Dead: (adj) no longer living; deprived of life

This can’t be the definition: “No longer living, deprived of life.”

Simply stated, the definition of “dead” is “not breathing.”

For I will tell you—I meet people all the time who are no longer living and certainly seem to be deprived of life.

But they’re still sucking up air.

And they’re often taking that air to spray the contents of the room with negativity, prejudice or snobbery.

Long before we die, some die.

And if we’re still alive when we stop breathing, there’s very little about us that can truthfully be dead.

If our name evokes a smile, if reading a bit of correspondence we sent brings a tear, and if our picture on the wall hearkens to jubilant times, it’s hard to pronounce us dead.

No tomb exists for brilliance.

So what kills us?

What causes us to give up on living long before we give up on breathing?

On the other hand, what would prompt someone to desire to stay alive to the centennial birthday, just to bitch and complain about living conditions?

So I don’t know whether elongated breathing time is a blessing or a curse. If your life is miserable, it is extending the misery, which may just be simulating spending three days in hell.

And if you’re overjoyed—on your way to make love and change the world—and you get hit by a semi, your breathing is snuffed but your living soars on.

I have no desire to be philosophical in this matter and I’m not trying to root out an existential truth to make you think I’m deep and cerebral.

I just choose to believe that dying happens when we stop breathing.

But we can never truly be dead if we have a grasp of greatness …

… and a sense of the significant.


Words from Dic(tionary)

dictionary with letter A

Akin: (adj) of similar character: e.g. genius and madness are akin.

One of my favorite quotations from the Good Book is: “Wisdom is justified by all her children.”

What that means to me is that great ideas, noble causes and desirable notions are not always spawned from altars and pulpits.

Wisdom bears children which point to certain parents. What is the mother and father of great wisdom? What is akin to divine understanding?

I’ve discovered there are three great uncles who let me know when I am in the presence of lasting promises and golden principles. Everything akin to these three entities is worthy of our time and eternal in prospect:

1. Nothing is going to happen without me.

Every time someone tries to convince me that good things can occur without human involvement, I quietly slip out of the room to avoid the pending disaster.

2. It’s not about what I deserve.

Actually, what I deserve is not relevant. If it were balanced, I would also have to accept the times when I deserve punishment and instead am granted grace. The word “deserve” should be eliminated from the English language and replaced with “get.”

3. Nothing acceptable is accepted until it is rejected and continues to insist on being accepted.

Please understand, I do not think human beings are devoid of intelligence, but our intelligence suffers from blindness. We seem incapable of catching a vision for anything that isn’t immediately in the spectrum of our present doings.

So when I run across anything that submits to, aligns with or honors these three ideas, I realize I just may be sitting in the presence of greatness … because greatness is always the blending of need, sensitivity and curiosity.



by J. R. Practix

dictionary with letter A

Achieve: (v.) to reach or attain a desired objective, level or result by effort, skill or courage.

If we just realized that contradictions are what drive us crazy, we could begin to identify them, expose them as the charlatans they are and move on to better aspirations.

This is certainly obvious in our society’s penchant to advertise self-esteem and glorify achievement at the same time. I am told “I am fine the way I am” as I am invited to celebrate the success of another individual, who instead of being satisfied with his or her abilities, pursued excellence. How can you insist that people are acceptable in their present form, and still alienate them from the feeling of victory which comes from pursuing their talents?

I just don’t get it. We have to either decide that mediocrity is commendable or we have to stop giving awards at the Superbowl. If the Number 30 team in the league is just as good as the Number 1 team because they can “suit up,” then why do we have tournaments to declare a final winner?

Which one is it? Are we sufficient in our present status? Or do we need to achieve?

Does God’s grace cover all of our numerous iniquities and stupidities? Or does He extend grace to us to grant us time to do better?

Until we resolve this dilemma in our society, we will be yanking on the emotions of human beings, at first granting them absolution for their less-than-adequate efforts, and then criticizing them for being lethargic.

Here’s what I think:

  1. Encouragement is a good thing if it is honestly telling people that they need to achieve.
  2. And achievement is tremendous if we allow people the dignity and honor of growing, feeling appreciated through their efforts.

I don’t think we should compare people who don’t compare in ability, nor do I think we should take individuals who have been given much and cut them slack because they don’t wish to participate.

Human motivation is really quite simple–if you have much, much is expected of you. If you have a little, a little is expected of you.

And if you want to achieve greatness, take your “little” … and multiply it.