September 19, 2020


At Buttermilk Falls 09/30/2014 — Long Lake, New York
What is the nature of your pain?

What are you doing with your life?

I think one contributes to,
flows from,
the other.
Our pain forms our life,
our life shapes our pain.
We exist at the mercy of the two,
or as the meeting place of the two,
or as a collaborative partner with the two,
but the three of us are inseparable from birth to death.

Working out the details
of our relationship
with our pain and our life
is ours to do,
or not,
in the time left for living.

Why not?

I'm standing in complete darkness,
looking out at the sound of the surf.
The place has an underground feel to it,
if you can imagine infinity underground.

To my left is a rocky outcropping sloping down
to the water--
which I know without seeing.
I see only the sound of the surf.

I don't know if the tide is coming in or going out,
or what would happen if I stood there long enough
(I think nothing),
or where I would go and started walking
with the sound of the surf to my back
(I think I would just walk forever).
I'm simply there waiting, watching, listening.

This is the place I go when I enter the silence
and seek the Source.
I think of this place as the interface 
with my Psyche.
The water is my Unconscious.
I come there regularly
to receive "gifts from the sea."

My gifts are in the form of realizations,
the things that occur to me,
arise within me,
come to my attention...

As I stand there,
I am also lying in bed at 3 AM,
or sitting in my recliner,
or somewhere equally pedestrian
and nondescript
where I left for the silence at the Source,
to check in
and see whatsup.

Whatsup last night/early this morning
were the two questions I started with,
about the nature of my pain
and what I'm doing with my life.

The nature of my pain at this point is
mostly about regret--
regret mostly about being unaware
of my life and my place in it.
And what I'm doing with my life at this point is
mostly about being aware
of what's happening 
and what I'm doing in response 
and what I might be doing in addition,
or instead.

Old age (I'm in the last month
of the third quarter
of my 76th year) for me
is mostly about reflection,
in search of realization,
making connections,
growing up.
Some more/still/again.

I frequently return to the silence and the Source
to see Whatsup,
and enjoy the peace and restorative qualities
of the oasis within.

I regret that I haven't been doing it all my life,
and redeem that by doing it now.

What is the nature of your pain?
What are you doing with your life?

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 and five granddaughters within about twenty minutes from where we live--and are enjoying our retirement as much as we have ever enjoyed anything.

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