November 21, 2020


Adams Mill Pond B&W 53 11/10/2014 — Goodale State Park, Camden, South Carolina
We have to be right about what's important.
Everything rides on it.
But how can we be right about what's important?
By being wrong, wrong, wrong
with our eyes open.

Getting it right the first time
is an accident.
Getting it right twice in a row
just starting out
is stupid lucky.
Getting it right every time
is unheard of.

We have to get it right every time.
We get there the hard way.
By being aware of what we are doing.
Nobody can tell us how to be right.
We figure it out for ourselves.

Books are no help.
Recipes are useless.
Experience is the only teacher,
and we have to be the willing student.

The way to make really good soup,
let's say, chicken noodle, 
is by making a lot of really bad
chicken noodle soup.
And learning as we go.

We learn what's important the same way.
How do we know what's important?
By trying out all of the likely candidates
and seeing how it works.

We experiment our way through the options.
"That's not it!"
"That's not it!"
"That's not it!"
All the way down the line.
Learning how to see what we look at,
how to evaluate what we see,
how to know what's what.
Until, bingo, there it is!

And when we know "There it is!",
we know it.
And when we know it,
nothing can talk us out of it.
It is important because 
we know it is important.
Because we say so.

And we will go to hell for it,
if need be.
Because it matters most.

What will you go to hell for?
When you can answer that question,
you know you have something 
to hang on to.

Hang on to it,
and serve it with your life!



Lake Chicot 06 10/27/2015 — Lake Chicot State Park, Ville Platte, Louisiana
We are riding a black horse
bareback on a dark night
in the pouring rain
down a steep trail.

Our place is to stay on the horse,
and not try to tell her what to do.

I recommend leaning forward,
with your cheek on her neck
and your hands extended down 
toward her shoulders
and your knees pressing into
her sides,
and letting her find the way.

Keep that image/metaphor
in mind
as you step into each day.

And bring it up into consciousness
when you encounter
turns of events you don't expect,
and news you can't handle.

We are riding a black horse
on a dark night
in the pouring rain
down a steep trail.



Huntington Beach Sunrise 10 08/25/2015 — Huntington Beach State Park, Murrells Inlet, South Carolina
Denial, self-deception, illusion, delusion,
diversion, distraction, deflection,
and all their spin-offs
and relatives,
have gotten us this far.
I'll bet they keep us going.

You can say what you want to
about the high values,
liberty, justice, compassion, peace...
all the things we say we are living for.
But we are living out of fear, desire, duty,
and their extensions,
guilt, anger, rage, hatred, greed, terror, dread...

If you want to motivate someone,
go for stirring things up
in the areas of guilt, anger, rage, etc. area.
Forget appealing to their "higher selves."

Donald Trump is a case in point.
He got 70 million people to vote for him
on that basis.
And the 73, or so, million who voted against him?
Most of them acted out of the same motivation,
only directed against him.
Everybody voted their fear and rage.

So don't give me
the humanity is all justice and love
at the heart ga ga.
Humanity is out for itself at the heart,
even though it has no idea of what that means.
It thinks what it means 
is having what it wants
and not having what it doesn't want,
and that is how it lives--
toward having its way
and avoiding all things not its way.

And it doesn't like the way that sounds,
so it tricks itself with words
that conceal its intentions and desires.
Telling ourselves what we want to hear
is what we do best.
Or is it shooting ourselves in the foot?
Perhaps, they are the same.

If you don't want to be that way,
you will be working against the grain,
swimming against the current,
like up Niagara Falls,
but, you could begin by looking in the mirror
until you see who is looking back.

Self-transparency is the foundation
of a super-human life,
the life of a Real Human Being.
Just looking until we see.
Just listening until we hear.
Just inquiring until we know.
And letting nature take its course.

Nature does what needs to be done
without looking back
in each situation as it arises,
not kidding itself.

Nature doesn't operate 
out of fear, desire, duty.
Nature is fearless,
duty free.

Think lemmings and the sea.

Nature does what is called for
without knowing why,
or caring about what the gain is.
And it doesn't take more than it needs.
Or ask for more than it has a right to.
And trusts it all to be just fine
some how.

The difference between us and nature
is that we have a bigger brain
and can foresee the future,
and think we can avoid aspects of it
and guarantee other aspects of it,
and are future-bound.

And we can remember the past
want to avoid certain aspects of it
and guarantee other aspects of it,
and are past-bound.

And that plays hell with the present.

But here we are.

Now what?

I'm just going to see what the next moment
calls for and strive to do it,
with all things considered,
insofar as that is possible,
and see where it goes,
and let that inform what I do
in the next moment,
for all the moments that remain
in my life.

And hope for the best.
Whatever that may be.

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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