Oh To Crawl In A Hole

This piece was a writing assignment from my Little Egypt Writer’s Society group. Our assignment was to recall an event when we wished we could hide in a hole. You’ve probably been there – done that also.

THE URGE TO CRAWL IN A HOLE hole-ground-home-wild-animal-57149387.png
@2017 Bill Murphy

I too have had my moments when I wished for vanishing dust, or a handy, empty hole. Two of these embarrassing events stand out above all others, both similar in nature.

In 1954 our Methodist church received a new pastor, with THREE daughters. I was all starry eyed over the youngest. We were 13 at the time.

Sunday afternoons we had MYF – Methodist Youth Fellowship – which was just what the name implied, a time when the young folks of our Methodist church fellowshipped together with sports, games, snacks, and a short spiritual message. Several of us were gathered on the front steps of the Fellowship Hall. Myself and two other boys were seated on the top step. The object of my affection was standing with a few girls rather close to the steps. We each had large glasses of iced tea. Glass. Clear, transparent glass.

I have no idea what caused ‘the event.’ I had no allergies, no sniffles, no congestion. (You see what’s coming.)

I was about to sip my tea, or perhaps just had. My glass was at about chest height, fortunately far from my nose. Then it happened. The sneeze was like a sudden spasm,  unexpected, and with force. Just the sneeze would have been ok, for the tea stayed in the glass.

Amid that sudden blast of air, from my nostrils was ejected an exceedingly huge mass of what may well have been fully grown jellyfish – right into my iced tea. I was relieved to see that my tea was the only victim of this terrible assault. But here I sat with a large, transparent glass of tea with ice, sugar, lemon, and – yuck! Oh the horror.

While looking for a hole, I held my glass in my trembling hands. Looking all the world like a sun-burned indian. I hoped no one would notice why I was no longer drinking my tea. At 13, this was a catastrophic, thoroughly mortifying event.

Fast forward around 15 years. I was successfully employed as a commercial artist. As in most fields, there’s usually room for advancement with other companies. The Yellow Pages was looking for new commercial artist. I met with the Ad Director at a downtown restaurant for an interview over coffee. This time I had my beverage much, much closer to my lips/nose.

There was no ‘jellyfish‘ involved this time, but the prospective boss was thoroughly sprayed with a blast of coffee, well laced with both cream and sugar. Sadly, the floors were solid in the restaurant, with no holes in sight. Likewise, there was also no follow-up call for a second interview.

 

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My ’70s Rod McKuen Period

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PREFACE

Carol and I were married in March of 1970. It was a marriage made in Heaven. The devil didn’t like that – so in ’73 he stepped in and messed things up royally. This led to a nasty divorce. God didn’t like that! So He stepped in and miraculously restored things as only He can do! We like to tell folks that our divorce didn’t work out.

However – there was a space of time when we were parted that we dated others. The following mushy ‘poems’ are from that time period – when I was looking for love in all the wrong places, while lamenting the waste of the previous one. I call this my ‘Rod McKuen period.’ I don’t consider them Pulitzer material!


 

MORE THAN WORDS

I’m no artist with words,
Please don’t judge them harshly!
Embrace the thoughts which lie within them,
That hide between them, and beyond them.
For the words are only clues.

GIFTS

I love to bring you gifts –
Not to buy your favor,
For I can’t.
Just the smile of your thanks,
Brings joy enough to me.

Would that I could gift you more
Even myself!
If only that were treasure enough!

FIRST LOVE

I’ve learned a lesson from life,
First loves seldom last.
For on loving, we’re learning;
In learning, we hurt another’s heart;
And in hurting – we fail to love.
If I’m your first love, be kind!

THE HILL

Come walk with me to some quiet place.
We’ll find a lonely hill that only the birds know.
Beneath the leaves, we’ll dig a hole, and bury the past:
The bad times, and the painful memories.
We’ll cover them over with new-fallen leaves.
And if perhaps a bird might be watching,
We’ll ask that he forget that unmarked grave.
We’ll walk to the top of the hill,
And dare to look out on tomorrow and across forever!
Perhaps then – we can love again.

BEHIND YOUR EYES

Someone lives behind those eyes:
A life, a heart, a soul.
If I may meet but one of these,
Who knows what YOU I’ll find!

THE TASTE OF YOU

I tasted you all the way home,
Remembering moments before:
The warm and wet of your lips on mine,
Seeking a path to my heart.
Your sweet fragrance,
Turning night’s chill into Spring!
I love these memories – and you!

MY DAUGHTERS

My daughters love me.
They don’t have to tell me.
They show me.

If ever I love you –
Sad would be the day,
That I must tell you, for you to know!

 

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FORGIVE AND FORGET

The Divine and Human Side of Forgiveness  ©2017 Bill Murphy

 

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I, even I, am he that blotteth out thy transgressions for mine own sake, and will not remember thy sins. Isaiah 43:25

And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ’s sake hath forgiven you. Ephesians 4:32

 

It’s said that we should forgive and forget. True, we should. But the forgetting part is what we find most difficult, and rightly so.

There’s a vast difference between Divinity and Humanity. Mankind simply was not wired for selective forgetfulness. Few of us come to God at His first call. Often there’s a period of intense conviction when our heart is being prepared for surrender. If we were endued with the ability to willingly blot out (forget) those early pangs of conviction, it would greatly enhance our efforts to reject God’s calling! So, in God’s great mercy, He’s thankfully not wired our hearts and minds with the ability of selective forgetfulness! Praise God! (It works to HIS advantage!)

However, we do forget. We just find it next to impossible to selectively forget!

From my understanding of true forgiveness (Godly forgiveness), that would mean that the iniquity has been forgiven and forgotten. It’s just as if the iniquity had never happened. Therefore, from the Divine standpoint, remembrance serves no purpose what so ever. Think about it.

However, from humanity’s standpoint, remembrance does serve a very useful purpose. In the righteousness side of the ledger – remembering the goodness and mercies of God!

It also serves a useful (and righteous purpose) on the unrighteous side of the ledger! Isn’t that just like God to use the ‘bad’ for His good!

When we say we truly forgive, our forgiveness is not always genuine. We may sincerely think it is, but deep down, in the remote recesses of our spirit, sometimes tiny vestiges of hurt and disappointment remain. Remembrance is the rain which waters these tiny seeds, allowing them to bloom into full grown un-forgiveness. I believe that remembrance is an internal barometer which highlights the truth (or not) of true forgiveness.

Remembrance has absolutely no effect on true forgiveness. But remembrance can have an adverse effect upon un-forgiveness. Remembrance helps us to be aware of our own short-comings. When we want to forgive and when we think that we’ve forgiven, but remembrance stirs up something that ought not to be – that gives us a spiritual warning to get our heart in order!

So don’t be discouraged that you can’t forget. God made us that way!

 

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The Banana Principle

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PLAN B – The Banana Principle © 2017 Bill Murphy

I’m sure you’ve shopped for bananas at the grocery store only to find two types remaining: those so green and crisp you’d need a steak knife to cut ‘em, and those so mushy and brown you could eat ‘em with a spoon! What’s happened to the good ones?

The Banana Principle, that’s what happened!

The first Banana Principle is: when given our choice, we want our pick of the best.

The second Banana Principle is: We usually don’t truly understand what really is best.

The third Banana Principle: I’ll cover that later.

The First Banana Principle When given our choice, we normally to want the best for ourselves. Go ahead, admit it. We all think like this, don’t we? Is this a really BIG sin? I mean, BANANAS?

Whether we’re shopping for bananas or considering the will of God, we’re influenced by two concepts: perception and reality. With banana shopping it’s really no big deal. But when considering the will of God, it’s a very big deal!

Perception is how we perceive things to be – how we think and believe they are. Perception is purely INTERPRETATION.

Reality however, is just that: reality is what is REAL, what is factual, what is actual, what is true.

A perception may be the same as the reality, it may be altogether different (even opposite) or it may contain portions of a reality. But, our lives are so strongly influenced by perceptions that we’re fooled into believing that our perceptions ARE reality! And this causes us untold heart-ache, grief and endless trouble!

Wanting the best bananas is obvious. But wanting the best from God is something else altogether!

Fact: God wants only the very BEST for us!

Fact: If we want what God wants, then we (by default) want what is best for us also!

Yes, it’s true that God only wants for us what is BEST for us! So how can I convince you of this fact? Chances are that I can’t! Satan is the best salesman ever – he’s had millennia perfecting his sales pitch. Satan can sell refrigerators to Eskimos. And he sold mankind the outright LIE that God’s will is not in our best interest. If I cannot convince you that God wants the best for you – scripture can!

Jesus tells us –“… what man is there of you, whom if his son ask bread, will give him a stone? Or if he ask a fish, will give him a serpent? If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children, how much more shall your Father which is in heaven give good things to them that ask him?” Matthew 7: 9-11

This refers to asking things of Him. But we don’t even have to ask to receive ‘good things’ of Him. I like the way The New International Version says it:

“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” Jeremiah 29:11

If that’s not enough to convince you, consider this:

“And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of man be lifted up: That whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have eternal life. For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved.” John 3:14-17

Remember the THIRD Banana Principle I mentioned?

This Third Banana Principle is that we have a CHOICE! We have the God-given ability to pick and chose which bananas we want.

This ability to pick and choose is our WILL. Just as God has a will, He created us with a will also! “So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them.” Genesis 1:27

When God created us like Himself (in His image) He created us with a will also. That’s because God never intended us to be ‘little robots.’ He wanted us to have a parent/child relationship with Himself. He wanted us to have the ability to choose to love Him and to trust in Him. He wanted us to have the ability to choose His plan for us, PLAN A. He wants us to use this ability to choose – to choose His will over our own! Why, because He wants us to have that which is BEST!

And this is where Satan steps in. He’s learned to MANIPULATE our personal will through distorting and changing our PERCEPTION of God’s reality. Satan has convinced us that God’s will is difficult, hurtful, and altogether UNDESIRABLE!

Fact: God’s will is NOT a burden! God’s will often doesn’t coincide with our own will, but God’s will is ALWAYS in our best interest!

So what IS God’s will? God’s will is Plan A. God’s will is the First Choice. God’s will is the BEST plan.

 

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An Animal That Could Rule The World

This was a writing assignment for my Little Egypt Writer’s Society. Enjoy. Crown

AN ANIMAL THAT COULD RULE THE WORLD

by Bill Murphy ©2017

I’ll go one farther – how about an animal that no doubt WILL rule the world?

Actually, I don’t believe this, for the simple reason that I’m one of those ‘Bible Thumpers’ who believe – “But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night; in the which the heavens shall pass away with a great noise, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat, the earth also and the works that are therein shall be burned up.” 2 Peter 3:10 (KJV) Maybe my choice for ruler will be ruling before that event!

My choice for World Ruler has been around for (non-creationists scientists say) 320 million years – before the dinosaurs. That’s got to count for something – like EXPERIENCE. And, my Ruler-choice is hardy, hardy, hardy – capable of living in MINUS 188 degrees Fahrenheit. He makes his own anti-freeze! (Industrious) Furthermore his resistance to nuclear radiation is up to 15 times greater than yours and mine. So, he’ll be long around after ‘The Big One.’

My choice would make a good President also, with an inbred talent for crossing, no – merging – Democratic and Republican lines – with his group-based decision making abilities. Unlike us, his concept of cooperation and competition are in complete BALANCE! We need him in Washington now!

Did I mention that he can still breathe with his head removed?

My Ruler’s reproductive abilities far exceed even that of my dear wife and our 4 daughters. How about an astounding 300 to 400 kiddies a year? That’s what I call being fruitful and multiplying!

Considering that this Ruler could do better at the polls than one of late… my queen (at least some of her distant cousins) are said to produce milk that is the most nutritious on earth!

She has a famous ancestor named ‘NADEZHDA,’ who flew in space with the Russian Foton-M tests, and became the very first terrestrial (earthling) to give birth in space!

So – who or what is this most amazing animal? I believe that Madonna (the singer) summed it up perfectly. She said, “I am a survivor. I am a cockroach,  you just can’t get rid of me.”

 

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All This And No Money Either

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FPC, JCM, NMMC © 2017 Bill Murphy

When you have a large family, lived a long life, visited so many exotic places and done so many amazing things, you don’t have an excuse for not writing. Your problem is – writing about ‘WHAT?’ Sadly, things fall through the cracks. This morning, an unexpected Facebook post shook a basket of nuts from the tree.

Bishop Wallace, from my days with Jitney Jungle, was fond of saying, “All this and money too.” But FPC, JCM, and NMMC didn’t pay. They did however, claim that the retirement was out of this world.

All of my adult life I’ve worked with my eyes, hands, and imagination. I’m an artist, and paid for my keep through working as a commercial artist. I joking call that prostituting my talent. Basically – I sold pork chops for Jitney Jungle.

FPC, JCM, and NMMC didn’t sell anything, they offered a pathway to salvation.

FPC stands for First Pentecostal Church. Our family was faithful ‘dues paying’ members for 25 years + or – 1 or 2. Naturally, I volunteered my ‘gifting and abilities’ to the work of God. Shortly after our union with FPC, the church took over a struggling Bible School from Tupelo, bringing it to Jackson and renaming it JCM – Jackson College of Ministries. Only last week I ran across a proof copy of the very first JCM Catalog, which I helped layout and typeset. Soon came the monthly newspaper, conference displays, etc., etc., etc.

And then, FPC/JCM acquired a new Music Minister and Dean of Music – Lanny Wolfe. FPC and JCM were famous for their joint effort in the creation of the NMMC, The Nation Music Ministry Conference – a week long yearly event designed to educate, inspire, and showcase musicians from across the national United Pentecostal fellowship.

That was when the fun really began!

The annual NMMC was a big deal. It brought in hundreds of musicians and guests from across the nation. It was claimed that FPC would sit 1,000 – but this proved to be an exaggeration by a couple of hundred. The architects lied. Chairs in the aisles did little to help. The venue was moved to the Municipal Auditorium. The NMMC made no small economic impact on the city of Jackson either.

The NMMC was never a simple dog and pony show. No way. The days were filled with seminars from everything from fiddling to copyrights. And the night events were marathons of choirs, soloists, and dramas. My ears still ring.

And everything had it’s advertising, paperwork, forms, signage, banners, brochures, etc., etc., etc. Bill was a busy boy – for several months prior and until after the home stretch. At the time, I was probably singing to myself – If this is the days my friend, when will they ever end?

I still have a couple of old notebooks with ‘to do’ lists. I’m amazed at the length of those lists! But, I was younger then.

Now don’t get me wrong, I loved what I was doing. I felt honored to be a part of such a huge undertaking. But I also loved to grip and complain. Don’t we all?

All those fun-filled and heady days of FPC, JCM, and NMMC came roaring back this morning in the form of the drawing above of Elvis Wolfe, which Lanny posted on Facebook. I guess he must have recently run across it. The original Lanny Wolfe drawing was done for an NMMC project, and in a spare moment of madness, I took the time I couldn’t spare to create that little tension-releaser.

Thanks Lanny for sharing it with me – after all these years. As before, it brought a big smile to my face.

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Just Lights In The Sky

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The Moon and Me In 1950  ©2017 Bill Murphy

I feel a special attachment to the moon, one that goes way back into childhood, and continues to this day.

Although my parents kept my sister and I well supplied with age-appropriate reading materials – I was especially excited by the discovery of the Viola E. Lake Memorial Library in George Elementary School. At first I struggled in learning to read, because all those ‘th’ words looked alike to me. By 3rd grade, I’d mastered that wonderful ability, and reading became the doorway leading me to places far from Evergreen Street in south Jackson.

I was especially drawn to books on astronomy and space travel. In 1950, Pluto was still a planet, and Mars was firmly believed to be laced by canals, just a Percival Lowell had drawn them in 1906. In the deserts of Arizona and New Mexico, the US military was firing off Werner von Braun’s V-2 rockets right, left, and ever higher, reaching up toward space. And Chesley Bonestall, that great painter of all things space, was in his prime, churning out vividly colorful images of men working on the moon, space ships on their way to Mars and beyond, and gigantic wheel-like space stations circling the earth. It was a most exciting time for youngsters like myself.

I’ve written much about my dear maternal grandmother who lived next door, but I need now to reveal a sad fact about her life. She was raised in a ‘dirt-poor’ family with few opportunities. She never learned to read. Therefore, her ‘world view’ was limited to not much farther than her arms could reach. But – what filled her heart more than made up for what was between her ears.

I can remember that pivotal night as if it were only yesterday.

This was the days before TV. Instead of sitting inside before an electronic device, we were outside, the adults sitting on the porch, the kids playing in the yard. I remember standing there in Mamaw’s front yard, gazing up at the moon overhead, and wishing and hoping that I would live long enough to see mankind even make an attempt to go there.

I can’t remember the exact words I spoke in relaying that deep and longing desire to my family that night, there in Mamaw’s front yard, but Mamaw quickly respond with,

“Child, there’s nothing up there to go to! The stars and – the moon up there – are just lights in the sky!”

To Mamaw, the sky overhead was just a gigantic domed roof overhead, and the moon and stars only ‘lights in the ceiling.’ Mamaw didn’t live long enough to learn otherwise.

But I did live long enough to see men not only try – but go to the moon – and walk on its dusty surface. And that’s another reason the moon is special to me. It was the very day that Neil Armstrong set foot on the moon that I first learned of Carol Ringer, now my dear wife. I wrote about that in January of this year, “The Year That Changed It All.”

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