December 28, 2020


Confluence 07 10/29/2014 Oil Paint Rendering — Ramsey Creek, Great Smoky Mountains National Park, Greenbriar District
We all possess a super weapon
that is well within our reach,
yet far exceeds our grasp.

It is simply-and-simultaneously-impossibly
being mindfully aware
of what is happening
and what needs to happen in response
in each situation as it arises,
and how we might help meet that need
with the gifts/virtues/characteristics/
genius/original nature
that come with us from the womb
for just such an occasion--
to be used with innocence, sincerity and spontaneity,
with no investment in what we stand to gain or lose,
or any idea of exploiting the situation
for our benefit in any way.

That's it.

We are equipped to see and do,
to rise to every occasion,
and live out our lives
in the service of compassion and grace.

If that doesn't impress you 
as being much of a super weapon,
that is because you are thinking 
about weapons in the wrong way.

They are not for serving our needs
and interests,
but for doing what is right
at the right time,
in the right way.

Why do anything other than that?



Pawley’s Island Moon 03 12/16/2013 — Pawley’s Island, South Carolina
What do you care about?
Why do you care?
How would other people 
know you care about it
by the way you live your life?

Get to the bottom of all three questions.

Write down your answers
in a poem,
or an essay,
that speaks the truth
about you 
and what you care about.

Take your time with this exercise,
but do not put it off.

It will take you to the core
of who you are,
and what you are doing about it--
and call you to life.



Fall Woods Oil Paint Rendering 11/12/2006 — Great Smoky Mountains National Park
Martin Palmer says all of our lives
are grounded on faith,
but not all of us have any idea
of what the ground of our faith is.

It helps to know what grounds us,
and to know what we think about that
in terms of its helpfulness to us
and to the life we need to be living.

Martin and I give away something 
of our faith
when we imply that
there is a life we need to be living.

That is a statement of faith
if ever there were one.

Speaking of statements of faith,
here are two collections:

"It's fine.
It's all fine.
Everything is fine."

"It doesn't matter.
Nothing matters.
Nothing has ever mattered."

These are statements of faith
representative of attitudes,
frames of mind,
that ground someone's life
and direct their living.

We all believe things
incapable of verification
that reflect our general orientation
and the effort we make
to shape our life
and impact the world around us.

What do you believe?
What is worth believing?
Everything about you/us hangs
on how we answer these questions.

The things we tell ourselves
and the seriousness with which we take them
make all the difference
in terms of the quality of the life we live,
and the enthusiasm with which we live it.

If you are going to take anything on faith
(And we all are going to take a lot of things on faith!)
let the importance of the things we tell ourselves
be one of the things on that list!

Martin and I would say
that our story--
the story we are telling about us
by the way we are living our life--
our life story,
is important beyond all we are capable
of imagining,
and, more than that,
it is a part of another, larger, story
that encompasses all of our stories
throughout time.

Our story is connected with all of our stories,
and all of our differences
create our commonalities
and produce the song
we all are singing
that we don't know anything about.

And everything we do has an impact
beyond anything we recognize as being impactful. 

Our influence is actual,
and it is amazing.

It matters how we live.

If you are going to believe anything
(And you are going to believe a lot of things!)
believe that!
And live as though it is so!

your whole life long!

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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