"Preach the gospel at all times, if necessary use words." - St. Francis of Assisi

Thursday, November 30, 2017

Birthday reflections

  I sit here on my birthday… calm and peaceful in my home with Christmas music playing and thinking back over “things.” Mostly, what have I accomplished in my sixty-plus years that has made a difference somewhere. On the television are actors and actresses, musicians, the little 12-year old guy who just played piano at Carnegie Hall, even Whoopie, and I feel like I haven’t contributed a whole lot. I mean, I’m just an ordinary, average guy who lives in the great City of McDonough and loves being here, but will folks remember me in years to come.

  But, then I begin to reflect on the years I grew up in East Atlanta. The world then was so much simpler. All our neighborhood kids played in the yards until after dark and didn’t have to worry about creepy, evil people bothering or taking us. We just came and went from each other’s houses, because our doors were rarely locked. Hours spent playing “Red Rover,” “Hide and Seek,” “Rock School,” “Swing Statue,” and so many more. I ran away from home once, but my mom knew I wouldn’t go any further than the corner house, so she just called them and told them to send me home. And, I went home. I began piano lessons, never knowing how much of an impact this would have on my life in years to come. We walked to school and walked home kicking rocks and talking about our teachers and the dreaded multiplication tables. And, life was good. And, I was happy. And some of us are still friends after all this time.

  Then, I think about moving away to a more rural home and area. New school, new friends, new neighbors. I was in seventh grade and it was a traumatic thing. Why did my parents hate me so much to do this to me? Me? But, before too long, I had new friends, was old enough to join Boy Scouts where I was accepted readily, and joined the high school band. The life of a band nerd was not quite so cool in the 1960’s as it is today. Fortunately, our marching and symphonic bands were fantastic, and the school loved our programs.

  College days were the best years. Friendships were made that I have and cherish to this day. Adventures were had that (almost maybe) bordered on the illegal, and definitely on the dangerous, but we all survived with all our appendages and some great memories we still look back upon and laugh. A lot. And my life was still good.

  Careers and jobs followed for the next 40 years and I was most fortunate to spend 30 of them working as an Assistant Comptroller for the Georgia State University Foundation, Inc. and then as an Administrative Librarian for the five University Libraries. I loved those jobs and discovered more and more about my capabilities for expecting quality and integrity from myself and those who worked for me.

  Now, I’m retired from everything and spend time at home helping my mom around the house and going on our morning walks. And life is good. And better. But, the most important thing in all these years is the relationship I’ve had with God. Even though the above sounds all rosy and fun, there have been some very down times that I would not have survived without knowing God was by my side. That He was helping me through the struggles and battles I faced and I knew I could come out the other side even stronger with His help. And with His help alone, because I didn’t have the strength or power to take on the things of the world that were crushing me. Two of the churches I have been a part of leading me toward ministry; Woodland Hills Church in East Atlanta and Bouldercrest Baptist Church (where I currently am attending. Great and active churches, still selflessly serving the Lord and community with God providing what is needed.

  So, trust God, live your life for God, share Him with others, and when you come to later years, you can look back like me and know that, overall, Life. Is. Good.

  And for today my friends, this has been the gospel according to Jimmy.

Thursday, March 03, 2016

I cannot do anything for you

  Working at a library Circulation desk is a lot like being a bartender. People want to tell you their problems and their joys....and they want your advice. Even though I am an ordained minister, I don't do confessionals, especially while I'm trying to check-out books, print copies and collect fines. 
    When this first began many years ago, I found it odd that people would tell perfect strangers details and stories that they wouldn't tell their family and close friends....and ask these same perfect strangers what to do or what they thought. Then I realized, that a librarian is perceived by the patrons as a close friend. After all, we know the types of books they like, we recommend others that they may enjoy, we help them find books and resources that address issues in life they may be facing, and many times we comfort them during time of loss in their life or rejoice in times of new beginnings.

  I love working in a library for many reasons, but this is one of them. We all become "family." Some may need to be committed to some type of institution, but mostly, they are are all good, fun, and friendly. 

  Christianity is kinda like that. We're family. Some of our brothers and sisters need to be committed, but we will still support them in our thoughts and prayers. The rest are people we love and enjoy being around. When I'm struggling with something, I know which Christian friends to go to...and which ones to not go to. I usually feel much more comfortable talking to a friend than to a formal minister in a fancy furnished office. In my own mind, I feel they are judging me, and my friends don't do such. 

  But, on the other hand, I cannot be "all things to all people." I cannot solve all your problems and do not always want to get so terribly involved because I need there is no way to effectively cut it off. At least with formal therapy, the therapist will finally say, "I've done all I can and you can make it on your own now. This was our last session." Boom. Over and done.

  So, I endeavor to be a friend to those who need me, listen to you (without wearing my clerical collar), but also learn when to say "I've done all I can" and let you go. But, still be your friend.

  Your thoughts? Is this what God would want? Or, should we as friends always be "on duty?"

  And for today my friends, this has been the gospel (or question) according to Jimmy.

Tuesday, March 01, 2016

I'm officially old.....

Welp, I guess I'm officially an old man now. I've been making the old man noises for some time now when I stand up, sit down, lean over, and especially when I get out of bed. If I sit down for over five minutes, I fall asleep. I have different levels of reading glasses depending on what I'm trying to do. And, I'm not even going to talk about the loss of hair on my head. And now, today, this very morning....I went to the grocery store and some young idiot clerk came sidling up to me and discreetly said, "Sir, your zipper is down." 

Great! I'd been to the bank, to the gas station, and now the grocery store flashing everyone I met. At least I had on my nicest and colorful pair of boxers. So, after a discreet zip-up behind the bakery displays, I went my merry way. 

By the time I got home, I was laughing at the whole adventure, figuring that I'm at least glad to have lived long enough to experience all this. It's been a good life, despite the ups and downs, and have known all along that God was in the midst of the good and the bad. Even when I'm unintentionally indiscreet in the Kroger store. And the BP station. And in the bank. And thankful that young guy who warned me before I went to work this afternoon.

Be glad and joyful for whatever state/stage of life you are in. God has given you a sense of humor to enjoy it.

And for today my friends, this has been the gospel according to Jimmy.

Saturday, February 27, 2016

It's good to be home

Way back when I began "Being God's," it was my release, my therapy, my way of indulging my attempts at writing. Then, after awhile, it just became a natural thing to do and was fun. A place where I could ramble on and on about my opinions and life. In the heyday of "Being God's," I had a lot of followers and made some good friends, some until this very day. 
  Then came Facebook, and I began to post more and more there with a wider and wider audience and the majority of folks enjoyed it. But, over the years, I neglected my first love...this blog. And. I missed it. However, my natural tendency to be transparent and tell what was going on in my life began to concern some people, they turned against me and, despite my apologies for any harm, I lost some friends. So, I made the decision to come home to here and distance myself from so much Facebook time.

  My name is Jimmy Cochran, a follower of Christ, I attend a Baptist church, but feel I am more nondenominational. I have dealt with anxiety and depression since I was diagnosed in my mid-20's and have had many really bad, but more good days. A year ago-ish, I was also diagnosed with PTSD due to verbal and emotional abuse that has been heaped on me by former bosses and some (aforementioned) friends. But, God has been faithful to lead me to the right doctors and therapists and the right medications to live happily again.

  As I write here, I reflect on so much of my personal past contained on these pages and also look forward to many days ahead to write about. For those of you who may be drifting here from my FB page, you'll see things here that are not there. 

  So, as I begin here again, I feel good to be back. To have a safer place to share what's going on in the life of a single guy trying his best to live for Christ. 

Be God's!

Day Eighteen of Lent

Day Eighteen of Lent

“I was glad when they said to me, “Let us go into the house of the Lord.” (Psalms 122:1)

  Tomorrow is Sunday. A Holy Day. A day of rest. A day to fellowship with God. And fellow believers. A day to separate from the world (as much as possible). This morning I joined millions of other believers around the world and went to church. And it was good.

  Many years ago, I read a book titled, “Mister God, this is Anna.” The main thing that I remember from this book is Anna’s take on the day of rest. Paraphrasing a bit, Anna made the point that “God didn’t rest on the seventh day. He’s God and doesn’t need to rest. By His calling it a day of rest, God created rest for us. We need to have that day away from the hectic life, to rest and visit God.” Isn’t that an interesting take on the seventh day? Still a day of creation for us…a day of rest?

  Yet, what do so many of us do, whether we are on church staff or not? We try to cram as much as possible into that one day, in the name of God’s work, that we wear ourselves out and come to almost dread Sundays because of the busyness. Been there, done that, burnt myself out from church. Many churches start at 8 a.m. or earlier with worship services, bible studies,  lunches, meetings, visitations, training classes, choirs, programs, programs, programs. And we wonder why people get burnt out and drop away after a season.

  In my own personal walk, I have had to make a conscious choice about what I will and will not be involved with. Even though, I enjoy church stuff and love to be involved, I’ve just learned that I can’t do it all…..as much as I wish I could. As a general rule these days, keep my afternoons and evenings free for family, friends, reading, basically quietness. Avoiding the office or other working. Even though I’m writing, it is in my home office, watching the birds in the woods out the windows and enjoying music. Resting. As the day was created to do.

  Let me encourage you to at least try and simplify your day of rest. Realize that you and your family might need to be hanging out together rather than running all over the county trying to do things that could really wait until the next week. Use Sunday as a day of rest, and, go back to the verse from earlier in this Lenten season, “Be still and know that I am God.”(Psalms 46:10).

Thanks be to God for his indescribable GIFT!

Friday, February 26, 2016

Okey doke. Back to the beginning......

Okay, friends. Here at "Being God's" is where it all began 11 1/2 years ago and where I've come back to. I'll be writing and posting here like I used to do and sharing "the gospel according to Jimmy." 

I am needing to continue in my walk to simplify and get back to whatever "my normal" is. After a year of walking through the hell of PTSD, depression and anxiety, I need to get back to the basics of Jimmy. And no one else....at least for this time. So, here I am. A child of God and loved by Him.

More of my story will unfold over coming weeks as time permits, but, rest assured that I am doing well (at least for the shape I am in...haha).

Be God's,

Saturday, July 25, 2015

What is real?

  McDonough, Henry County and Georgia, if not the whole country, lost a visionary and a remarkable man recently with the death of Andy Davis. His art through sculpture can and will never be equaled and neither will the passion and creativity he held in his heart and his hands. He touched not only McDonough, but all those with whom he came in contact, and we who knew him are far better for having known him and experienced him. And, being around Andy was truly an experience you never forget.

  As the news began to spread around Facebook and other social media, the first responses were “this cannot be real. It must be a mistake.” But, as more details became known, the reality began to spread over McDonough with a tangible feeling. Our City was no longer the same. But, it was real. As much as we did not want it to be, it was real. I also have friends on Tybee that have lost loved ones in recent weeks and months and their grief and sorrow is real. The world they have known is no longer the same. What they thought was real, has changed.

  As you think about the world about us, it seems that few things are real any longer and it is becoming increasingly difficult to determine reality. False fingernails look real; all manner of plastic surgery and procedures, if done well, can turn back the clock and cause us to look much younger and fresher than we actually are; we wear different types of hair pieces that changes our appearance temporarily; your house may have cracks and holes that can be covered up with some paint so that you wouldn’t know they were there, but the problems are still underneath, so you see a false reality; and on and on. Are those really your favorite musicians singing, or are they lip-syncing? It seems that our world today is intent on disguising what is real with what is unreal.

  So, the question is how do we know what is real or not? Is there anything we can depend on for being real? Life is real, for a season, and then it changes. We age and then we die. Appearances can be real, or enhanced. Our finances can look real on paper, but “not so real” in actuality. Friendships may seem real, but can disappear at a moment’s notice.

  It is my belief that there is only one thing is life that is real….constantly real….past, present and future real and never changes. That one thing is God. The scriptures tell us that “He will never leave us or forsake us,” and that “Jesus is exactly the same yesterday, today and tomorrow.” He is the only person and His words are the only thing in this world that will never change. Even though the world around us is changing constantly and things appear real that are only a front, God remains the same.

  If you trust in Him, believe in Him and live for Him, we can be assured that we will live with Him in His Kingdom of Heaven someday. That is a real promise and will never change. But, as long as we live here on Earth, we will need to deal with things that are not real; people that are not real, so we need to make sure that we are rooted and grounded in the one thing that is guaranteed real. God, through His Son, Jesus.

  When the fake fingernails come off, when the botox wears down, when the tattoos fade and sag away, when life takes away those we love, find consolation that God is real. And He loves you forever and always. Really.

  And for today my friends, this has been the gospel according to Jimmy.

Saturday, June 13, 2015

The Guardian Angel has a heart....sorta.

As usual with Angel's appearance, a sharp crack rattles my sleep. Yet, this time, instead of her normal whiny, grating and phlegmy voice, I am blasted awake by a thunderous female roar of "What In The Hell Do You Think You Are Doing? You ******** Idiot!" (well, she did not actually say asterisk, asterisk, asterisk, etc, but you get that point.

As usual, I snap awake realizing that I am standing in the back yard, in the privet, next to the creek bank which is high and raging because, well, because the rain is pouring down and the thunderous roar of Angel is only matched by the thunder and lightning show in the sky. And, as usual, I am clad only in my "Bad Christian" t-shirt and boxers. And I'm drenched. And angry. And, slightly scared of HER.

"Don't Ignore Me, You Weasel. I Asked You A Question!" she roars again as my head began to pound. "What In The Hell Do You Think You Are Doing??!!" And, it slowly begins to dawn on me what she means. Yet, I try to play it off like the Artful Dodger, Fun Guy that I am.

She is perched on a tree trunk that almost spanks the racing creek, her bent and tarnished halo glistening in the rain. Her spotted and stained, torn robe has been hitched up a little with some honeysuckle vine so that she isn't exposing any of herself. Her one good wing and her one broken and raggedy wing are both shining with water and when the sky lights up with lightning, they both look almost new. In fact, the water is causing some type of freakish glow around her that is giving her a type of beautiful, heavenly, (almost) angelic appearance. Her wet cigarette hanging from her fingers gives a little edge back to her, but I can forget about that.

Like I said, I know why she is here and, as usual, try to launch into measly excuses and reasons and diversions to how Micheal is behaving these days.

I try starting, "Hi Angel, good to see you again...."  "STOP IT AND SHUT UP," comes out of the darkness and I'm not sure for a moment whether it is her or, gulp, the Father.

"You see, Angel, I've been going through a really, really bad time lately and am struggling every day," I start. "I 'm not sure what..."

"Oh, Whine, Whine, Whine! Just cry me a bucket full you ungrateful toad. Oh, I've lost one of my best friends. WHINE! Oh, I'm having a bad day. WHINE! Oh, I'm so depressed. WHINE!"

"But, Angel, my doctor has diagnosed me with PTSD, and..."

"Don't You Think The Father and I Know That?" She continues to screech. "What I Am Here for is to Find Out Why You Were Lying In Bed Thinking about How Many Pills You have in your Cabinet and How Many "It" Might Take to end....to End YOU! Have You Lost Your Freaking Mind?!"

I stand there with no excuse, because it was the truth. I stand there in the pouring rain in my back yard, standing (almost literally) naked before God and my Guardian Angel. And I had no answer.

Her voice softened a little. "Look over your shoulder, you selfish foolish critter. Look at the windows in your home. There is a family in there that loves you more than anything. Look around your neighborhood. You have neighbors who also love you and your family."

"I know, Angel, I know..."

"Shut up and let me finish. It's rare that I get this kind of assignment, especially for you, because you are usually so well grounded. Now, you're just thinking stupid. Think about all the people on Facebook who write you and send you notes of love and encouragement EVERY DAY and pray for you EVERY DAY! And you are all crazy because one freaking person in Father's Universe decides he doesn't like you. Sheesh, You Are So Stupid." There is silence for a minute, then, in a quieter voice I hear, "but you're stupid in kind of a cute way.

"Listen, jerk. With all the crap that Micheal Elliott puts me and those Tybee people through, I don't have the strength to say this more than once. He wears me out. But, put this in your head and remember it... Forever....'cause I don't want to have to come back here again. The Father Loves You! He Loves You! As messed up and crazy as you think you are, and as messed up and crazy as I know you are.....God Loves You.

"He created the doctors and the doctors who can help you through this....trust them on His behalf. Don't be afraid, Father and I are with you. He created friends who have battled the same demon illnesses that you are battling.....trust them and don't be afraid to call them."

By this point, I could not tell whether it was the rain or the tears running down my face, but I knew I felt loved and safe for the first time in weeks and months. I couldn't bring myself to look up at my Guardian Angel, because I couldn't bear to see the Love of God coming from her. And then, she whispered....

"Now, boy. I have one word of advice for you. Get your eyes back on Father where they belong. Simple. Don't look for problems. Just keep your eyes above. I'm here watching out for you along with Father, Son and the Spirit. You are Never Alone."

I could tell she was ready to leave and was expecting some sweet closing when she swooped toward me and swatted the back of my head in true Leroy Jethro Gibbs fashion. "So, there! You've been Touched By An Angel!!" And if you weren't pumped full of anti-psychotic medication, I'd treat you to a beer up on the Square. But, we'll do that later!"  And she was gone.

I stood there in the rain and hollered to the darkness, "Gee Whiz, Angel! Couldn't you at least pop me back in bed and outa this rain?" CRACK! I was back in my bed, and quickly noticed I was still wearing the wet Bad Christian t-shirt and boxers.....except now, the word BAD had been torn off.

And for today my friends, this has been another story of Jimmy and his Guardian Angel.