January 22, 2021


Hammock Creek Oil Paint Rendered — Cape Hatteras National Seashore, Ocracoke Island, North Carolina
Living to be what the situation
is calling us to be--
doing what it is calling us to do--
would flip our life around.

Turn it inside out 
and upside down,
kill us and resurrect us
in one reality-transforming instant.

As it is, we live to get the most out of
every situation that comes along.
"What's in this for me?"
is the question that guides our life.
"How can I get what I want,
here and now?"

To think that the situation has needs of its own
that we can meet
out of the goodness of our own little heart,
with nothing to gain,
Well that's an unconventional thought!
And one we are not inclined
to consider!

You can see how religion was invented
to keep us safe from the intrusion
of The Mystery of situational neediness
into our happy
(Or soon to be happy,
the minute we get what we want
and have our way throughout eternity)

Religion makes no claims upon us
and our time.
We genuflect, 
make the sign of the cross
(Or their equivalents across
all religions)
and go on about our life,
none the worse for wear.

But to throw us vulnerable
and at the mercy of every situation
for as long as our life lasts
is just a monstrosity of a concept!
It's like an invasion of vampires 
from Mars,
maybe worse!

Forget it!
We are not going there!

And The Mystery settles down
to wait us out.



The Watchman and the Virgin 05/20/2010 Oil Paint Rendered — Zion National Park, Springdale, Utah
Growing up is caring in the right way,
at the right time,
about the right things.

Nobody can tell us how to do that.

We live our way to right assessment,
right interpretation,
right perspective,
right view point,
right seeing,
right hearing,
right knowing,
right understanding,
right doing,
right being.

The key is self-awareness,
all along the way.

This is where Dharma
comes into play.
Dharma is Right Duty.
It is doing what is called for
in the time and place of our living--
doing the right thing,
in the right way,
at the right time,
all our life long.

We should/ought/must always do
what needs to be done--
what needs us to do it--
in each situation as it arises,
all our life long.

And we cannot know what that will be,
or should/ought/must be,
prior to the moment as it unfolds before us.

This is what Jesus was talking about
when he said,
"The spirit is like the wind
that blows where it will."

The spirit doesn't know where it is going,
or what it is doing next.
It responds to the circumstances
as they develop
in ways that are appropriate/fitting
to the occasion,
and it never knows--
it cannot know--
what that will be 
before the time for acting.

In precisely that moment,
we act, the spirit acts,
our spirit acts,
without contrivance,
without concern for our own welfare,
our own profit,
our own gain,
our own benefit,
to do what is called for
with the gifts we bring to the moment,
right here, right now.

And do it again in the next moment
flowing from this one.

Sometimes that means taking a nap
when it is time to take a nap.



Smoky Mountain Winter 03/02/2014 Oil Paint Rendered — Great Smoky Mountains National Park, Gatlinburg, Tennessee
What is your response?
That is where you exercise
your only control
in each situation as it arises.

We are in charge of our response.
We are responsible for our response.

"It's people like you
who make people like me
hate people like you,"
is missing the point
of "people like me."

The point of each of us 
is to not be yanked around
by "people like you,"
or by any aspect of our life,
and made to do what is against our will
and purpose,
but to live from our own center,
with balance and harmony
in offering what is being called for
out of the gifts/genius/talents/abilities/etc.
that we have to offer
the circumstances of our life
in the time left for living.

We are here to be ourselves
in response to our life!

To incarnate ourselves anew
in each moment of each day.

We do that by the response we make
to each moment of each day.

What is your response?

You dream a dream.
What is your response in the dream
to the dreamed situation?
What is your response outside the dream,
as you reflect on it?

Your response, in the dream and out of it,
is what your dream is about.
We dream ourselves into responses
worthy of us.
We grow up--
we grow ourselves up--
by examining,
the responses we make 
to our dreams
and to our life
throughout our life.

Every situation asks something of us.
How do we respond?
What response do we make?

The first proper response
in each situation,
is to slay the dragon
whose name is Thou Shalt!
(Joseph Campbell)
and live in the moment
fresh from the kill,
free to be exactly 
what the moment needs us to be,
however foreign to the shoulds,
and musts
at work in every situation
to keep us from responding appropriately
to the needs of the moment
as it opens before us.

What response will we make?

That is our question to answer
in each moment of each situation of each day
for as long as life shall last.

In light of what do we live?

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.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: