Michael's Monthly Column "Throwing My Loop"

Throwing My Loop…    

By:  Michael Johnson  



    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.
     You will.

A bit of the wonderful song called “Prayer 2000” by Eliza Gilkyson...

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




Healing Shine


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