November 29, 2020


Country Cemetery 10/05/2015 — Lancaster County, South Carolina


What pulls you off course?
What attachment is stronger than
the call from your center
for expression and service?

If we are not going to live
to incarnate 
what is deepest,
and best about us,
what are we getting that will
offset that betrayal?

The story of the Garden of Eden
is the story of the betrayal
of our center.
The story of the Garden of Gethsemane
is the story of faithful loyalty
to our Center.
Both stories are about our dying.
Only one is about our being restored to life.

Our center is the source of life.
It is our vital core
of life and being.
When we live from the center,
we are as alive as we can be.

When we fail to guard the center,
and live to serve some other promise
of gain, 
and well-being,
we choose a path that leads
directly to the depths of the wasteland.

Joseph Campbell said,
"The crucial thing to live for
is the sense of life in what you are doing,
and if that is not there,
then you are living according to
someone else's notion
of how life should be lived."

And, "I know that I am on track
when everything is in a harmonious
relationship with what I regard as the best
I have in me."

When we sacrifice our best
on the altar of our wants and desires,
we sell ourselves for the equivalent 
of glass beads and silver mirrors.


Redwing Blackbird Panorama o5/21/2019 — Savanna National Wildlife Refuge, Hardeeville, South Carolina
The moment we have something at stake
in a situation,
or a relationship,
a disturbance is created in the flow,
and we are living with our self-interest
at heart
and not the interest of the situation,
or the relationship.

Then we are in a "Get My Way At All Costs"
mode of operating
and the true good of ourselves,
the other person,
or the situation as a whole
goes out the window.

Getting our way is not always
what the time and place of our living 
is calling for.
And, even if it is what is called for,
it still creates a disturbance in the flow
by virtue of putting us in the position
of calculating where to draw the line--
where does what is good for us
become what is bad for us,
in terms of the price we are willing to pay
to have our way.

There is no price we will not pay
when serving the good of the situation as a whole.

Men/women sacrificing themselves
on fields of battle,
are examples of people paying the ultimate price
for the good of others.

Jesus died in service to his cause
as a model to all his followers
of what was to be/is to be
expected of them in their service
to the same cause--
that is to say, "The truth of what
matters most in any situation."

This is the "Love of Fate"
put forth by Fredrich Nietzsche
as the ideal way of embracing
one's circumstances with a bold, "Yea!"
and letting nothing stop us from doing
"what we are here for"
in the places with the worst likely outcome.
Or of "participating in the suffering
of another to such a degree,
that we forget ourselves
and our own safety
and spontaneously do what is necessary"
(Joseph Campbell)--
"in service to the truth
of what matters most 
in any situation."

Our life is always moving toward our death.
"The Secret Cause" (James Joyce)--
that is, what we are living in the service of--
directs our steps toward our final breath.
And, through 10,000 psychological/emotional deaths
at every transition point
(where we are asked to "grow up some more again"
all along the way),
"dying to our idea of how things ought to be
in the service of how things actually need to be."

The trick is to die the deaths that lead 
to new births
and not dying the deaths that 
just lead to our being dead.

That is living in the flow of our life
all the way to our last breath.

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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