Throwing My Loop…
By: Michael Johnson
THE GOOD AND THE BAD
We need both those, you
know – the good and the bad. That's what makes us who we
are. I'm still learning that after all this time. I remember
the first time I ever heard of such a thing. Years ago now,
a fellow doctoral student was preparing dinner for several
of us when the subject came up. His name was Michael Jamail,
and a most interesting fellow he was...
Our host - and chef - was Father Michael Jamail, a
Catholic priest and the son of the famous Jamail's in
Houston – a grocery store quite comfortable with catering
$1000.00 per plate fund raising dinners for politicians. But
on this night, his mother and father weren't cooking - he
was - for a handful of hungry college students in his small
apartment. I watched him that evening - this graduate of
Notre Dame and holder of a doctoral degree in Canon Law from
the Vatican - as he stirred the grape leaves, the rice, and
the lamb. And then, I noticed the wall decoration behind
him. On a burlap background with colored letters, the words
spelled out...“Thank you, Lord. Thank you for the good
and the bad. Thank you for it all.”
“What does that mean?” I asked him.
He stared at me for a time. “You don't know?” he asked.
“No, I don't,” I said. I remember he had a little smile on
his face when he said, “You will.”
Like most of us, I avoid hard-times with a passion, but
when we find ourselves in one, it helps to remember there is
wisdom lying all around on that valley floor. My trials with
the horse called Shine caused me to question my sanity at
times (and caused my friends to question my sanity at all
times – sorry, ex-friends) but without those difficult
times, Shine would have taught me nothing. While the
“lessons” that disturbed horse taught me were hardly
pleasant, (there were many) now I see how precious they were
– for his well-being, and for mine. As has been said, “There
is no better teacher than an emotionally disturbed horse.”
I'm not suggesting we seek out painful experiences, but
it is interesting that as we age, we come to a place where
we might not be so quick to erase an unpleasant time in our
lives even if we could. The worst of times come to have
great value. We don't learn much when things are going well.
Like Shel Silverstein's “The Missing Piece,” a story
that haunted me for years because I just didn't get it –
simply could not understand what it meant.
A wheel is rolling along, and while he's doing okay,
there is a problem. He lacks a missing piece that would make
him roll perfectly. Suddenly, he finds a piece that fits
wonderfully. He inserts that perfect wedge inside, and man,
can he roll now! He travels along at a high rate of speed –
so fast in fact, that he no longer has time to visit with
the worms, or the flowers, or the butterflies. He no longer
sings because his piece fits so perfectly, it causes him to
go much too fast.
And one day he stops. He gently takes the perfect piece out,
and lays it softly on the ground...and he rolls away.
If you didn't get that story, it's okay.
A bit of the wonderful song called “Prayer 2000” by Eliza
Thanks for all the songs
Thanks for all the good luck.
All the things that don't go wrong.
And all the hopes that don't give up.
Thank you for my tears,
loved ones who forgave me.
Thank you for my darkest years
All the sorrow that made me.
And the beauty that saved me.
-- Michael Johnson
Sharon and Rowdy