemies.

Chaos is what breathes life into us and keeps us grateful, so that we don’t lose interest somewhere between the cradle and the grave.

 

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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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