Circuitous

Circuitous: (adj) of a route or journey which is longer than the most direct way.

Five minutes. Three hundred seconds.

It is the best time you’ll ever spend–because:

Only the people who don’t know how to parallel park think it’s hard.

Only the folks who never took the time to learn how to put together their dining room table by following the instructions insist it’s
impossible.

Only the rogue souls who are totally convinced that anything outside their own thinking is intrusion will ever benefit from the beauty of counsel.

I don’t care how sure you are.

I don’t care how pure you are.

I don’t care if you think you have the cure.

Take five minutes.

Go over your plan.

Use your three hundred seconds wisely so you don’t end up in the middle of a disaster because you forgot to bring the right parts.

Then you can avoid a circuitous route–where you spend way too much quality Earth time trying to explain why going around in circles was better.

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Chasten

Chasten: (v) to reprove

There are things that work and there are things that don’t.

Perhaps one of the most misleading ideas promoted in our society is the notion that a thousand paths lead to the same singular destination.
This has caused us to believe that we can ignore the wisdom of time and forge our own thoroughfare–and as long as we get “somewhere near it,” we’ve done a good thing by being independent.

Independence is over-rated. More often than not, it’s permission to fail instead of succeed–because leaving the sanctity of good counsel to prove your autonomy usually comes with a bundle of extra problems which have to be explained away later, as you cautiously tout your victory.

But let’s make three things clear:

1. Complaining is not chastening.

Human beings should not have to endure the incessant repetition of a grouchy spirit hounding them over their actions.

2. Assuming is not chastening.

Trying to take on the profile of “the gentle soul” who innocently assumes everyone knows the truth of the matter is often useless and can be vindictive if the silence causes another soul pain.

3. Prejudice is not chastening.

Asking a black man to hold his tongue because he’s “the son of Cain” and therefore not as worthy as white people is not a rebuke granting growth, but instead, instilling inferiority and fear.

Chastening is understanding what needs to be done–seeing that someone has taken a faulty turn and correcting him or her before the misstep turns into a tumble.

It must always be done in love, it must always be done quickly, and it must always be drenched in mercy and grace.

 

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Chaplain

Chaplain: (n) a member of the clergy attached to a private chapel, institution, ship, branch of the armed forces, etc.

One of the major dangers in life is to be overwrought, which means that for some unknown reason we place greater intensity, importance
and value on some matters than others.

We certainly do this with people’s occupations.

If someone says they work at a grocery store, we probably will not launch into a statement of gratitude for providing food for the masses.

But if someone says they’re a chaplain in a prison or the military, we raise our eyebrows, impressed, thinking we’re dealing with a sacrificial individual who is doing really, really valuable work.

The distinctions we make in life cause our prejudice–because there is such a thing as a good chaplain and also a bad chaplain, just like there’s a good grocer and a bad grocer. There are people who do their job well and people who do their job poorly.

So to judge a person who is a doctor as noble and kind is absolutely foolish. Many Dr. Jekylls are actually Mr. Hyde.

I think it would be very difficult to be a chaplain in the military, for the Gospel he or she would preach would not necessarily be in line with either the stars and stripes or the red, white and blue. Jesus had his differences with capitalism, and certainly was not a great advocate of violence.

Yet I respect the chaplain who brings the hope of the Gospel to people who find themselves in the position of making decisions that have far-reaching effects.

So if we can stop our silly bigotry about occupations and start asking ourselves what makes a good person in any situation, then we will be on our way to truly grasping equality and the wisdom of understanding.

 

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Chagrin

Chagrin: (n) distress or embarrassment at having failed or been humiliated.

Life waits around, waiting for human beings to express disappointment so it can squash them like that bug you found in your tent during the
campout.

Even though we contend that a certain amount of disappointment, embarrassment, disgust or sadness is predictable for certain occasions, those who indulge themselves in such a luxury often find that they are left out of the next flow of human activity.

You can be disappointed, but no one really cares.

It’s not because they’re uncaring–it’s because deep in their hearts, each one of us knows that disappointment and embarrassment are useless emotions which must be dispelled as quickly as possible, lest they explode and destroy our will to live.

So when we see this in other people, there is a small part of us that wants to be sympathetic and a huge part that wants to run away in terror.

So beware of the instinct to share your heart if that emotional revelation is filled with chagrin–because even though we all suffer slings and arrows, most of us have learned the wisdom of ducking.

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Caulk

Caulk: (n) a waterproof filler and sealant, used in building work

Not everything is a parable.

Truthfully, you have to be careful with metaphors. You can slice them as thin as the cheese at Subway.

But I will tell you on this Independence Day–I am caulk.

I realized this early on in my life. I am not wood, iron, steel, or as the song says, titanium.

I am caulk. I find the holes and I fill them with my gentle, sweet, comical but purposeful, passages.

I am not here to tear down, nor am I here to be a building inspector, informing you about what parts of life should be condemned.

There are dear, brave souls who do such reconstruction. They free slaves, liberate nations and find actual cures for disease instead of just bizarre treatments.

I am caulk. I come across cracks in the concrete and I fill them in with wit and good cheer.

It buys time. It keeps us from leaking like sieves.

It holds things together–waiting for the hour when common sense can sit down and have dinner with wisdom … and let tolerance pick up the check.

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Cagey

Cagey: (adj) reluctant to give information owing to caution or suspicion.

Is it getting the “smart” out, or is it “out-smarting?”

Simply said, the goal of human beings should be to humbly impart what we experience to the tribe around us, to measure its merit and allow
for wisdom to instruct our neighbors. Yet for some reason, we feel withholding makes us more powerful than imparting.

For those who believe in a Divine Being, there seems to be greater joy in establishing doctrines which alienate outsiders instead of widening the opening to include as many visitors as possible.

We like secrets. Therefore we become secretive. Once secretive, we need to be suspicious in order to maintain our solitude. And once solitude has been established, we become convinced that a cagey approach to life is the way to establish our supremacy.

Actually, the process is simple: a) say what you think; b) tell what you know; c) learn what is available.

Without this three-step process, our thoughts seem to gain golden proportions.

There’s a reason the brain is gray–it needs the colorful opinions of others.

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Cabinet

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Cabinet: (n) a cupboard with drawers or shelves for storing or displaying articles.

It was my first apartment.

I point that out so you will not think I continue to be stupid or am perpetually lazy.

When I rented it, the landlord explained that the cabinet on the wall, wherein were kept the dishes, was loose, and he would be more than happy to send
somebody to fix it.

I was young, impetuous and wanted to come across looking like I had some ability, so I said, “Don’t worry about it. I think I can take care of this one.”

We will never know if my statement was true–because I never found the time to work on that cabinet, which was determined to come unhinged.

After a while, it began jutting out more and more and dipping. (Basically, I never had to reach in to get the dishes–just opened the door and they fell out.)

I actually became adept at putting a hand on the middle of the cabinet, getting it to latch enough to look as if it was repaired.

It was not. Repaired, that is.

It did cling for a while, but then one day, when I was loading dishes and all of them were stacked, it gave way and fell from the wall, scattering plates in every direction–of course, breaking each and every one.

Being the mental giant I was and the essence of true wisdom, I yelled at the cabinet.

I told it where to go.

It did not care. It had given sufficient warning of its dismal intention.

I could have fixed it, but then I would have lost all those days of procrastinating enjoyment.

For you see, procrastination is very fulfilling until it catches up with reality–where payment is demanded.

 

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