Three Words
Off the Wall, December
7, 2012

Recently I was visiting my favorite paint store when a professional painter by the name of John Roble entered through the double doors and blurted out, “How ya doin’ Pee Vee?” to which I stated, “Fantabulous!” He then filled me in on the history of that word, much to my surprise.

“You know that word was made famous by Van Morrison back in the ‘50’s.’” I knew the year, but I was unaware as to who coined the word. It is a combination of “fantastic” and “fabulous.” When I went through the checkout line at Giant Eagle in Ligonier one day, the girl politely smiled and asked, “How ya’ doin’?” to which I responded the same as above. With a big smile she said, “I haven’t heard that word for a long time.” I learned that wasn’t a Peeveeism, but nevertheless, have used it when people question about my well being.

The way I see it is this. It matters not how I feel, but if I can create a smile on others’ faces, then I am passing along a bit of happiness, which by the way, hopefully is contagious. No one wants to hear about one’s aches and pains. We all have them, particularly we elders. The trick is to always respond with that wonderful word. It may have started in the “50’s,” but if I have my wish, I would like to see it continue well into the years to come.

That brings me to the next word – “heart.” No, I’m not referring to the organ that goes thumpety-thump thump thump in the middle of the night as one is trying to get to sleep but realizes he had a bit of too much caffeine before he retired. It’s a feeling that comes from within. Remember the song stanza, “You have to have heart, all you really need is heart?” A website from the Internet states it was sung by Van Buren Benny.

Deviating from his words simply, it’s a feeling one gets when he realizes a need. That’s my interpretation, and as to my opinion, I don’t think I’m far off as to what others say.

For example, I believe all 14 to 18 individuals from Holy Family Parish who habitually go to Pittsburgh to feed the hungry do so because they have an inner drive to serve God. That’s called having heart – an outreach from within as directed by the Holy Spirit to serve others. The faithful may serve God in other ways by, one, quietly protesting in front of abortion clinics. Their hearts are extended to the unborn. To learn babies are aborted tears hearts apart. Giving to the poor either by monetary gifts or making sure they have food is another way one gives from the heart also directed by the Holy Spirit.

Once one opens his eyes beyond one’s self and asks Jesus to be a part of his life, the Spirit will enter in and lead the faithful to do charitable works. The more one relates to God, the more He will open up avenues. That defines heart in all its fullness.

The last word, “personal,” is one I hear rarely, but ties the two words together. One of the definitions in the dictionary states, “Concerning one personality or conduct.” We all have feelings we’d rather not divulge. That is part of our make-up. Two areas that parties seem to keep to themselves are religion and politics. Those whom are “churched” are very much afraid to let others know how they think for the simple reason that they may be shunned by others. Others have little knowledge of world affairs and don’t let the cat out of the bag, so to speak, of their failure to keep up with the news concerning the war.

Instead of referring to our innermost feelings about our Creator and the Trinity, “religion,” let’s consider it a relationship between them and us, and vice-versa. To we believers, it’s personal, yes, but more so, but much more than that. It’s exciting, at best. If one fills a balloon beyond its strength, changes are, it will explode. That’s what should happen when we are full of the Holy Spirit. Again, our relationship to God is very personal, and must be that, but on the other hand, joyful and one to be shared. Let me cite another example. Barry Yogurtt noticed his friend drinking a concoction he made in his blender. After guzzling it down, he was full of gaiety and happiness. Barry wanted to know the ingredients so he could make the same drink, too. Nat Stevia did just that – shared all Barry requested. Now Nat bubbles over with love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, generosity, gentleness and self-control.

It may be easy for some to hold all of the above in and state “my relationship with God is personal,” but to many, we are like the balloon, we feel compelled to bust loose. So, now does it become evident that there is a connection among the three words? Like Nat, I can only imagine he must likely respond “Fantabulous” when someone asks how he is. He, like many others, has a “heart” of gold, resulting from gifts given to him by the Holy Spirit. Just like Barry and Nat, I received these gifts. That is the reason I exclaim as I do!

- Paul J. Volkmann
Contact me by email

To buy my book, Off the Wall Favorites, call me at 724-539-8850.