September 15, 2020

03

South Carolina Icon
What symbols are living symbols for you?
Which ones bring you to life?
Ground you?
Open you to the moment,
and to the wonder of life,
the mysterium tremendum,
the awe inspiring mystery,
at the heart of being alive?

What symbols enable you to face anything?
Serve as a guide through dark times?
A beacon calling us past waves crashing on the rocks
and heaving amid the howling wind
on the wine dark sea?

What symbols do you turn to
when there is no place else to turn?
What symbols are at the heart of your life?

Start with these symbols
and search them for the metaphors they represent.
What are the metaphors behind each symbol?
What are the meanings you attach to each metaphor?

One of my favorite symbols is a ceramic egg,
about six inches high and eight inches in diameter.
a section of the shell has broken away,
and a scaly foot of a baby dragon
has come out of the egg
into the light of day.

I have used this egg as a teaching metaphor
for Easter Morning sermons,
as a different kind of Easter Egg,
with the theme, 
"The new life in Christ
will eat your old life alive!"
Using the text from Luke 9:24,
"Whoever wants to save their life will lose it, 
but whoever loses their life for that which is greater than they are
will save it."

What will we lose our life (Metaphorically speaking) for?
What are we willing to go to hell (Metaphorically speaking) for?

Our symbols take us to the truth of who we are.
To the truth of what our life is.

Ask the questions your favorite symbols beg to be asked.
See what they really have to say.

–0–

02

Mouse Creek Falls 11/08/2006 — Great Smoky Mountains National Park, Big Creek Campgrounds, Waterville, North Carolina
Our symptoms,
tics,
neuroses,
psychoses,
loss of purpose,
lack of enthusiasm for life,
ennui,
poor posture
and lousy disposition
are all attributable 
to the sorry quality 
of our relationship
with ourselves in general
and with our Original Nature in particular.

Our lot is not going to improve
until we realign ourselves with ourselves,
and live in accord with our nature.

This does not mean doing whatever we want.
It means doing what is ours to do
whether we want to or not.

"What is ours to do"
is not something someone assigns us.
It is not what parents,
society,
culture
or our desire to succeed and excel
impose upon us.
It is what is ours to do
from before we were born.

You could call it destiny,
but that sounds like achieving something.
It is more on the order 
of simply being who we are--
doing what needs us to do it
the way we alone are capable of doing it.
Living our life the way only we can live it.
Whether anything comes of it or not.

The stream flowing to the sea
is fulfilling its destiny
by being what it is,
doing what it does
the way it would do it
in each situation as it arises.

Be the stream.
Flow to the sea.
It has never been
more difficult than that.
Never will be.

–0–

01

The Viaduct Fall 10/18/2015 03 — Blue Ridge Parkway, North Carolina
Waking up is growing up,
growing up is waking up.
Everyone has a blind side
keeping them immature and unseeing.

If you are not laughing at yourself,
you are not growing up.
If the tone of your laughter is mean
and vindictive,
you are not growing up.

The quality and degree of our laughter
is a signature sign
of the quality and degree of our maturity
and wakefulness.

Seeing is laughing.
Dancing.
Celebrating.
Crying.
Mourning.
Dying.

Laughter and sorrow
have an antiphonal relationship
with each other,
singing the song of life
to each other
through the ages.
Best friends forever.

Life and death.
Death and resurrection.
It never gets old.
We never outgrow it.
We welcome it again,
and step into the day.

Published by jimwdollar

I'm retired, and still finding my way--but now, I don't have to pretend that I know what I'm doing. I retired after 40.5 years as a minister in the Presbyterian Church USA, serving churches in Louisiana, Mississippi and North Carolina. I graduated from Austin Presbyterian Theological Seminary, in Austin, Texas, and Northwestern State University in Natchitoches, Louisiana. My wife, Judy, and I have three daughters, three sons-in-law, and five granddaughters, and are enjoying our retirement as much as we have ever enjoyed anything.

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