Cross to Bear

Cross to bear: burden or trial one must put up with

It’s not about how much you’re carrying; it’s about how much you’re grunting and complaining.

From an honest heart, I will tell you:

Many of the things we feel we suffer are self-inflicted wounds we’ve refused to treat and therefore, they’ve become infected.

Then we bitch about the infection, failing to notice that we’ve ignored the open wound.

Although there may be validity to the notion that each one of us bears a cross, much of the burden that is upon us is self-induced, self-prescribed and self-contained.

How do we know the difference between a difficulty that requires perseverance and one that is waiting for us to drop it off at the emotional dump heap?

Two quick questions should help a lot:

  1. Have solutions been offered that I’ve rejected because I’ve decided I’m stuck with my predicament?

Because if I get caught in a fire, rather than acting doomed, I’m at least going to try to piss on it to put it out.

It is ridiculous to accept our lot—especially if we believe it’s been divinely thrust upon us by an interfering deity.

  1. Is there any way I can share the weight of a particular responsibility with another person without hurting him or her, or coming across as a complete wimp?

Very often in my life, the box that needs to be carried into the house is much lighter when I ask a friend to help—but often I don’t, Because otherwise, how could I stumble into the room, breathless, screaming for someone to find a table where I can put it down?

There is great drama in believing that we are so important that some tribulation has purposely targeted us.

But for me, I’d rather sit on my big fat ass and think things through to a conclusion than try to find nobility in suffering.

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Consistent

Consistent: (adj) acting or done in the same way over time

No human being is consistent.

Before you decide that’s a bad thing and you scrunch up your face in disapproval, may I point out that inconsistency is one of our better funny wisdom on words that begin with a C
virtues.

Since the Earth is filled with tribulation and chaos, being consistent is one of the better ways to make sure you’re either ignored or a total and complete failure.

If you do not realize that everything around you is evolving continually–whether it be part of natural selection or the standards, goals and aspirations of the Earth itself–then you might accidentally try to adapt to patterns which will leave you choking on the dust of the acceleration of progress.

Certainly there are times we want to give our best effort to a cause–what we might call a “consistent representation”–but only until we are shown that these practices have been phased out and discontinued.

It was a consistent belief in this country that women were inferior to men.

It was a consistent contention that the races should not mix.

It once was a consistent doctrine that divorced people were going to hell.

Consistently, the human race has claimed the right to judge other people–only to discover that when the same judgments were placed upon them, they fell well short of the glory of anything.

In place of being consistent should be faithful.

Faithful to love, to humanity, to change, to acceptance, to forgiveness, to creativity, to kindness, and to perseverance.

If we are consistent in these attributes, and stay faithful to the cause, it will be made known to us what to change, so that we can continue to consistently be on-point and valuable to our own lives and the lives of others.

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Chance

Chance: (n) the possibility of something happening

I have a chap who is one of my daily readers, who constantly becomes infuriated whenever I use the word “chance.” He contends that using
“opportunity” is always preferred.

It is a school of thought that there’s no such thing as luck.

But I must tell you, if I did not believe in luck, chance, happenstance or any other synonym found in my thesaurus, I would never be able to comprehend God. I cannot envision a Creator who scurries around His universe trying to repair minor matters, similar to a maintenance man at a dilapidated apartment complex.

  • There have to be systems.
  • These systems have to be free of prejudice.
  • They have to be self-perpetuating.
  • And they must integrate with one another.

That is why dissociating God and science is similar to running your car on only oil, without water, or vice versa.

If there is free will–and there is–there must be a system in place which allows for good choices, education, wisdom and perseverance to obtain more chances for those who are determined.

So from time to time, those who are not worthy of consideration do stumble on the right numbers for the lottery ticket. Without time and chance, we are living on a sphere which is dictating to us, instead of opening the door to change through our vision and actions.

Not everything is an opportunity. Sometimes there is no reason whatsoever for what happens to us.

It reminds us that the random nature of science requires that we stay on our toes, and affect as many components of our lives as possible.

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Branch

j-r-practix-with-border-2

Branch: (n) a part of a tree that grows out from the trunk

Over the years I have had many people come to me seeking counsel and advice. Of course, what they’re looking for is a combination of a sooth-sayer, a prophet and someone who has just returned from picking God’s brain.Dictionary B

And unfortunately, there are those folks who will connote that they have a pulse on your situation, and therefore privy to your marching orders.

One of the more popular assertions? Branch out.

In other words:

  • Follow your dreams.
  • Put all of your hopes on 7 on the roulette wheel.
  • Try new things.
  • Experiment
  • Be bold.

That kind of dime-store intuition may get applause on a TV talk show, but when applied in normal everyday life, often leaves believers devastated in disappointment.

Why? Because no one knows your true aptitude, attitude, potential, talent or perseverance. They’re just hoping you get lucky.

Of course, most people don’t. This is why state lotteries work–because most tickets don’t win.

Likewise, the reason the majority of us do not achieve peace of mind, financial success and personal satisfaction is that branching out and trying fresh ideas rarely works.

What does work is pretty simple:

1. What am I doing that works?

2. Since it works, how can I do more of it?

3. Then, how can I do it better so it works even more often?

This information is general, but true.

Anything that is an adventure has risk, and therefore, more than likely will fail.

But if you have something that has proven to be profitable, then just find more opportunities to do that same thing in varied ways.

So be careful.

What sounds good in an auditorium with a large crowd of people has to be followed up by you–with a cup of coffee and determination.

 

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Bolster

Bolster: (v) to support or strengthen; prop up.

CourtesyDictionary B

Reconsidering

Repentance

Smiling

Courtly manner

Good cheer

Slow to wrath

Reflective

Patient

Worry-free

Gender equality

Merciful

Tender

Enduring

Persevering

Determined

Watchful

Forgiving

Not too sure of yourself

Humble

Creative

Willing

Energetic

Tolerant

Evolving

Hopeful

Realistic

Loving

Exhorting

Faithful

Bolster these things.

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Autonomy

Autonomy: (n) freedom from external control or influence; independence

The trouble with what I think is that it comes from my thoughts. dictionary with letter A

Very limited.

So over the years, I have pondered the difference between needing and wanting.

Living in a society that greatly believes in autonomy, I get tempted occasionally to consider that my information is enough to provide me success.

For after all, I don’t want to need anyone.

And even wanting seems to be clingy.

So the end result is that most individuals go along pretty well until they come across a problem that requires assistance, but instead they worked with their own ideas, leaving a gaping hole or a disaster.

At that point, you can either admit your mistake or you can be a true American and disguise it and lie about it. But suddenly you might find yourself with a microphone in your face as people ask you why you did this terrible deed and what caused you to think you could get by with it.

Ridiculous.

Here’s what I feel–I want to know myself well enough that I’m fully aware of my inventory of facts, so that when any situation comes up, I can either say, “I need no one else on this,” or “I want a buddy.”

I don’t want to be needy all the time, but I refuse to end up wanting because I’m afraid to admit my lack.

So here’s the three-step process which I use every day of my life when it comes to things that pop up in my pathway:

  1. Do I know anything whatsoever about what is confronting me?
  2. Of the little I do know, will my knowledge be enough to handle the difficulty?
  3. If not, who do I want to invite into my predicament to aid me?

That’s it.

Autonomy is wonderful if you know what you’re doing.

If you don’t, autonomy is that first step you take off the edge of the cliff … insisting that the angels should catch you.

 

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Automatic

Automatic: (adj) a device or process working by itself with little or no direct human control.dictionary with letter A

Racing to escape the wilderness of political correctness and stumbling into the jungle of free speech, let me state clearly for all time:  Being kind is not automatic.

Human beings are neither innately good or evil, but rather, born to be lazy. (I know this will disappoint Steppenwolf, who contended that we were “Born to be Wild,” but let the chips fall where they may.)

So if we’re going to pursue a quality life which frees us of the need to retaliate because we haven’t instigated an attack against anyone else, we must practice what is automatic. And what makes things automatic? They slip out without our permission.

If we had more time to think about them, we certainly would have picked a different approach. But because the abundance of our heart carried a certain venom, the mouth spit it out like a cobra.

So I am going to tell you what I think the three greatest virtues are in a human being:

  1. Kindness
  2. Good cheer
  3. Perseverance

So if you want to tap these virtues and make them become more automatic in your reactions, understand that kindness finds a resting place in our souls because we finally come to the conclusion that we don’t want to be treated like crap.

Yes, it’s true. I am not kind to people because I am so overflowing with heavenly goodness. I just don’t want others messing with me, so I don’t mess with them. Then I sweeten it a little bit with some gentleness, hoping to get some sugar back my way.

Secondly, serious people are always seriously in trouble. Because they are searching for a problem, they will quickly find one and then be overwhelmed by its dimensions.

This makes them a pain in the ass.

If you can’t add some humor to the situation, then basically…shut up.

And finally, perseverance is not something you can muster in the midst of the struggle. Rather, it’s the extra canteen of water you brought along because someone mentioned a trek through the desert.

In other words, you troubleshoot–considering some of the more unpleasant options and then simply prepare yourself aforehand for said trial. Then if these complexities do arrive, you are prepared to endure.

I am trying to get kindness, good cheer and perseverance to be automatic in my life in order to acquire two tremendous blessings:

I did my part.

So please leave me alone.

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Augment

Augment (v): to make something greater by adding to it; to increase.

dictionary with letter A

I must warn you that this particular essay may be a bit blunt and graphic.

I am not choosing this profile because I desire controversy, but rather, to explain how powerful ideas can be supplanted by mediocrity.

From time to time when I check the inbox for my emails, I am inundated by offers to “augment” my penis.

They are basically working under the concept that I am dissatisfied with the little fellow. Or maybe it’s the insecurity they wish to play off–that I fear my lover is unfulfilled with my girth or length. It could be just the classic misconception that “big is always better.”

I quickly delete these advertisements, and sure enough, after a few weeks they disappear for a season, only to once again pilfer through, trying to convince me of the dwindling possibility below my belly line.

Yet there are many things I would like to augment. My penis is not one of them.

  • I would like to augment my generosity.
  • I would like to augment my perseverance.
  • I would like to augment my discipline in eating fewer calories.
  • I would like to augment my compassion.
  • I would certainly like to augment my patience.

I could go on and on about what I wish to augment–but I never receive offers on these points of interest, only a proliferation of opportunities to extend my cartilage.

I am not a prude. But I’m also not obsessed with my own sexuality.

I want to live in a world that becomes concerned about augmenting common sense–so that I don’t have to be known by what “Jane thinks about my Dick.”

 

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Aptitude

dictionary with letter A

Aptitude (n): 1. an ability to do something 2. suitability or fitness

For a myriad of reasons, I barely made it through the 1980s with my being intact, primarily because of my complete disdain and obvious aversion to personality tests and aptitude quizzes.

It was all the rage in that era and still persists today in pockets promoting superficial psycho-babble.

The notion of taking responsibility for one’s life or learning a craft seems so arduous to the average person that they would like to believe they were born with certain abilities, rarities and anointings so as to take all of the mystery and work out of their personal journey.

Parents, aunts, uncles and grandma and grandpa all encourage this by noting everything from the timber of our early babble, to the length, height or breadth of body parts, to place a mission upon us before we’ve even learned how to stop messing our pants.

Certainly everyone wants us to fall into a personality type, where we can hide behind the pluses and minuses of that particular idea to explain our behavior.

But even though these testers will insist that you can be docile, quiet, introverted and silent, they sometimes fail to remind you that it is the world around us that requires we step out of our shadow and into the light.

Yes, perhaps intimidated folks can be given a name, but it is the gregarious ones who will be given the position. One would think it’s a plot, to keep part of the population oppressed in order to supply fodder for the more menial tasks, if one was of a nind to believe in conspiracy theories.

What I think is that we are too grounded in a Calvinistic, pre-destined American thinking that wants the whole plan laid out in front of us by the time we’re three years old, to ever instruct the general populace in matters of manners, intensity, perseverance and expansion.

I can tell you of a certainty that I had no aptitude for anything but eating. Yet there isn’t a doctor alive who will let me believe “I was born” with the aptitude to be fat. Isn’t that interesting?

Apparently some characteristics are inserted at birth and others become bad habits.

So what I choose to believe is that I have nothing but an aptitude for laziness and if I pursue that, I will end up poor and alone. Therefore I choose to overcome my aptitude … and study the present pursuit that rings my bell.

 

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Airport

Words from Dic(tionary)

dictionary with letter A

Airport: (n) a complex of runways and buildings for the takeoff, landing and maintenance of civil aircraft with facilities for passengers.

My first visit to the airport was when I was eighteen years old, flying off to Arizona to retrieve my girlfriend from exile by her parents to a status of once again being my partner and eventually, wife.

The airport was deliciously frightening and glorious at the same time.

It was many years later before I flew in an airplane again. I was twenty-four years old, jetting off to Nashville to work on a musical project with a famous female country songwriter, and I felt like I had the wings of Mercury, surrounded by the gods of Olympus.

Much later I went to airports with my traveling companion to tour the country, sharing from one of my books and cruising through the air with the greatest of ease.

And then came 9/11.

Now, I don’t know exactly what Osama bin Laden envisioned to be the result of his vicious and treacherous plan. Certainly he ended up killing three thousand human souls. But I do feel he also put to death the great American love affair with airports, traveling and zooming through the atmosphere from one destination to another.

For the casualties of 9/11 continue:

  • It’s in our economy
  • It’s in our mistrust
  • It’s in our bungling of foreign affairs
  • It is the chip on our shoulder–proclaiming ourselves “great” without providing the goods and services to confirm the assertion

The American airport today has all the appeal of a Middle-Eastern open market on a hot desert day. It is inconvenient, pushy and unapologetic for both its prices and its surroundings.

Because I believe in my country, I think eventually we will grow tired of restrictions, anxiety and succumbing to the whims of a madman who planned our defeat in his cave in Afghanistan.

Bin Laden is dead and buried in the deep blue sea.

Maybe we can muster the courage to make traveling a commercial and private pleasure again instead of a gauntlet of endurance, athletic and patient perseverance.