Bedraggled

Bedraggled: (adj) dirty and disheveled.Dictionary B

I know it may sound weird, but I was thinking about the word “ministry.”

It led me to the word “minister.”

In every facet of our society, we have prerequisites–demands for people who are allowed to cross through the front door and be included.

In politics, you have to be political, personable and part of a party.

In entertainment, you should arrive with good looks and talent.

In business, you need a plan, financing and an approach.

In college, it’s a good idea to arrive with a history of good grades and a scholarship.

Even when you’re cashing a check, you need proof that you exist and that you are who you say you are.

But sometimes, in each and every one of our lives, those pillars of proof and attributes of acceptability disappear. We hit bottom, and for some inexplicable reason, grab a shovel and start digging ourselves deeper.

  • We are not passable.
  • We don’t fit in.
  • We are at our worst.
  • We are not pleasing.
  • We are bedraggled.

We have ceased to register on the scope of reasonable human appearance and behavior.

That’s when we need a minister.

That’s when we need ministry.

So if those who are called to serve others and minister have a laundry list of requirements for the bedraggled souls who come their way, then we generate a Bowery of lost souls who have no place to go.

If dirty people have to get clean to be pure enough to remove the specks of grime that cling, then there is no hope for our race.

Somewhere there has to be a place, a person, an idea or a gospel which takes those who have sullied their opportunities, treats them as the human beings they were intended to be, and patiently guides them to a personal discovery and cleansing.

Is there such a place?

Is there a ministry?

Is there anyone who really still believes “whosoever will may come?”

 

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Apex

dictionary with letter A

Apex: (n.) the top or highest point.

“Getting high.”

It’s too bad that phrase has been sullied by the drug culture, because it is so rich in truth and promise.

Everything in life has an apex, even though we often settle for the valley.

  • The apex of politics is a decision to be responsive to the needs of the people instead of chasing their whims.
  • The apex of the military is to convey a strength which discourages our enemies instead of using new weapons to experiment with their lethal carnage.
  • The apex of friendship is really honesty–having someone in your life who will tell you when your breath is bad.
  • The apex of spirituality is “love your neighbor as yourself” instead of debating “who is my neighbor?”
  • The apex of education is infusing knowledge which is workable to the student who wants to go out and pursue a craft.
  • The apex of sexuality is mutual pleasure.
  • The apex of finance is having enough for your needs, a little for your desire, and the balance to help others.
  • The apex of athleticism is the payoff of being in shape, whether you win the trophy or not.
  • The apex of commerce is to make a decent profit while feeling soul-satisfaction because you’ve delivered a quality product.
  • The apex of parenting is seeing the good parts of yourself in your children and allowing them to rebel against the bad.
  • And the apex of faith is working towards having the will of God done on Earth instead continually speculating on heaven.

I am in favor of getting high–just not chemically induced.

For finding the apex in life may be the true definition of “the high road.”

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Anomaly

dictionary with letter A

Anomaly: (n) something that deviates from the normal, standard or expected

I liked music.

At eighteen years of age, I’m not so sure that I was totally devoted to a career in the field or whether there was a bit of laziness tied into the equation, because playing piano sounded easier than punching a time-clock. (After all, we get ourselves in the most trouble when we try to purify our motives instead of accepting them a trifle sullied.)

One afternoon during that eighteenth year, I took my girlfriend, who was soon to become my wife, into a back room of a loan company owned by my parents and sat down at a piano which had been given to our family, but because we had no room in our house, ended up stuck in the back corner of this lending institution.

I had never written a song before.

As a teenager, I sang in choir, a quartet and for nursing homes, pretending like it was a big gig at Madison Square Garden.

Yet on this day, I suddenly got this urge to compose. It was not stimulated by a professor at a college asking for an assignment, nor was it motivated by my ancestors, wishing that I would abandon all normal courses of occupation and pursue a musical path.

It was truly an anomaly.

  • It was contrary to what everybody wanted me to do.
  • It was an open, seething contradiction to my cultural training.
  • I sat down at that piano, and in the course of the next ninety-four minutes, wrote two original songs. I didn’t know if they were good and certainly was not confident they were great.

But something came out of me that wasn’t a conditioned response or a well-studied answer for a final exam.

It was mine.

Whether it was good or bland, it came from me. It excited me. It encouraged me to muster the perseverance to survive the critique of my society and even overcome my own fits of lethargy to pursue it.

It still excites me today.

Hundreds of songs later, I still feel as thrilled when pen goes to paper, words appear and musical notes cuddle up next to them.

No one in my family ever took the course of action which I chased, beginning with that afternoon in the back room behind that piano.

But it is the selection of that odyssey that has made me who I am.

There are two things you have to remember about an anomaly:

  1. It is never immediately accepted.
  2. It always takes more work than you expected.

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