January 21, 2021


Blue Ridge Tree on a Hill Oil Paint Rendered — Blue Ridge Parkway, Blowing Rock, North Carolina
What is worth doing for itself alone?

Start there.
Give yourself to the actions
that are their own fulfillment 
and reason for being.

Horseback riding, perhaps. 
Walking on a foggy morning 
through the woods.
Reading stories to the grandchildren.

Surely, your life is filled 
with things that you do for the joy of it!

Do those things with clarity,
and attentive presence!

These are the things you live to do!
These are the sources of meaning in your life!
Do them with reckless abandon!
LIVE to do them!

Work them into each day!
Do not be bashful or apologetic!
These things are who you are!

Look to expand their number,
to increase their presence
in quantity and frequency
in your life!

You are here to do what you love to do
for no reason beyond loving to do it!
Do not be slack in doing what you love!

Your life will love you for it!



Four Girls II Panorama Oil Paint Rendered — Johnson Creek, St. Helena Island, South Carolina
There is a right way to do anything,
and a wrong way to do it.

Mozart wrote his symphonies 
with the right way to do it in mind.
This is not to say that someone
wouldn't/couldn't come along
with an interpretation
that would blow even Mozart away.

Even though 10,000 people might
present interpretations
that would leave him lamenting
that he wrote it at all.

There are ways of responding to the moment
of our living
that are so right
everyone witnessing it
would respond with a standing ovation.

And ways of responding that are so wrong
that everyone hearing about it
would writhe in shame and dismay.

We stand between--
and offer some variant of--
right and wrong
in each moment of every situation
that arises,
all our life long.

We could be more consciously aware
of that than we are.

We could listen intently
to what the moment is calling for,
realize with clarity
what our role in the moment
requires of us,
and offer it without seeking
to exploit our opportunity
for our good/gain/profit/advancement,
but seeking simply
to offer what is needed,
when it is needed,
the way it is needed to be done
and let that be that.

Without merit or applause,
and nothing arising from it
beyond the next moment,
in which we respond with awareness
and behavior appropriate to the occasion.

all our life long.

This simple way of living
is well within our reach,
and yet it exceeds our grasp,
day in and day out,
all our life long.

What is that about? 



Barn on Mormon Row 06/30/2011 Oil Paint Rendered — Grand Teton National Park, Jackson, Wyoming
It is always right before us.

The Gospel of Thomas says Jesus said,
"The kingdom of God is spread out over the entire earth,
and no one sees what they are looking at."

The stone the builders reject.

The pearl of great price lost
among the costume jewelry at the flea market.

The treasure buried in the field 
people walk past every day.

The man sitting on his ox
looking for his ox.

The woman with her glasses on her head,
looking for her glasses.

What can you do with people like that?

Jesus is born anew in every generation.
No one sees him.
Most of the time he doesn't see himself.

John the Baptist sent his people to ask Jesus,
"Are you the one? Or shall we look for another?"
If you have to ask,
maybe you ought to change your expectations.
In order to see what is right before you.

And then, there is the Buddhist take on things:
"If you meet the Buddha on the road,
kill him!"

Because you are what you seek!
Get it?
So be who you are!
Without trying!

What could be simpler?
Or more difficult?



Fall on Little River 11/10/2006 Oil Paint Rendered — Great Smoky Mountains National Park, Tremont, Tennessee
Our life has a life of its own.
Our place is to find it,
align ourselves with it,
and live out our days
loving our life and enjoying it forever.

The clues to finding our life
and living it
are bread crumbs of meaning--
and by "meaning" I mean
the things we enjoy and do 
for themselves alone,
and not because they will lead
to something else.

In other words,
our life consists
of doing what is meaningful
and letting nature take its course.

What is meaningful about
your present life?
Do more of that!

Next question?

What are your questions?
Don't tell me--tell yourself!
Make a list of your questions.
Everything flows from there.
Answers mean nothing.
Questions mean everything.
Let your questions guide you
to a life worth living!
Let your questions lead you
to a life worth having!

We know more when we know 
what our questions are
than we would ever know
knowing what the answers are.

Ask your questions,
and the questions they beg to be asked!
That is the way to all things
wise and wonderful!

You are wasting your time 
talking to people who have the answers.
Talk to people who have the question--
especially the right questions!
They know what's what,
and what's not.

What are your questions?

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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