Compartment

Compartment: (n) a separate container

My life makes me giggle.

I have had enough spirituality to satisfy the Pope in Rome, enough emotion to make a twelve-year-old girl cry for hours, enough mental stimulus that I’ve fooled some people into thinking I was smart, and in my earlier years, enough exercise to play tennis at a standard that people didn’t laugh when they saw me on the court.

Mine is a blessed existence.

During one of those times of spiritual investigation, I discovered that a verse from the Good Book–where Jesus told his disciples that he was going to heaven tofunny wisdom on words that begin with a C “prepare a place for them,” and that in his Father’s house were “many mansions”–that the use of the word “mansion” did not really mean a huge house with multiple bathrooms and servants. Actually, there are those who feel that the closest translation would be the word “compartment.”

You see, that just makes me laugh.

God is so on point.

The idea that all of us human beings would be able to be anywhere together–even if we were in a glorified state–and have it resemble heaven, is nearly preposterous.

So I think God, in His infinite wisdom, is going to find a space for each one of us that just suits our fancy, while we simultaneously believe we’re interacting with everybody.

I don’t need a mansion–but I would favor a compartment decorated and suited to my personality and whim.

Of course, that’s working on the supposition that such an afterlife exists, and that if it does…some puny soul like me would ever be welcome.

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Coat

Coat: (n) an outer garment worn for warmth

Is it possible I was allergic? No–that’s not the word.

I certainly couldn’t stand to have a coat on until… well, very recently.

All through my teen years, my mother insisted I wear one to school, and I always removed it within ten feet from the door of our home, convinced, I think, that I would break out in a rash if I continued to wear it.

I don’t know whether it was a case of macho, or whether there was a part of me that believed that only wimps and Mama’s boys wore such outer protection.

In the winter months in Ohio, I went with short sleeves.

I once found a sweater I liked for a while–but then my older brother claimed it as his own and I never saw it again.

There was something powerful about remaining chilly. Even as a man, in the wintertime I would find a sunshiny day and play tennis in shorts and a tank top.

I always loved the question, “Aren’t you cold?”

Hell, no. I’m hot, Mama.

I guess that was the thing. I suppose I was trying to communicate to the females around me that I was a furnace. A blazing fire of love.

Or maybe it wasn’t that at all.

Maybe I hated the confinement. Because I was chubby, coats always fit me like a straight jacket–especially if I zipped them up. They were so tight I felt the garment was holding my organs in.

But of late I have changed my mind. The feeling of warmth coming on your skin, suddenly protecting it from chill and frost–it’s very comforting.

I enjoy it.

But, while wearing a coat, I still feel like Wimpy Boy Billy.

 

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Artificial

Artificial: (adj) dictionary with letter Amade or produced by human beings instead of occurring naturally.

It was stuck on a side road in Mt. Shasta, California, high up in the mountains, where the air is thin enough that exercise is more difficult.

This didn’t stop me. I was determined to play tennis.

Considering the struggle I have with my knees today, it seems light-years in the past when I was able to run up and down the court, chasing a ball. But I did–and that’s my story and I’m sticking to it.

I had convinced one of my children to go out with me to look for this tennis court, and when we found it we were absolutely delighted. It proved a statement I had made to my son–that you could find what you wanted anywhere, as long as you were willing to search it out.

When we got out of our van and walked over to the court, we discovered something peculiar. Rather than being made out of concrete or macadam, this court was constructed out of some sort of experimental material–kind of a pottery-shell orange and felt a little spongy underfoot.

At first I was impressed. Matter of fact, there was a plaque hanging up, explaining the surface and how innovative it truly was.

It was artificial. (That meant it was cool.)

So we proceeded to play tennis on this material from outer space.

In about fifteen minutes I was totally exhausted, my ankles ached and my feet felt like I was walking on hot coals. The surface, which was meant to be comfortable, ended up being too mushy, and every time you ran you sank down into it just a little bit, making it nearly impossible to get back out of it.

If you stopped long enough and didn’t play tennis on it, it was a dream. It was like cavorting on pillows. But after all, tennis is not a walking sport; it is a running one. And every time I ran, I felt like I was sinking down into marshmallow cream.

After twenty or thirty minutes I gave up. I went back, took aspirin and swore never to play on such a turf again.

You see, the problem with artificial is that it tries to be a great imitation, which only, in the long run, makes you yearn more for the real.

 

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Thank you for enjoying Words from Dic(tionary) —  J.R. Practix

Agile

Words from Dic(tionary)

dictionary with letter AAgile: (adj.) able to move quickly and easily

One of my largest portions of pride has always been a belief, contention and even, I suppose, reality that I “move really well for a big man.”

Whenever I ran across folks who questioned my size or my blubber, I always reminded them that I swam four times a week and even played tennis.

I was glad to be agile.

Actually, I worked hard at it. I have always been very fat, but also active. Honestly, my busy lifestyle and exercise didn’t do much to counteract my metabolism and overeating.

Time marches on. The obesity has remained and unfortunately, the agility has gradually vanished.

I have worn my knees out carrying around too much weight.

They were very brave for many years and now they are suing me for irreconcilable differences and requesting custody of my movement.

How do I feel about it? Because please understand–what we feel about things is very important. You may be able to achieve mind over matter but you will never achieve mind over emotions. When the brain and the feelings have a war, the mind is never able to overcome the onslaught of the attack brought on by the invasion of mercenary misgivings.

This is why I must deal with my feelings with regard to my agility. Four different sensations:

Embarrassed because I have gotten myself into this situation, where I am no longer agile.

Surprised that I am still around, doing a little kicking and screaming, considering how I have mistreated my joints and muscles.

Determined to do my best to generate greater possibilities.

And hopeful that with a combination of God’s grace and my effort, I can gain back some agility points.

The key lies in what order I allow these emotions to surface every day in my life. If they land in this order: (1) embarrassed, (2) surprised, (3) determined and (4) hopeful, it’s going to be a lousy day. But if I am able to get (1) surprised, (2) determined, (3) hopeful and (4)embarrassed in that order, I normally can see progress.

Yes, to be agile in my body demands that I first be agile in my emotions.

I’m on it.

Advise

Words from Dic(tionary)

dictionary with letter A

Advise: (v) to offer suggestions about the best course of action to someone

You can spend your time lamenting why things are the way they are, or you can learn how they are and make clever adjustments to try to restore them to normalcy.

That’s the truth.

So with that in mind, let me tell you that giving advice is similar to playing tennis with a third leg protruding from the middle of your back. At first you might think it’s a good idea, but when you get out there, hittin’ the ball, you pretty much want to reach back there and yank the thing off.

Let me say it loud and risk the critique of those around me: Americans don’t take advice. So don’t advise them. They feign interest. They pretend to be intrigued if they think you have enough clout to be worthy of their ears, but they will just as quickly leave the room and go do things exactly the way they envisioned.

So here is my idea of what to do when the instinct to advise begins to tickle at the corners of your conscience:

  1. Find out what people really want to do and understand it thoroughly.
  2. Discover what parts of their aspiration are dangerous, illegal or stupid.
  3. Don’t share these discoveries with them directly.
  4. Take the balance of what is not self-destructive in the plan and encourage it heavily.

There you go.

Even though there is conventional wisdom which says there is great benefit in a multitude of counselors, this is only true if you listen to them. Since listening is not only a lost art, but more like a Nazi book burning–totally rejected by most people as they dance around the fire–it’s a good idea to establish a pattern of encouragement for smart while ignoring stupid.

  • If we did this in politics, for example, we could soon eliminate bad ideas by giving them no air play.
  • If we did it in religion, the better parts of God which benefit humankind, could be thrust to the forefront, while ignoring abstract traditions.
  • And if we did it in our personal lives, we would soon find that the weird things we’re pursuing are actually rather boring in the long run, and we could turn vegetables into candy. (Well, I went too far there. But at least we could find things to pour over vegetables which would make them edible.)

So you can feel free to ask for advice, but you must understand that folks expect you to heed it.

The best thing to do is to pay close attention to what works, what blesses, what enhances and what uplifts … and try to do that again tomorrow.

 

Active

Words from Dic(tionary)

by J. R. Practix

dictionary with letter AActive: (adj.) 1.of a person engaging or ready to engage in physically energetic pursuits 2. working; operative: e.g. the mill was active until 1970

I was so glad s I thought of it.

About nine months ago my knees started bothering me.

I have mistreated them profusely, being very active with my large frame–lifting, traveling, playing tennis and all sorts of physical exertions which my knees never actually signed on for.

When I realized I was no longer going to be able to run and goof around on them anymore without having a surgeon go in to rip my legs apart, disabling me for months, I was glad I saw the young man in Washington, D.C. who served as a courier between the Capitol and the White House. It was his job to get messages written on paper transferred as quickly as possible from one place to another. You know how he decided to do it?

Roller blades.

It was a magnificent sight. Even though he was completely young and healthy, he still realized that walking and running were insufficient to the need, and would result in exhaustion at the end of the day. So he glided along on his wheels, weaving in and out of foot traffic, cruising to his destination.

And it looked like he was having the time of his life, while performing a meaningful duty.

Wheels.

  • They made his life possible.
  • They made his life easier.
  • They allowed him to do his job well.

So my desire to be active, even though my knees have chosen retirement,  was made possible because of the vision of that young Mercury, zooming through the avenues of our nation’s Capital, came to my mind. Therefore I wasn’t nearly as frightened about getting some wheels of my own when I needed to get somewhere quickly.

I haven’t given up on walking. I’ve just given up on being stubborn.

If wheels will get me to where I can deliver the message that needs to be heard, then thank God for remaining active.

And by the way, thank God for the cave man who discovered the miracle.