November 18, 2020


Walnut Creek Trail 09 11/09/2020 — Lancaster County, South Carolina
My short list of the most important things:

See what you look at.
Look at everything.

Hear what you listen to.
Listen to everything.

Know what you know,
and what you don't know.

Sit quietly as often as possible
for as long as possible. 

Contemplate your original nature
and your natural rhythms.

Realize that you cannot change your life
without changing the way you live your life.

Without changing the way you think about your life.
Without changing the people you run with.
Without becoming transparent to yourself.

When you become transparent to yourself,
you become transparent to transcendence.

When you become transparent to transcendence,
you become as God,
with you and "the Father" being one.

How different are you willing for your life to be?



Lake Chicot 09 10/27/2015 — Lake Chicot State Park, Ville Platte, Louisiana
It is our body of work that does it.
It is the cumulative impact
of our life on other lives
over the full course of our life
that makes our living worthwhile,
and stands as our contribution
to the whole--
that constitutes "doing our bit"
in support of the idea of humanity
in the cosmos.

It's like this:
We affect every moment for better or worse,
for good or ill,
by the way we respond to the moment.
We influence every situation
through the response we make
to the situation.

We are, then and there, for the sole purpose
of being who we are, then and there,
for the good of then and there.

You can blow that off if you want to.
That is your way of responding 
to here and now.

You can do that with every here and now
that proceeds from this here, this now.
Blow it off.
Maybe that is just who you are,
and you can't help it,
even by paying attention to it,
and wondering if there is a more helpful
way of being present
in the situations that constitute your life.

I'm saying that you owe it to yourself
and to the rest of us
to be consciously present
in each situation as it arises,
and to offer those situations
what is being called for there
to the best of your ability,
one situation at a time
all your life long.

Blow it off if you want to.
Never mind if you like.
I did what I could do for you,
you wanted nothing to do with it,
and that's that.

But, before you go, look at it this way:
An orchestra,
a choir,
a quartet,
a duo,
you standing alone at the microphone,
works best when everyone 
is on key, in tune, 
and harmoniously in accord with the music.

Stay with me here.

Every situation is a performance
before an audience,
with music
and a microphone,
with a rhythm and a flow,
calling us to dance in sync
with the movement of that time
and that place.

And when we do it,
it is beautiful.
And when we do not do it,
it is not.

Your place and mine
is to grace each situation 
with the full wonder of our presence,
day in and day out forever.

Blow it off if you must.
But, know what you are doing 
when you do.

How we live matters!
It is the only thing that matters!
And we get to practice our part,
to play our role,
to be who we are,
offering what we have to give,
in each situation as it arises.

We have no excuse for failing 
to be good at being us over time.
And everything depends on our
being good at being us,

Don't believe it if you want to,
but why wouldn't you believe it?
Why would you believe something
that lets you get by with being
a fly in the soup,
a gnat in the eye,
a scourge on the earth,
a blight, a curse, on the legacy 
of humanity eternally,
the bane of human existence
through all the ages?

Answer me that,
before you go.



Atlantic Moonrise 01 08/08/2007 — Cape Hatteras National Seashore, Ocracoke Island, North Carolina
Being right about who we are,
and living to place ourselves
in accord with who we are
is the essence of true-human-being-hood,
and the most meaningful thing we can do
in the time left for living--
for ourselves and all of humankind.

"What I do is me/for that I came,"
said Gerad Manley Hopkins.
"By the grace of God, I am what I am,"
said Paul the Apostle.
"I yam what I yam!"
said Popeye the Sailor Man.

There is no greater honor
or pleasure
than being who we are
in the way we live our life.

And it is the Secret Cause
(Stephen Dedalus/James Joyce)
that directs us to our death.
And what a beautiful, wonderful 
way to die that is.

We are going to die some way,
some how.
Why not die being who we are?
As a direct consequence of being who we are?
being who we are every step of the way?

What is a better way to go?

Mean to die by the way you live!
Let that be your gift to the world!
As surely as Jesus' death was
his gift to the world!

To live and to die being who we are
is the greatest meaning 
we can give to our existence!
Why throw it away drinking beer
looking at the ocean?

Drinking beer, looking at the ocean,
is only a pilgrimage to restore our soul
and deepen our commitment
to being who we are in a world
that doesn't notice or care who we are--
a "pause that refreshes"
and enables us to stand up,
and step back into our work
of being who we are,
doing what needs us to do it,
the way only we can,
all our life long.



Around Bass Lake 07 10/13/2014 — Moses H. Cone Memorial Park, Blue Ridge Parkway, Blowing Rock, North Carolina
The rhythms and themes,
tastes and interests,
proclivities and ways of making coffee,
or whatever we drink instead,
which direct and define our living,
are unique among people
who have ever lived,
or will ever live.

We are one of a kind,
and distinctive,
set apart.

And then we get married.

It takes fifty years or so
to knock off the sharp corners
and smooth out the rough edges
and make each of us fit company
for the other of us.

Marriage is equivalent to the smashups
that went on for eons
after the Big Bang 
that eventually created
the laws of physics and biology
by destroying everything 
that didn't belong as it was 
where it was.

We all take our place over time.
Become domesticated
and can be trusted to know
our limits
and where we belong,
and where we have no business being.

And, it would help to know something
of the rhythms and themes, etc.
of the person we are marrying
before we marry.

Insuring compatibility
will not guarantee no collision
of galaxies, but,
it will reduce the likelihood,
and that alone would make it
worth the effort.



The Grove 07 01/29/2015 –Ernest F. Hollings ACE Basin National Wildlife Refuge, Hollywood, South Carolina, The Big House now serves as office space for the Refuge
We all die by our own hand.
We all are the secret cause of our own death.
We all have rhythms and themes
and ways of being, and being-not,
that carry us through our life
to the very end.

We step toward our own dying

In each of us, 
our fate and our destiny
meet up
and work themselves out,
to our oblivious,
and our clueless turning
from one thing to another,
completely unaware 
of the rhythms and themes
that are dancing us,
directing us,
all our life long.

Noticing and knowing 
what we are doing
will enable us to smile
as death comes upon us,
and step toward it
as though we are meeting our lover,
greeting it with a warm embrace,
saying with passion
and meaning every word,
"It is so good to meet you at last,
and on such a good day to die!"

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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