Cornerstone

Cornerstone: (n) a stone uniting two masonry walls at an intersection.

My children hate President Trump.

I suppose I could take a couple of paragraphs and try to explain the level of dissatisfaction that seems to trouble their souls but then I might funny wisdom on words that begin with a C
be promoting their rumors.

On the other hand, I live in a community where I often find myself surrounded by people who think President Trump hung the moon. (Well, probably didn’t hang the moon, but has acquired building rights on it.)

When I get around my children, they sometimes become convinced that I am a conservative Republican because I refuse to join them in their vendetta against the President. And when I meet up with old friends who were once hot sauce and have become milder over the years, they are a little fearful that I might be “too liberal” for them.

I am neither liberal nor conservative.

I find myself being the stone that the builders often reject. They look at me and say, “He’s too gentle. He’s too calm. He’s too accommodating. He’s too open. He’s too willing to share. He has no place in our plans for a cataclysmic conclusion.”

I do sometimes feel rejected.

I don’t hate the President of the United States. I don’t even wish to tell you whether I agree or disagree with him, since he personally has not asked my opinion.

I am not the kind of person who likes to hide behind rocks, spit at people when they walk by, and then run.

Likewise, I am despaired of joining clubs or organizations that refuse to change their rules or guidelines when the mercy of realization has made it clear that transformation and adjustment are in order.

Yet I take heart.

There is an old adage: “The stone the builders rejected becomes the cornerstone.”

Somewhere along the line, my angry children and my complacent old friends will meet each other once again and I will be there…to bridge the gap.


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Checkmate

Checkmate: (n) in chess, a check from which a king cannot escape.

Rudy was not rude–but he was very stubborn, especially when it came to chess.

He loved the game and had practiced it since he was a boy of five, and now, at sixteen years of age, he was anxious to take on all comers. He loved to obliterate the competition, bragging about how few moves it took him to conquer.

He was certainly obnoxious.

He was so bratty that everybody wanted to play chess with him just to pull him down a peg or two from his glory perch in the sky.

Everybody but me.

I had learned to play chess when I was very young, but never liked the game that much. Even though I realized stating that aloud made the smug and the pseudo-intellectuals believe that I was stupid, I still found chess to be slow and over-rated.

So I had no intention of playing the game with Rudy the Rude. (I changed my mind. He was rude.)

This frustrated him and caused him to put out vendetta after vendetta, and eventually he told me that if I could beat him, he would give me five dollars and if he won, I would owe him nothing.

I thought it was time to risk my ego for the possibility of remuneration.

Call it what you will–an alignment of the stars, a lucky few moves, Rudy losing concentration, or maybe me just being better at the game than I thought I was–well, I beat him.

Checkmate.

He went ballistic. He was so angry that he nearly accused me of cheating–except that our little match had gained an audience of about twelve people, so there were witnesses.

He reached into his wallet, handed me five dollars, and screamed, “Double or nothing!”

Now, let me tell you that I possess many vices. For instance, I’m obese. I’m kind of lazy. I need to work on my consideration, like every son of Adam. But I am not bone-dead stupid.

Possessing the Golden Ring, it is not a good idea to go to a pawn shop and hock it. I wasn’t about to give Rudy another opportunity.

I think it nearly drove him crazy–because every time he began to discuss his God-given ability with knights, kings and rooks–there was always somebody who had been at the great match, and was prepared to remind him of his Waterloo.

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Blameless

Blameless: (adj) innocent of wrongdoing.

Dictionary B

People were killed because they happened to be in a night club with a man who brought a gun and a nasty vendetta.

It doesn’t make sense.

Human beings who insist on the world being sensible end up either committing suicide or writing really bad poetry.

But we are not blameless.

I want to find my fault in the fiasco. I am weary of studying the scrambled brains of troubled little boys.

None of us are blameless.

All have sinned and fallen short of glorious possibilities.

An attempt to point fingers–especially prompted by political motivations–is what truly enrages our Creator.

So I went off yesterday morning and did what I think I do best. I shared a message of good cheer enjoined with personal responsiblity.

For after all, I will never change the world by focusing on its tribulation.

I am also useless if I quietly intone to others, “Be patient because God is in control.”

I find value in the human tribe when I bring a spirit of good cheer with a simple idea on how to make things just a little bit better.

I didn’t shoot one bullet at the Pulse Night Club in Orlando, Florida.

But legislation is useless. I must share a responsibility to make this world a little bit more pleasant by offering a courtly grace to the next brother or sister I encounter.

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Armistice

dictionary with letter A

Armistice: (n) an agreement made by opposing sides in a war to stop fighting for a certain time; a truce.

All wars end.

Without them ending, we wouldn’t have enough time to procreate to make new soldiers to go off in battle to die.

So those in power determine that there is a way to get along with the enemy, creating terms of peace.

I guess common sense would dictate that we ask the important question, “Why couldn’t these same terms have been negotiated before we had to stack the bodies?”

Since rarely do the conditions of the termination of conflict satisfy either side totally, why couldn’t such a truce be negotiated in the head instead of chopping off heads?

There is an itch in humanity. It is an insecurity that makes us believe if we are not proclaimed superior to those around us, that we really have not achieved our goals.

  • We start calling ourselves “exceptional.”
  • We fling around high-sounding words such as “destiny.”
  • And we start believing we are doing the will of God by terminating a race of people who are obviously in His displeasure.

I know it is not considered to be patriotic to question the wars that have stained the consciousness of our country. Even when the history books point out the useless slaughter in the human family, we are still encouraged to rally around some purpose for the annihilation.

I remember when I was a kid, there was a saying which became very popular for a brief season: “What if they held a war and no one showed up?”

For that to happen, we would have to begin to believe that other inhabitants of Earth can disagree with us without being snuffed.

Did you ever consider that we don’t go into the forest and kill all the bears, even though we know that if we went into the forest, the bears might kill us?

There doesn’t seem to be a vendetta to destroy all the members of the lion kingdom, even though we are quite aware they are “man-eating.”

So we have an ongoing truce with the animals in nature, which we don’t seem to be able to apply to our brothers and sisters on earth.

Is it possible if I run across humans who think they’re bears and lions … that I can just stay out of their neck of the woods?

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Alike

Words from Dic(tionary)

dictionary with letter A

Alike: 1. (adj) similar to each other: e.g. the brothers were very much alike. 2. (adv) in the same or similar way: e.g. the girls dressed alike

It scares the crap out of me.

And of course, anybody who would suggest that we, as human beings, are more alike than different would be pummeled by the masses and scurried away in an unmarked car, to oblivion by Madison Avenue.

For after all, if we cannot establish that we are different, how can we make ourselves special?

I don’t know when it happened for me. I think pretty early on, I discovered that the only true value in being a human being was finding other kindred and realizing how much we were alike.

  • I didn’t want to live on a desert island.
  • I didn’t want to crack my coconuts all alone.
  • I didn’t want to believe I was a snowflake and God made me unique.

No, I wanted to be part of a blizzard, falling to the earth in unison, creating a beautiful, sparkling horizon.

I’m not so sure we will make progress when we continue to tout reasons for differences among us. Our more noble adventures expel this idea as being “out of school.” Over and over again, in our more enlightened moments, we discover truth.

I’m talking about the Jeffersonian revelation of “all men being created equal.” The Good Book, establishing that there is “no temptation that is not common to us all.” We seem to stumble on the brotherhood and sisterhood of humankind, and in so doing, create such a commonality that it warrants a planet-wide “group hug.”

But then, just as quickly, we become prickly. We’re not satisfied to be followers of Jesus–we need another sub-division. Lutheran. Methodist. Baptist. And that still isn’t enough. We specialize that name with a more refined tradition, until eventually we convince ourselves that our ideas have germinated solely from our uniquely inspired brain.

If it were not so dangerous, we could just leave it alone. Yet after all, Hitlers are not birthed and promoted from the ranks of “joiners.” They are alienated, bitter, frustrated individualists who keep shrinking the planet down to a tiny few who have a vendetta against the remaining plurality.

I am odd. I keep looking for reasons to be alike with my fellow travelers.

When I see a homeless person on the street, I do not view him as an alien, but rather, a possible projection of myself years earlier, had I missed one or two paychecks.

When I see a woman, I do not consider her to be inferior or even separate from my own Eden spirit. She is flesh of my flesh and bone of my bone.

I fear for America because we believe in the excellence of our pursuits due to our superiority over others less fortunate. But since we are only the beneficiaries of such a blessed land because of freedom, and every person who is given freedom is free indeed, we should start trying to find reasons where we are alike with the world around us … or else we may find ourselves abandoned, cuddling up to our own conceit.

 

Adjudicate

Words from Dic(tionary)

dictionary with letter A

Adjudicate: (v) make a formal judgment or decision about a dispute

Courts freak me out.

I suppose there are very few people, except lawyers who make $750 an hour, who find them appealing. I guess a judge might enjoy the atmosphere, since he or she gets to wear the robes. But if you’re not making the bucks or not getting to judge, that particular arena can seem like the Coliseum in Rome on a lions-chomping-Christians mid-afternoon.

I sometimes think about the fact that even though I am a law-abiding citizen, toeing the line and trying to be faithful to my responsibilities and as honest as I can possibly be, I do realize that if someone had a vendetta against me, they could probably dig up something which could be misconstrued as criminal.

Isn’t that weird?

Sometimes in life, it’s not the piss in the pot that gets you in trouble, but rather, who you piss off.

About seventeen years ago, I took three children into my home. They were going through a rough time with their father, who certainly had some difficulties and struggles, and was not treating them up to par. I thought I was being generous. Damn–I thought I was being Christian. I thought I was helping a lady out, who was being abused, and her children, who were being somewhat neglected.

But this fellow took the legal system and used it against me, making up stories and twisting situations to get those in authority to adjudicate against me, forcing me into a courtroom to explain my actions.

As his lawyer sat in that room accusing me of everything except the Kennedy assassination, I realized how fragile we all are, and how we should never become so arrogant as to believe that our actions could not possibly be viewed as questionable.

So even though this gentleman was proven to be a charlatan, I still had to go through a grilling process which made me empathetic to a two-inch sirloin steak.

So what is my point?

None, really.

It’s just that legalities are filled with so much legalism that no one could ever escape if the law was determined to get them.

That’s why I tip my hat to policemen, stay away from downtown areas where there are lions sitting next to lots of steps in front of courtrooms, and I try to keep all of my disagreements simple, discussed and resolved.

Because if I ever started being adjudicated … I don’t know how well I’d hold up.