Cymbals

Cymbals: (n) concave plates of brass or bronze that produces a sharp, ringing sound when struck by a drumstick

The Book of Psalms refers to “high sounding cymbals.”

It’s part of an impressive list of instruments that were recommended to be used in the process of worshipping God. If this particular Psalm were read aloud in front of the average church-goer, he or she would be greatly discomforted by the description of music that is meant to create as much volume possible, to offer a parallel to the magnitude of the blessings of the Almighty.

It is fascinating how we as a people get stuck in a certain place, a certain time, a certain atmosphere and sometimes even a certain collection of individuals, and lock ourselves there, mentally insisting that nothing can ever surpass that particular organization.

When I first traveled on the road, drums were not permitted in churches.

Matter of fact, the first drum set I ever carried into a church was toted right back out the door by two deacons who were summoned to remove the “demon instruments.”

But deep in my soul, each and every day, there is the reassurance that for every religious objection or social limitation placed on the human race, there is at least one verse of Holy scripture that not only contradicts the delusional commandment, but demands a total freedom of expression.

funny wisdom on words that begin with a C

Cyclothymia

Cyclothymia: (n) bipolar disorder characterized by instability of mood and a tendency to swing between mild euphorias and depressions.

Now you finally have an answer.

Whether you’re asking yourself or fielding an inquiry from someone else concerning why America is so screwed up, you can studiously present the diagnosis:

“It appears the entire nation is cyclothymic.”

We have fallen into a mood where we’re not certain how to feel about anything, so we often find ourselves laughing at absurd intervals and inexplicably weeping over seemingly nothing—so imbalanced that we have forgotten what has value and what is meaningless.

Therefore, many times we find ourselves crying buckets over public service announcements concerning the mistreatment of dogs in kennels, while we can’t come up with the solution for protecting our children from gun violence in school—even when their bodies are stacked next to the monkey bars on the playground.

We become offended by the deaths of unborn children, while we’re seemingly untouched by starving, abused and caged young humans all over the world—even at our own border.

We will mourn over our religion and never shed a tear for the human beings it is poised to serve.

Since we have no control over our emotions and they are liable to sprout at bizarre intervals, we become aggravated with one another for being maudlin or failing to care enough for something that should be deemed tragic.

Even as we lament climate change, we’re angry at humans for the dilemma, never realizing that the reason for preventing planet destruction is to bless and honor our fellow Earthlings.

Insanity is any time we insist that what we hold to be important and essential should be universally accepted as holy.

Some people just don’t bow their heads when they see a cross.

And other folks don’t wince and blink back tears when a dog is scrounging in the wilderness.

It will take a concerted effort for us to once again be able to come up with a clear vision for what is truly significant.

But we might start with: Is it hurting others?

funny wisdom on words that begin with a C

Cyanide

Cyanide: (n) a salt of hydrocyanic acid, as potassium cyanide, KCN.

 If, in your job description, there are instructions describing the circumstances, conditions or situations in which you are required to drop cyanide tablets in your mouth to commit suicide, then, in my opinion, you’ve chosen a poor profession.

I don’t care for any philosophy, religion or nationalism that promotes the idea that ultimate devotion requires the loss of life.

For instance, I would be very happy to assist my country in diplomacy, giving food to the hungry or even trying to find a way to motivate myself to dig a ditch.

But when you refer to the ultimate sacrifice—that being, giving your life in a war for freedom—I must tell you, I find this hideous.

Likewise, in Christianity, when they discuss the disciples becoming martyrs for the faith, I have a tendency to mull over the possibility that there might have been a way to skip out of the pagan land that was so pissed with their preaching and just go to more receptive audiences.

I know this might make me sound shallow.

But death, suicide and popping cyanide in the last moments to make sure you are not captured and interrogated is not only unappealing, but anti-human and anti-common sense.

I will not dwell with those who revere death as the supreme statement of consecration without objecting to such futility in favor of using our hands, our minds and our spirits to enhance the world.

Certainly this eliminates me from being a spy.

I probably will never work for the CIA.

Even the FBI might pass me over in favor of a more death-willing applicant.

 

funny wisdom on words that begin with a C

Cussing

Cussing: (n) the act of using profanity in speech

Since I am not God and certainly not even piously positioned, I do have sins I think are worse than others.

When I was a kid, I was told that cussing was just as bad to God as killing.

Even as a young person, this pissed me off. How could words flung into the air be anywhere as volatile as bullets taking a similar path?

I didn’t buy it.

I don’t buy into it today.

If God is just, God knows there’s a difference between “get your shit together” and “get over there in the corner where I can shoot you.”

I think it’s religion at its very worst when people start pecking at other human beings for language just because they’re chicken to live their own lives at full throttle.

So I will tell you the top five sins in my mind, counting down from #5:

5. Stealing

4. Self-righteousness

3. Selfishness

2. Lying

1. Killing

Cussing doesn’t even crack my top five.

Why?

Because as human beings, there are times we need to release our frustration—so we don’t steal, get self-righteous, become selfish, lie and kill someone.

Cussing is a better choice.

 

funny wisdom on words that begin with a C

Curtail

Curtail: (v) to prevent, reduce or diminish

Imagine a door.

Standing at the door is a tall fellow—broad shoulders—a bit intimidating.

You are pleased to see that he has a smile on his face.

Yet as you stand back and watch, someone approaches the door. Our guard steps in front of it and says some words to the person that you cannot hear. He responds belligerently. The doorman holds his ground and the visitor stomps away, infuriated.

Now you’re curious.

You wonder what’s behind the door. Let me tell you. Yes, to make the story more interesting, I will let you know.

Beyond that door is joy without shame.

The acquisition of being happy with the world around you and pleased with yourself without being haunted with the regrets of bad choices or unnecessary shortcuts.

Are you interested?

So now that I’ve told you that, are you prepared to approach the door?

Of course not. You just saw someone rejected, and he didn’t look any worse or better than you.

Beyond all means, the worst thing, in our minds, is to be rejected.

Even in the pursuit of joy without shame, it wouldn’t be worth being refused entry, dragging your ass away, refused entry.

So let me give you another clue.

The man standing at the door will only ask you one question.

(Don’t roll your eyes. I didn’t say it was a great clue.)

Just one question.

You still seem perplexed.

Okay—let me give you one more clue. I’ll tell you what the question is.

That perked you up. Here it is:

What are you willing to curtail and change to receive joy without shame?

Be careful, now. Because all the religion, politics, philosophies and entertainment have flattered you and me to believe that we are fine the way we are. Just misunderstood.

Since our youth, we’ve heard it: “Be yourself.”

And now you’re coming to a door where you’re being told that you will be required to deny false gratification, insincere sentiments and dispel lies to come in and find joy without shame.

Are you prepared?

Are you willing to look into the face of politics and say, “There is no hope in you because you lie to me, thinking I’m a liar, too, and will understand your lies?”

You will have to gaze into the glassy eyes of religion and say, “I need more than eternal salvation. I require a human life that is abundant with experience.”

Can you curtail your faith that entertainment will provide the necessary food for your emotions, soul and body, and instead, call it out for failing to recognize your whole person?

And finally, push away from the false comfort of a pop psychology, giving you false confidence instead of challenging you to learn your world.

Are you ready to walk up to this “bouncer?”

Or do you need some time?

Yet I will tell you—the question will always be the same.

Certainly, the smile on his face will always be there, but the choice remains.

The decision is yours.

Are you prepared to curtail foolishness to gain wisdom and peace of mind? 

funny wisdom on words that begin with a C

Cure

Cure: (n) a method or course of treatment, as for disease

“I’m not sick.”

This is what I used to tell my mother on the days I wanted to go to school, go out and play or pursue some activity which was being halted because of “under the weather.”

Then there were the days I said, “I am sick.” I was trying to avoid a test, a bully or was too lazy to get out of my bed.

It carries over.

If everybody who was sick sought treatment, more people would get well. And if all the people who are truly well would cease to be paranoid hypochondriacs, we would probably spend a whole lot less money on medical treatment in America.

How do you know you need a cure?

When can you confirm there’s some sort of difficulty, impediment or disease which is keeping you from your best?

The problem with the medical field is the same situation presented by the political arena and also carries through into religious circles.

Cures are developed which are advertised and aren’t necessarily suited to the afflictions.

Politicians try to convince everybody that the economy, terrorism or health care are our three greatest issues. Are they? Will they bring a cure to our ills? Or is the dilemma actually that we still want to kick the shit out of each other?

In medicine, they get so excited about certain advancements and cures that they try to use them as a panacea for all conditions, while the conditions that really beset us—obesity, drug addiction and lack of physical activity—continue to hang around, making us sicker and sicker every day.

And in religion, a savior is offered who doesn’t seem to bring any more insight, wisdom or opportunity our way once we’ve been baptized and born again in our further confusion.

What is the cure?

Three steps:

  1. Ease the symptoms. Make people more comfortable.
  1. Find out where it hurts.
  2. Treat as lightly as possible. Don’t assume it’s a flesh-eating bacteria.

That seems to be the best cure. It’s one that people will tolerate.

Even though we’re all dying and will ultimately end in the grave—as dust and ash—we don’t need to do it every day.

funny wisdom on words that begin with a C

Culminate

Culminate: (v) to end or arrive at a final stage

Many folks do not get to see how their actions culminate, because they get caught up in the muddle of the middle or the slump of the start.

Is it possible that we’re so afraid of losing that we don’t persevere?

Or do we quit because we get more excited with the energy of starting up?

Do we fail to get started because talking a good game is exhilarating, but responding to the alarm clock is quite difficult?

Yet if you were able to pinpoint one of the major problem areas in society—government, entertainment, education, business or religion…

You would have to say that nothing ever seems to cross the finish line.

Fascinating to me is that everything that does not culminate by coming to a righteous conclusion instead culminates with an excuse. And of course, once we learn to make excuses, we develop a need to embellish. (And embellishing is just another way of setting out to lie.)

So absent fruit born from the seed of our notion, we must quickly provide a story to explain the source for the failure or exaggerate any success.

How courageous do you have to be to line up all your ducks, and without fear, let them go?

What is the source of the anxiety that prevents us from such an action?

Maybe it’s because we believe nothing is ever what it’s “quacked up to be.”

 

funny wisdom on words that begin with a C