September 22, 2020


Little River at the Sinks 11-04/2006 — Great Smoky Mountains National Park, Tremont, Tennessee
To eyes that see, 
ears that hear, 
and hearts that understand, 
our fate provides us with exactly what we need 
to fulfill our destiny. 

Joseph Campbell said, “Love your enemies 
and what you hate most about your life 
because they are instruments of your destiny.”

We are pulled forth, 
against our will, 
and thrust into the trials and ordeals 
that are necessary to produce and refine 
the character and qualities 
most needed to fulfill our destiny. 

Campbell said, 
“It took the Cyclops to bring out the hero in Ulysses.”

Lao Tzu asked, “Fame or integrity, which is more important? 
Money or happiness, which is more valuable? 
Success or failure, which is more destructive?” 

It is clear that it is not at all clear 
whether it is better to win or loose, 
to be right or to be wrong, 
to get what we want or to be saddled with 
what we cannot stand.

This leads Lao Tzu to ask, 
“Can you deal with the most vital matters 
by letting events take their course?” 
And, “Can you remain unmoving 
until the right action arises by itself?” 
And, to say, “A good traveler has no fixed plans 
and is not intent upon arriving. 
A good artist lets his intuition lead him 
wherever it wants. 
A good scientist has freed herself 
from concepts, and keeps her mind open to what is.”

Instead of railing against the way things are, 
we might simply have faith in the way things are, 
trusting that we are being led by 
That Which Knows along 
a curious and winding path 
straight to the heart of who we are, 
and into the service of what needs to be done—
and, in so doing, 
fulfill our destiny 
and compete the work 
that is ours to do.



Lake Haigler 11/17/2016 49–Anne Springs Close Greenway, Lake Haigler Access, Fort Mill, South Carolina
For things to be better
we all have to grow up.

Growing up is the solution
to all of our problems today.
Every day.

Growing up is sacrificing our good
for the good of the whole.

More than that--
Growing up is sacrificing our idea of the good
for the good of the whole.

Our idea of the good
is the only thing standing in our way--
standing in the way--
keeping things from being better.

For things to be better,
we have to change our mind
about what's important.

Let me know when you are going to do that.
I want to watch you leave what's important
for what's important.

It happens all of the time--
never willingly.

Alcoholics give up what matters most
for what matters most.
Not of their own accord.
Not because it is Tuesday morning
and they feel like a change.

People are always waking up
and exchanging their idea of the good
for the good.
Not because they want to.
Not because they are in the mood to do it.
Not because they feel like doing it.
Not because someone told them they should.
But because they have no choice in the matter.
It is forced on them
by the weight of their circumstances.

We have to get to the end of our rope
before we can change our mind 
about what's important.

The chances of all of us 
getting to the end of our rope
at the same time
are too faint to be calculated.
So faint as to be nonexistent. 

Things need to be better,
and we don't have what it takes
to make them better.

We need to grow up,
and we don't have what it takes
to grow up.
Except that we do.
But we can't access it
until we have to.

AA says, "Attraction, not promotion,"
because it knows
until the student is ready,
the teacher is wasting their time.

We are not in control
of the things required
for things to be more like they ought to be
than they are
around the table,
across the board.

The one thing we can do,
is sit quietly
until we realize that
and allow realization
to work its magic.

Knowing it
and realizing it
are different things.



The Hay Rake 12/16/2007 — Caswell County, North Carolina
It is amazing how bad it can get
just by moving away from the center
and imposing our will for the good
upon the situation--
any situation--
at whatever price,
no matter what.

When it is 
"Our way at all costs,
and you can go to hell!"
We all go to hell.

There are always hidden costs
we do not take into account
when we say, "At all costs!"

This is why greed and folly
are always connected.
Greed is folly!
And when it is our way no matter what,
that is merely greed dressed up
in the finest motives,
taking the moral high ground
straight to hell
and taking everyone with it.

Beware of those who know best
and must be pleased,
particularly when they look back at you
from the mirror.

Seek the center.
Live from there.
Bear the pain
of integrating the extremes.
Balance and harmony
serve the greatest good
of all concerned
with everything taken into account.

Every parent worthy of the title
understands this
and incorporates it daily
in their work
to make things work.

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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