Congregation

Congregation: (n) a group of people assembled for religious worship

Walking in the door, I’m uncertain.

Everyone is dressed nicely, but seem to be caught up in a quiet spirit–a somber profile.

I glance into the room, where everyone is beginning to gather, and notice that it is illuminated, but with a subdued glimmer.funny wisdom on words that begin with a C

I’m not sure what to do. I do not know who I am in this place. Moments before, I was in my car with all my stuff around me–familiar parts of my existence. Now I am in an unusual space with an unusual sensation, unusually uncomfortable.

Why have I come?

Better question: what is it I need?

I desperately need to be bolstered. Yes–there’s the word–uplifted. Made to believe that the faith I place in myself, my family and the world around me is justified.

What else? I could use some joy.

I could certainly benefit from appreciation.

I wouldn’t be averse to a hug, as long as it was accompanied with a warm welcoming.

Though I believe in God, I don’t exactly know what He wants from me. I have concluded that He needs my passions placed in appropriate directions, and for me to do my best to treat my neighbor as myself.

Does He demand my praise? Interesting.

It is so quiet I can hear myself think. That’s not good. I spend too much time mulling things over in my brain.

I need to escape–break out of the jailhouse of my own imprisoned opinions.

I need to hear music that stirs me.

I need to hear words that encourage me.

I need to be around people who are invigorated by being around each other.

I have stepped into a room which has been sanctified for worship.

I am uncomfortable.

I am part of a congregation.

I’ve lost myself.


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Chortle

Chortle: (n) a breathy, gleeful laugh.

What is your percentage?

What is the percentage of the things that happen in life that you find funny?

It’s a very important number. If you’re not careful, you can start taking everything very seriously, and end up frightened, aghast and terrified
to “move about the cabin.”

But also, if you think everything is a joke, somebody eventually gets the commitment papers signed and puts you away.

For instance, I don’t take government seriously at all. People who encourage me to vote because “every vote counts” are always complaining to me within a few weeks after the election–because every vote didn’t count.

There is a certain number of lamentations which can be changed into jubilations simply by altering one’s perspective.

For instance, some people take religion deadly somber. But you see, since we do not know if there is anything after death, it’s really not necessary to speak definitively or act pious.

What percentage of the things that happen in life do you find worthy of a chortle instead of needing to be treated as immortal?

I certainly think that every human soul, if he or she is to maintain sanity, needs to have a chortle meter set at 51 or above. Yes, over half of the things that we muse, confuse, diffuse and refuse end up being just meaningless worry which collected on us like morning dew, waiting for the sun to burn it away.

And as I get older, my percentage of laughs has increased, and therefore, in my opinion, my sanity is bolstered.

When I heard about the “war on Christmas” I laughed. Nobody’s gonna mess with Christmas. It’s when everybody makes their money.

When somebody told me that immigrants were causing problems in this country, it crossed my mind that this might be a color issue, colored by how these individuals view coloration.

Sometimes I giggle to myself because I don’t want to hurt the feelings of those who have brought a whole platter of difficulty and expect it to be honored.

What is your percentage? Are you prepared to go crazy with every piece of lunacy that leaps at us from the moon?

Or have you set your mind in the direction of silliness, allowing yourself the benefit of releasing your frustration–through a good old-fashioned chortle?

 

 

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Animated

dictionary with letter A

Animated: (adj.) full of life or excitement; an animated conversation.

Do you remember the old commercial where a woman with a sour expression on her face turns to the camera and laments the number of prunes necessary to alleviate her constipation?

“Is two enough? Is six too many?”

I remember when I first saw the commercial–it really grossed me out. I was young and the idea of a constricted bowel life was beyond my comprehension.

Time marches on. Or in the case of this discussion, somewhat stands still.

I feel the same way about living an animated life.

We have many different opinions on whether a certain amount of excitement is enough or if an additional degree of enthusiasm is too much.

Matter of fact, we tend to compartmentalize our lives into occasions where exuberance is acceptable, and those profiles where we normally choose to some degree to be more adult or somber.

What is an animated life?

1. Wherever you are, be there.

I don’t need people to be jumping up and down, but I do like to have the sense that they’re present and aware of their surroundings.

2. Care about something other than your cares.

One of the surest ways to become boring is to have no awareness whatsoever of the feelings, needs, or sentiments of others.

3. Match your surroundings.

The Good Book phrases it really well: “Rejoice with those who are rejoicing; weep with those who are weeping.”

What a fabulous idea.

4. Go for one more.

  • If you’re in a conversation, ask one more question.
  • If you’re enjoying a movie, hang around for one more minute to discuss it.
  • Take another sip of tea before you leave.
  • Think of a reason to express appreciation.

Just one more. It is the definition of the social second mile. It lets people know that you have fulfilled your commitment, but you’re animated enough to offer an additional footnote.

That’s what I think about being animated. I don’t require that people leap to their feet and applaud my efforts, but I would like to know that my presence in their lives was significant enough to create some sort of pleasurable expression on their face.

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Ambience

dictionary with letter A

Ambience: (n) the character and atmosphere of a place

I guess some vibes are normal.

For instance, at a funeral home, there is usually organ music, the sickening smell of flowers and people whispering tearful regrets.

At a rock concert, there’s screaming, with people pumping their fists, patting each other on the back and yelling lyrics at a stage which is too far away to hear.

In Washington, D.C., ladies and gentlemen dress up in their parents’ clothes and follow the rules of a Parliament they fought an eight-year war to escape.

And in church … well, sometimes it’s a somber climate with worshipful silence, and in other places, it’s tambourines, drums and modern interpretations of songs written by shepherd boys on a lute.

How important is ambience?

If I walk into a restaurant and the waiters are wearing tuxedos, the food is not necessarily going to be better–just expensive.

I think the aura or overall feeling that best exemplifies our country, though, is a beach on a Saturday afternoon at about 2:30. It is the oddest collage of beauty, beast, coolers, umbrellas, tanning lotion, tossed balls, screaming children, strutting studs and prancing babes.

It is America:  we boldly worship the sun while knowing that it’s slowly killing us with skin cancer, convinced that we have every right to occupy the available space on the sand, which is the width and length of our blanket and also, completely and arrogantly confident that we are just as good as the next bathing suit nearby.

Ambience is a tricky thing.

It’s used to telegraph propriety in a world that no longer knows what a telegraph is.

It’s a bit old-fashioned, it’s a bit presumptuous, and it certainly is often misleading.

Yet each one of us does generate an individual glow around us, which is either inviting or repelling.

And determining what that beam of self turns out to be … will decide our happiness.